Privacy   |    Financial   |    Current Events   |    Self Defense   |    Miscellaneous   |    Letters To Editor   |    About Off The Grid News   |    Off The Grid Videos   |    Weekly Radio Show

Junk Silver 101: The Best and Easiest Coins to Collect

A stash of junk silver can be your best friend in a time of crisis. These small, circulated silver coins contain just enough silver to buy bread or pay bills without being valuable enough to attract attention from regulators or Big Brother busybodies. Junk silver flies under the radar, making it perfect for quietly shoring up your financial position in preparation for a currency crisis.

Still, many people don’t have any junk silver because they’re confused about what it is, which coins are best, and how to easily get junk silver coins. Fortunately, it’s not rocket science, and you can master the basics in about five minutes.

What is junk silver?

Junk silver is the name given to circulated silver coins from America’s past – our old dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollar coins. Most contain 90 percent silver by weight, with a few coins containing 35 to 40 percent silver by weight. Coin collectors aren’t interested in them since they’ve been used as currency, and bullion fiends don’t want them since they’re not .9999 pure silver. Yet they’re not exactly worthless, either, so they get called “junk” in the broader markets.

If you have 90 percent silver coins with a face value of $1.40, you have a Troy ounce of silver. At current silver prices, that’s about $33 of value. The silver coins remain legal tender in the US, but you can easily see how much smarter it is to hold the coins for their silver value than to spend them for their face value.

Is Silver’s Shine Worth Your Time? …

These are the coins you’ll want to watch for:


  • Morgan (1878–1921): 90 percent silver
  • Peace (1921–1928 & 1934–1935): 90 percent silver


  • Liberty Head “Barber” (1892–1915): 90 percent silver
  • Walking Liberty (1916–1947): 90 percent silver
  • Franklin (1948–1963): 90 percent silver
  • Kennedy (1964): 90 percent silver
  • Kennedy (1965–1970): 40 percent silver


  • Liberty Head “Barber” (1892–1916): 90 percent silver
  • Standing Liberty (1916–1930): 90 percent silver
  • Washington (1932, 1934–1964): 90 percent silver


  • Liberty Head “Barber” (1892–1916): 90 percent silver
  • Winged Liberty Head “Mercury” (1916–1945): 90 percent silver
  • Roosevelt (1946–1964): 90 percent silver


  • Jefferson “Wartime” (1942 [partial]-1945): 35 percent silver

What are the best junk silver coins?

Looking over the list, you can see that the 35 percent silver Jefferson nickels and the 40 percent Kennedy Half Dollars offers you less value per coin than the others. They also don’t work well in the $1.40 = 1 Troy ounce equation. While they’re not worthless, if you have a choice, try to collect only 90% silver coins to keep the value high and the calculations easy.

The best junk silver coins to collect are dollars, half dollars, and dimes. Dimes will be extremely useful as a small base currency, holding just enough silver value to buy minor items like milk or bread without requiring change. On the other hand, dollars and half dollars will represent your bigger ticket items and pack the most value per coin for you in terms of making the most of limited storage space.

How do you get junk silver?

You can get junk silver coins by ordering them online in large bags, scouting for them at fairs and estate sales, or simply watching your change. Remember, these coins were designed to be circulating silver pieces, and a fair number of them are still floating around in America’s cash drawers!

One of the easiest ways to get junk silver coins is to ask for fifty-cent pieces in your change or to request them from your bank teller. Chances are high you will get Kennedy half dollars, and by checking the dates you may find that your fifty-cent piece is actually 40 percent silver (currently worth about $5) or even 90 percent silver (currently worth about $11).

After your first successful acquisition, you’ll find that you monitor all your change for older coins that might be silver. It can be addicting!

Getting more coins than you find in your pockets or by chance at fair booths and estate sales is simple, too. Junk silver is sold in bags online, sorted by face value starting with $50 face bags. However, you’ll pay the melt weight value (~36 troy ounces) and not the $50 face value when you buy from knowledgeable coin dealers. Still, it can be much faster to buy in bulk than check your change.

Junk silver is nothing more than humble small change, but it can make a big difference in how ready you feel financially for a crisis. By understanding what it is, which coins are best, and how to get it, you can set yourself up now for whatever lies ahead.

©2012 Off the Grid News

© Copyright Off The Grid News