Pre-1965 U.S. Silver Coins

Pre-1965 U.S. Silver Coins

If you are beginning to collect or invest in silver US coins, there are several things you must consider:

  • The Value of Silver Dollars by Year

  • Silver Dollar Melt Value

  • Silver Content of US Coins

  • And Much More

All of the information can make investing in American silver coins overwhelming, but you don’t have to struggle through the process. At International Precious Metals, we are happy to educate you on US silver coin values, so you can invest with confidence.

Invest in American History

To understand a US silver dollar value, you must understand the history of its production. Once you know the history of US silver coins, you’ll learn answers to questions like:

How much silver is in a silver dollar?

How much silver is in a Morgan dollar?

What year did quarters stop being silver?

What nickels are silver?

The content of silver in a silver dollar, quarter, and dime largely depends on the year it was minted. Up until 1965, most coins were made of 90% silver and 10% copper. At the time in history, silver was a cost-effective way of producing durable and attractive coins. Pennies and nickels were the only denominations that were never 90% silver.

In 1965, Public Law 88-35 reduced the amount of silver in coins to 40%. By 1970, silver was eliminated from all coin production. You can now use this information to determine what coins have silver in them.

What are US Coins Made of?

If you come across a post-1970 coin, it doesn’t have any silver. A 1965 silver quarter would only have 40% silver. Any pre-1965 coins contained at least 90%. As mentioned earlier, nickels and pennies were the exceptions, so a 1964 nickel silver content is still 0%. The only silver nickel years were between 1943 and 1945, and the content was only 35%.

How Much are Silver Coins Worth?

You might be wondering, “are silver dollars worth anything?” The answer largely depends on two things: their rarity and their melt value. To start calculating a silver coin’s worth, you must learn how to determine the latter first.

You can figure Melt Value by multiplying the current spot price, face value, and the Troy ounces per $1 face value. The total gives you the basis for the value of old silver dollars. If the coin happens to be rare, you’ll need more information to determine its worth. 

Morgan Silver Dollars (1878-1904, 1921)

The Morgan Silver Dollar gets its name from its designer George T. Morgan. It’s the first silver dollar minted after Congress demonetized silver with the Coinage Act of 1873. The coin’s face depicts a left-facing Lady Liberty, and a majestic eagle with an olive branch and arrows can be found on the other side.

How Much Silver is in a Morgan Silver Dollar?

Of all the old silver dollars, the Morgan Silver Dollar is the most valuable silver coin from the US Mint in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Some people argue over if the 1964 Morgan Dollar exists. Regardless of whether it does, the Morgan US silver dollar gets its popularity from its size and silver content. Each Morgan Dollar contains .7734 Troy ounces of silver in a 1.5-inch-diameter coin.

Peace Silver Dollars (1921-1928, 1934-1935)

The Peace Dollar was minted as a result of the Pittman Act in 1918, which required the US Mint to strike millions of silver dollars. The process began on December 28, 1921, so 1921 coins are rare. However, the coins were minted for a total of ten years. Each coin contained .7734 Troy ounces of silver.

Who is on the Silver Dollar?

The design was chosen to be reflective of the peace that followed World War I. Anthony de Francisci designed the facial profile of the Goddess of Liberty on the obverse side of the coin. The back features a bald eagle with an olive branch and the words “PEACE” below.

Pre-1965 90% Silver Coin Bags

Have you ever heard someone reference junk silver coins? Don’t let that phrase stop you from buying them. They simply refer to old silver coins with no numismatic or collectible value other than the silver bullion value.

Junk silver can be any combination of 90 silver coins with .715 Troy ounces of 99.9% silver for each $1 face value. Any Morgan or Peace Silver Dollars are excluded because they contain more silver. Most people end up melting silver coins in this category.

If you’d like to invest in junk silver or anything on the US silver coins list, then you should contact IPM. We are happy to tell you what coins are silver, the silver content in quarters, or a 1965 nickel value. No question is too big or small for our experts. We make investing in silver quarters and dollars easier than ever!

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