Where to buy junk silver coins
There is a growing interest in investing in gold and silver, due to the uncertainties surrounding the current economic conditions and the devaluing of fiat money. Many people, like you and I, are realizing that our paper money is only worth what someone tells us it is. However, throughout history, in times when government issued money collapses, gold and silver has always held it's value. An easy and affordable way to enter this market and to protect yourself against inflation and devaluation of paper money is to invest in junk silver coins.
Before we talk about where to buy junk silver coins, we need to understand the value of silver coins and what they are.
Understanding Junk Silver Coins
What are junk silver coins? It is a term used to describe silver coins minted before 1965 and were used in circulation, so they show some wear and tear from use. Previous to 1965 many coins were made with 90% silver content, making them valuable not as a collector item (recall these are not in mint condition) but rather as a way to own silver as a precious metal.
When shopping for junk silver coins, it's important to know which coins are 90% silver. Let's look at the following chart for an overview on which coins to look for.
Before you start shopping for silver coins, memorize, write down, copy, or print this chart out so you know which coins to buy.
This chart will tell you the amount of silver, by weight in ounces, that the coin contains. These weights already take into account that the coins are 90% silver, not 100%. On a scale, they will weight a bit more, but 10% of that is not silver.
Mercury Dime (1916-1945) 0.0723
Silver War Nickel (1942-1945) 0.0563
Roosevelt Dime (1946-1964) 0.0723
Washington Quarter (1932-1964) 0.1808
Liberty Half Dollar (1916-1947) 0.3617
Franklin Half Dollar (1948-1963) 0.3617
Kennedy Half Dollar (1964) 0.3617
Kennedy Half Dollar (1965-1970) 0.1479
Morgan Dollar (1878-1921) 0.7735
Peace Dollar (1921-1935) 0.7735
Eisenhower Dollar (1971-1976) 0.3162
Canadian Junk Silver Coins:
Dime (1920-1967) 0.0599
Quarter (1920-1967) 0.1499
Half Dollar (1920-1967) 0.2999
Dollar (1935-1967) 0.5997
Now you know which coins to purchase. But what do these numbers mean to you? This is how you determine the value, and what you should pay for the coins sitting in front of you!
Determining the value of your junk silver coins
There are easier ways to get an estimate of the value of your silver coins, but I prefer to be accurate. Don't worry, this is not too difficult!
Let's say you run across two Washington silver quarters dated between 1932 and 1964. You want to know if the price the owner is asking is worth it. The first thing to do is find out the current market price of silver. Second, add up the weights of these two coins. .1808 x 2 is .3616 ounces of silver. Multiply that figure by the current market value of silver, which as of this writing, is around 30 dollars per troy ounce. .3616 x $30 is $10.85.
Naturally you may buy in much larger quantities than just two coins, but the principles remain the same. You may get lucky and find the coins at below market value, but generally it's reasonable to pay market value, and a small markup for dealer costs.
Don't pay a large markup though, as these coins are already made, whereas newly minted coins and silver bars will have a production cost associated with them. Thus, another reason to invest in junk silver, no manufacturing cost!
Now you know why to buy junk silver coins, so let's look at where to buy them.
Junk Silver on Ebay
Ebay is a natural place to buy junk silver, and checking the auction listings, I see many auctions for silver coins. Just search for Junk Silver Coins.
Look for auctions where it is CLEARLY listed what you are getting in the auction. The more specific the auction description is, the better it is for you. I found some auctions where the listing is vague, so there is no way to determine the real value of what you'd be bidding on.
I noticed many auctions that are selling silver coins by face value, such as $1.00 face value lots. This is fine, but consider the following: If you get a dollar worth of silver nickles, you'd be getting 1.126 troy ounces of silver. At $30 an ounce, that's $33.78 worth of silver. However a dollars worth of Washington Quarters is .7232 troy ounces of silver. At $30 an ounce, that's $21.96 worth of silver. See the difference in value you can get from the same auction? So while these lots are fine, if it's not listed exactly what coins you will get, I would bid or purchase at the lower end of the potential value.
SIlver Coins at Estate Auctions
Buying junk silver coins at estate auctions can be hit and miss, but it can be a great way to get a super deal on silver! An estate auction is basically where the entire contents of a home are sold off, due to death of the owner or some similar reason. Often, an auction house will perform the auction, and will list online what is being auctioned, or there are preview days so you can go inspect what is being sold. If you find an auction with silver coins, go give it a shot! Just bring your list we looked at above, and a calculator, and don't buy above market rate.
Junk Silver at Pawn Shops
Honestly, it's rare to find a great deal at pawn shops. But they often have a pile of junk silver coins ready for you to purchase. Two things to consider when buying junk silver at a pawn shop: expect to pay close to or at market value and don't let them mark it up too much. Another tip is to always haggle at pawn shops! If the initial asking price is too high, offer what you think is reasonable.
Sometimes, just like pawn shops, antique shops will have some junk silver in inventory. The rules here are the same as pawn shops. You probably won't get a steal of a deal, just know your values and make an offer accordingly.
Buying Junk Silver Coins Online
There are many many online stores that sell junk silver coins. They often list their silver in "Bags". A bag of junk silver is 715 ounces of silver, with a face value of $1000. Of course the value in ounces of silver, and what you will pay, is much higher; 715 x $30! However many online stores sell silver in various sized bags, as low as $100 face value.
The usual advice applies here, as when buying anything online. Check the reputation of the outfit with the Better Business Bureau. Also make sure the place has been in business for a long time, so you know they're not a fly by night operation.
Junk silver coins is an easy, affordable way for people of all budgets to invest in silver, and have that safety net as a hedge against the craziness that is fiat currency these days. Use these tips on where to buy junk silver coins and Invest in some silver so your purchasing power is protected no matter what happens with the economy.