Modern silver bullion products such as silver rounds, silver coins, silver bars, and even silver bullets, all feature a minimum of .999 pure silver content. In the case of select coin programs, you will even find .9999 pure silver content growing in popularity. However, before the issue of investment-focused silver bullion, there were silver coins in circulation around the world that featured an impressive level of silver content. In the United States, in particular, circulation coins were issued with 90% silver content for nearly 130 years until silver prices got too high. Take a moment and learn more about the background and value of 90% silver available from JM Bullion.
Long before metallic alloys like cupro-nickel were available and fiat currencies were backed on faith and credit, the metal content of a coin was what gave it its true value. For centuries, civilizations in all corners of the globe issued hard currency with gold and silver content. Examples of this include the English sovereign, later the British Gold Sovereign, the Spanish dollar, and eventually the original coins of the newly-formed United States of America.
When the United States Mint issued its first coins in 1792, early strikes were done in either copper or a mixture of silver and copper for certain denominations. From 1794 to 1836, most denominations under $1 (USD) that the US Mint issued have 89.2% silver content and 10.8% copper content. The inclusion of copper gave the coins durability to better resist wear and tear from handling.
In 1836, silver content in American coins began to change with the introduction of the Seated Liberty design on the dime, quarter, half dollar, and dollar. The US Mint transitioned to a steady 90% silver, 10% copper mix. The US would continue to use this metallic mixture in its silver denominations until 1964. Countless examples of 90% silver coins from these denominations are still available today for purchase in bulk as the last issues were still in circulation in the US through the 1980s. In the modern era, these 90% silver coins have become an affordable outlet for investors looking to grab silver in bulk.
When you shop for 90% silver online, you are bound to find the term “junk silver” associated with listings for these coins. Make no mistake, the quality of silver in these coins is value. After all, each coin has 90% silver by weight in its makeup. These types of coins are often called junk silver because they have no numismatic value as a collectible piece. Even though some of the coins have beautiful designs that collectors love, the fact that the coins were previously issued into circulation means that the reliefs and luster have been degraded in quality over time. However, that does not mean there isn’t investment value in the 90% silver content.
Simply put, people invest in junk silver because it is affordable. Junk silver has far lower premiums than popular silver bullion coin programs and privately-issued silver rounds or silver bars. Even collectible silver bullets and silver statues have higher premiums. Junk silver can be purchased in bulk lots of as little as a roll with $5 (USD) worth of US dimes totaling 3.575 Troy oz in all, to as much as a $500 (USD) bag of US quarters totaling 357.5 Troy oz in all.
As you shop for 90% silver US coins, it’s important to understand the denominations and date range for coins that feature 90% silver content. Remember, the first 90% silver coins were issued with the debut of the Seated Liberty design in 1836 and were last issued in various denominations in 1964. Silver coins issued by the United States Mint prior to 1836 have different silver-copper mixtures that fall below 90% silver in total, while all coins issued by the US Mint starting in 1965 have a modern cupro-nickel alloy for enhanced durability in circulation and affordability in production.
The following is a simple breakdown of the 90% US silver coin denominations and available designs in those denominations:
JM Bullion regularly stocks bulk lots of 90% silver coins. You’ll find the designs and dates mentioned above in packages numbering as few as two individual coins to as many as several thousand coins. 90% silver is typically sold in tubes, zip-top bags, or canvas bags based on face value totals (for example, $100 FV). If you have any questions, JM Bullion customer service will be happy to help. Please call us at 800-276-6508, chat with us live online, or email us directly.