One of the easiest ways to start investing in silver bullion or to expand your investment catalog without spending a lot of money is through the purchase of junk silver. The term “junk silver” is a broad phrase used to describe circulation coinage that is heavily damaged or worn from use, but which still maintains its value based upon the weight and purity of silver within the coin. Learn a little more about junk silver now before you buy.
Junk silver is simply an industry term used to refer to silver coins which were previously issued as circulation currency. These coins, like the modern quarters, dimes, and half-dollars in your pocket today, were once used for all manner of commercial transactions. These coins were never housed in protective plastic or sealed up in capsules. The original intent was not for investment or collection, but rather for settling commercial transactions and debts.
As such, junk silver coins have signs of wear and tear on them. Others, based upon the design present on the obverse and reverse, may possess signs of attempted repair or cleaning to try and improve the value of the coin as a collectible piece. Regardless, junk silver coins showcase less luster in their finish and more damage to the design elements, surface areas, and edges than bullion coins which never entered circulation.
For the majority of American history, silver coins issued by the United States Mint had a silver content pegged at .900, regardless of the weight of the coin. From the onset of silver coinage until 1964, all US silver coins had a true metallic content of .900 pure silver. From 1965 to 1970, the silver content in remaining silver coins in the US (mostly half-dollars) had just 40% silver. Today, any coin that appears silver in nature is actually a cupro-nickel alloy that contains a variety of metals that stand up to the rigors of daily handling better than precious metals such as silver.
If you’ve purchased silver coins before, you’re probably familiar with some of the designs you’ll find on 90% silver coins in our junk silver catalog. The following are some popular examples of 90% silver coins, though it is not a comprehensive list of all possible coins with this silver content:
Amid rising silver prices in the 1960s, the United States Mint took action to ensure it was still economically feasible to strike silver coins. Though many of the smaller denominations of US coins were already transitioning toward more durable metallic alloys for composition, it wasn’t until 1964 that 90% silver content in coins was done away with. The only prominent remaining coin with any true silver content as of 1965 was the Kennedy Half Dollar. These coins, issued as early as January 1964, featured 40% silver content from 1965 until 1970.
Junk silver is a great buy for several types of investors. If you’re just starting out as an investor, junk silver offers a very affordable starting point. If you already invest in major silver bullion coins, but want to add bulk amounts of silver at a more affordable pricing point, this type of silver is also a good option. The bottom line is that junk silver has a more affordable pricing point compared to the spot price of silver than modern bullion and proof coins.
We encourage JM Bullion customers with questions about junk silver to reach out to us at 800-276-6508 with questions. You can also connect with us online through our live chat and email address features.