Junk silver is a term that describes commonly circulated U.S. coins that have both a currency value (like 5¢ in the case of a nickel or 50¢ in the case of a half-dollar coin), as well as a precious metal value because of the fact that were minted with 90% silver (on in some cases 35% or 40% but always consistent based on the year and type of coin. As an example, the Washington quarter which was produced in 1932 then 1934 through 1964 has 90% silver content. So you know it will always be worth $0.25, but might be worth much more if inflation renders $0.25 worthless or if the value of silver substantially appreciates compared to the dollar. On the other hand, if the precious metal value goes down (let’s say massive discoveries of silver render it nearly worthless), you still have currency worth $0.25.
Who Invests in Junk Silver?
People who invest in junk silver tend to be people that buy guns and plan for the worst, like hyperinflation or a temporary breakdown of society. Others are just bullish on silver and find this as an easy method to buy silver in small, easily measurable quantities. Others might come across junk silver because they are garage sale enthusiasts or “pickers” that find the coins in estate sales where the sellers don’t really know what they have and might just think they are like modern day coins which have little valuable metal in them and instead use minerals like zinc or nickel.
Why is Junk Silver so Popular?
The popularity of junk silver comes down to few major attributes of the coins:
- They still have legal tender value. You can still spend them money value in the coins easily at stores or deposit it at banks.
- They are easily recognized and measured. People are less likely to question their value or suspect forgery like they would with silver bars.
- They can be divided into small quantities. Silver bars usually come in sizes of one troy once or higher. Today’s price of an ounce of silver is around $20. Junk silver allows you to deal in smaller denominations than this.
- Junk silver is easily stored and transported. Often you see a large number of junk silver coins stored in a simple Ziploc® bag.
- They lack collectible value like a beautifully designed collector edition coin; this allows them to trade at little to no premium over the value of the silver itself.
- The network effect: the popularity of junk silver feeds off itself; many people collect junk silver and this leads to a liquid marketplace which increases its popularity.
Where Do You Find Junk Silver?
Searches for junk silver on Google and Amazon lead to make different purchase opportunities; additionally, many jewelry stores, pawn shops, and precious metals brokers are constantly in the market buying and selling junk silver.