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Junk Silver Guide

Monday, 04 June 2012 22:16 Written by 

If you want to have silver for prepping purposes, I would concentrate on purchasing junk silver. Some preppers believe that if the dollar were to collapse, junk silver coins would provide an alternative to paper money. Before you get into purchasing silver, first you need to understand what junk silver is, and how much it is worth. Additionally, you must also understand that the price of junk silver changes every day, as it fluctuates with the price of silver. 

Junk silver is a term used to describe old silver coins that were in circulation, and do not hold collectors value. These coins were used as legal tender, and changed hands many times. Most of these circulated coins are worn and may also be damaged. The value of the coin is based solely on its silver content. 

In contrast, uncirculated coins may have collectors value since they are usually blemish free. Uncirculated coins are valued by their silver content, as well as the numismatic value to collectors. Coins that are priced by their numismatic value should not be considered by Preppers, unless you are also interested in collecting coins. Try trading your collectors grade silver coin for some wheat, claiming your coin is uncirculated and should be of higher trade value. 

Determining the Value of Your Silver Coins

There are several formulas that can be used to determine your inventory value. The following process can give you a rough estimate for the value of your coin collection:

    1. Add the face value of your silver coins (let’s say I have 5 quarters and 5 dimes, or a total of $1.75 face value). 
    2. Next divide the face value by 1.4 ($1.75 / 1.4 = 1.25)
    3. Next multiple the result from the last step, by the spot price of silver (1.25 x $28.55 = $35.68)
    4. Your total value would be $35.68

Determining the Value of Single Coins

What if you were trying to purchase junk silver at a pawn shop? To do this, you will need to know each coin’s individual value. To determine a coins value, you will also have to know how much silver content is in a coin, and the current spot price of silver. Most U.S. silver coins consist of 90% silver content, but may also consist of 35% or 40% silver content. The silver content is determined by the type and year of the coin. These values are reflected in the following graphic. 

Junk Silver

To determine a coin’s value, multiply the silver weight by the spot price of silver. A Morgan Dollar has .7735 ounces of silver. The spot price, at the time of this article, is $28.55. Therefore, a Morgan Dollar is worth $22.01 (.7735 x $28.55). 


Hopefully, this article will assist you if you decide to purchase silver. Also, look under the attachment section of this article, and you will find my Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. I use this spreadsheet to ensure I purchase junk silver at the right price. Additionally, if you are purchasing from a pawn shop or other vendor, you should know that they will try to markup the price to make more profit. Some increase over the spot price is understandable, but if they are going to the extreme – walk away. I have provided three columns which adjust the price for markups (10%, 20%, and 25%). Please let me know what you think, or if you would like this calculator to be a permanent part of the website. As always… Be Prepared. Get Connected.

Last modified on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 18:06
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  • Comment Link Prepper Link Saturday, 07 July 2012 01:49 posted by Prepper Link

    I have been purchasing silver for a few months. New to the trend, and wish I had started sooner. I have been purchased half of my silver from Provident Metals (Great Website), and the other half from a local pawn shop. As expected, the pawn shop prices are a little higher.

    Today, I purchased Morgan Silver Dollars for $24 a piece. Even at Provident, they want $28. So the pawn shop wins this time.

    I just wanted to share my purchase today, and let you know that you can still find good deals at Pawn Shops. It appears, they do not always markup the coin, just because it is rarer.

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