US Pre-1965 Junk Silver Dimes, Quarters, Halves 1946 to 1964
You have what is fondly known as a 'junk silver' US quarter dollar. At the time of this writing, it is worth approximately 10 times face value, or $2.50 US dollars. But as the price of silver goes up and down, the value goes up and down. Let's go into more detail.
In 1964 the US abandoned silver in their coinage. Until then, dimes, quarters, and half dollars were made of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. As such, they are bullion coins and there is a market for bullion.
You can look up the current value of silver at web sites such as kitco.com. Right now the value is $16.50 per troy ounce, but it will be different tomorrow. Like gold, silver value changes continuously. Here are the weights of silver in 'junk silver' US coins:
1946-1964 Roosevelt dimes: 0.07234 troy ounces silver
1932-1964 Washington quarters: 0.18084 troy ounces silver
1948-1963 Franklin halves: 0.36169 troy ounces silver
1964 Kennedy halves: same as Franklin halves
Multiply the weight by the price of silver, and you get approximate retail value. For a 1958 Washington quarter when this article was written, the value is 0.18084 x 16.50 = $2.98. If you shop around you can usually do a little better. If you are selling your junk silver and not buying it at retail prices, expect the buyer to pay roughly 75 percent of retail, maybe more, maybe less. The buyer needs a mark-up to stay in business.
Remember that with precious metal, the word 'troy' is understood in weight measures, so 'troy ounce' and 'ounce' mean the same thing.
Dealers in junk silver like to use a rule-of-thumb factor to compute value. First, add up the face value of your coins, then multiply the face value by a rule-of-thumb factor to determine silver value, like this:
[silver value in dollars] = [factor] * [face value in dollars]
The [factor] goes up and down with the silver market. It is computed by:
[factor] = 0.722 * [silver value in dollars per ounce from kitco.com]
Today, with $16.50 silver, the factor is 11.9, so a roll of pre-1965 Washington quarters with $10 face value is worth
[silver value in dollars] = 11.9 * 10 = $119
IMPORTANT: The coins in our list above are truly 'junk silver' for the most part. However:
- Roosevelt dimes dated 1949S
- Washington quarters dated before 1936
- Franklin halves dated 1955
are worth more than junk value, and Washington quarters with 1932D and 1932S mint marks are very rare and are worth more than $100 even in worn condition.
Also, any pre-1965 coin in uncirculated condition, or nearly so, is worth more than junk, regardless of date.
WARNING: Sometimes older coins are advertised as junk, but they are rarely sold that way. Do you see the old Barber dime at the lower-center of our picture? Also there is an old Mercury dime turned upside down right next to it. This may be to entice unwary souls to purchase the coins at junk prices, hoping to get non-junk old coins in with the mix. Don't get your hopes up. Barber coins, Mercury dimes, Standing Liberty quarters, Walking Liberty halves, and all silver dollars are worth more than junk unless they are totally worn out or damaged.
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