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US Pre-1965 Junk Silver Dimes, Quarters, Halves  1946 to 1964
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 rule 'ten times face value' changes. We must go into more detail to answer the question accurately.

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] = 0.715 * [silver value in dollars per ounce from kitco.com]

Today, with $16.50 silver, the factor is 11.8, so a roll of pre-1965 Washington quarters with $10 face value is worth

[silver value in dollars] = 11.8 * 10 = $118

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.

Coin: 3209 , Genre: United States
Requested by: , Sat, 27-Feb-2010 17:41:43 GMT
Answered by: Paul, Fri, 24-Jan-2014 14:25:36 GMT
Updated by CoinQuest. Be sure to use the current value of silver., Fri, 24-Jan-2014 14:25:36 GMT
Requester description: 1958 1958 silver quarter
Tags: us usa junk silver dimes dime quarters quarter halves half quater quarterd halfe bell torch eagle hawk falcon bells tourch torches

Comments

What formula is used to get to the 'Factor' in your example below? So if I know that silver is selling at $19/troy ounce(9/8/14.). How do I arrive at the Factor? I did not see it mentioned in.the Kitko.com web site. - Phil Matzelle
Back when the US struck silver coins for circulation, they were made to a certain standard. One dollar in small change, struck in silver at 90% purity, would contain 0.723 troy ounces of pure silver. For example, a quarter weighs 6.25 grams, and four quarters make a dollar. That's 25 grams, times 0.90 to account for the purity. You then arrive at the number 22.5. To get the factor, divide this number by the amount of grams in a troy ounce. 22.5 / 31.1 = 0.723! So if you have a bunch of uncirculated US silver coins, you can multiply the dollar amount by 0.723 to get the weight of silver in troy ounces (our "factor") and then by the current silver value to get the final value of the silver in the coins. Because most coins traded as silver are worn (uncirculated coins usually carry numismatic premiums) many coin dealers have agreed on a standard of 0.715 for bulk silver coins. It's important to note that this factor only works for dimes, quarters and halves. One silver dollar contains more silver than two halves, four quarters, or ten dimes. This is due to a devaluation act introduced in 1853, and is the reason why the numbers won't add up if you do the math starting from a whole dollar. - CoinQuest (Chris)

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