The first thing you must understand when selling silver coins is that there are two types, collectible and non-collectible. Collectible coins primarily have their value based on the numismatic value of the coin. While non-collectible coin value is based primarily on the precious metal content. Determining the numismatic value of collectible coins is outside the scope of this article. However, I will say the value of collectible coins is based on the rarity and the quality. When it comes to selling silver coins, you will always get more for hard to find coins in mint condition.
There were lots of silver coins minted over the years. But the primary non-collectible type in circulation today are U.S. minted currency. U.S. coins were minted containing various metal content, depending on the type of coin and the year.
U.S. quarters minted from 1916 to 1964 are 90% pure. With a total weight of 6.25 grams, these contain 5.625 grams of silver.
Half dollars made from 1916 to 1964 contain 90% silver. With a total weight of 12.5 grams, these contain 11.25 grams of silver.
Half dollars minted from 1965 to 1970 are 40% pure. These are known as clad. With a total weight of 11.5 grams, these clad coins contain 4.6 grams of silver.
The Morgan Dollar (1878 – 1921) and the Peace Dollar (1921 – 1935) are 90% silver. With a total weight of 26.73 grams, the silver coins contain 24 grams of silver.
From 1971 to 1974 and 1976, some dollars were silver. Only collectible coins were made 40% clad; however the majority of the coins in these years contain no precious metal. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the silver and non-silver versions of this coin. Take a look at the edge. If the edge is all silver colored, it is clad. If you see copper on the edge, the coin is not clad. If the coin is in a sealed cellophane container, it is most likely clad. The clad Dollar weighs a total of 24.59 grams and therefore contains 9.836 grams of silver.
War Nickels were minted starting in 1942 and ending in 1945. While all nickels 1943-1945 are war nickels, only some 1942 nickels are. It is difficult to tell the difference between 1942 war nickels and non-precious metal nickels. These coins are 35% pure. With a total weight of 5 grams, these contain 1.75 grams of buy silver.
Now that you know the actual silver content of commonly circulated U.S coins, you can determine the total silver content when selling silver coins. Silver prices are typically quoted by the Troy Ounce. One Troy Oz is 31.1 grams.
For example, a 1964 half dollar contains 11.25 grams of silver. There are 31.1 grams per oz. Therefore the coin contains 0.3617 Troy Oz of silver. For example, a 1945 nickel contains 1.75 grams of silver. There are 31.1 grams per oz. Therefore the coin contains 0.0562 Troy Oz of silver.