In recent weeks, we’ve had many newcomers approach us for their first silver coin or bullion purchase, and inevitably we’re asked the question “what is the best way to invest in U.S. silver coins?” You may be surprised to hear that the best way to invest in silver coins differs based on your long term goals, need for liquidity, budget, etc.
As you would expect, the most liquid and recognizable silver coins are also the most expensive. When we refer to the price of silver coins, we’re typically referring to the price of the coins above the spot price of silver or the melt value of the coins. The spot price of silver is the prevailing price of silver per troy ounce in the commodities market, which changes throughout the day. The melt value of silver refers to the silver content of the coins when the weight is less than one troy ounce and the purity is less than .999 fine.
The most popular silver coin in the United States is the American silver eagle. American silver eagles have been in production since 1986 and contain exactly one troy ounce of .999 fine silver. Because they’re sovereign issued coins, which means government issued, and due to the fact that they’re .999 fine, American silver eagle coins are bought and sold at higher premiums than many other silver coin offerings. However, these same characteristics also help to make American silver eagles among the most liquid silver coins available.
Other highly recognizable and popular silver dollars are Morgan and Peace silver dollars. Morgan silver dollars were minted from 1878 – 1921, while Peace silver dollars were minted from 1921 – 1935. These coins are 90% silver and contain .774 troy ounces of silver. While their silver content and weight is less than American silver eagles, they’re still extremely popular due to the fact that they’re recognizable and are sought after for their collectible value in addition to their silver value. At the moment, Morgan and Peace silver dollars are in high demand and are bought and sold above the melt value of the coins.
Other highly popular U.S. silver coins are dimes, quarters and half dollars minted in 1964 and earlier. They are often referred to as pre-1965 silver coins or junk silver coins, as they’re primarily bought and sold for their silver content. Like Morgan and Peace silver dollars, pre-1965 dimes, quarters and half dollars contain 90% silver content. It should be noted that not all silver coins minted in 1964 & earlier are common date coins. In fact, all Seated Liberty dimes, quarters and halves (including coins minted prior to this time) sell at a premium above and beyond the silver content of the coins. Key date or low mintage coins also exist with other coin types, so it’s important to consult with a coin expert to have these coins identified for you. At the moment, junk silver coins are in high demand, as there’s been an overall increase in the demand for physical silver bullion.
Other less popular, and therefore, less liquid U.S. silver coin options are 40% silver half dollars minted from 1965 – 1970 and 35% silver war nickels minted from 1942 – 1945. These coins are good options for individuals that are interested in purchasing silver bullion coins at some of the lowest prices possible. In fact, these coins are usually sold for less than the melt value of the coins. One positive about these coins is that they tend to have minimum wear due to the reduced silver content, so the actual weight of the coins is often on par with the original weight of the coins.
In summary, the best way to invest in U.S. silver coins is going to vary based on your budget and need for liquidity. For individuals that don’t mind spending a bit more, American silver eagles make excellent options, as they’re .999 fine silver and are issued by the U.S. government. If you happen to be on a budget and are interested in buying silver bullion coins at the lowest price possible, 40% silver half dollars and 35% silver war nickels might be the best choice for you. We hope that you found this article to be helpful and welcome you to contact Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers if we can assist you in any way.