The Ultimate Guide on How to Calculate the Silver Value of U.S. Silver Coins

Silver Coin Buyers
U.S. Silver Coins

Common date U.S. silver coins refer to silver coins that were produced in high quantities. Because of the large number produced, they typically aren’t very popular among coin collectors; however, they’re among the most sought after coins of coin and silver bullion investors. Common-date U.S. silver coins are oftentimes referred to as junk silver coins, as they have little to no collectible value. Whether you plan to sell your junk silver coins to silver coin buyers, hold on to them as an investment or ultimately pass them down to your heirs, knowing how to calculate the silver value of your coins will likely help in determining when and/or if to sell your silver coins.

Sort your coins according to denomination and date. Sort and group all of your nickels dated between 1942 and 1945 together. Do the same for dimes, quarters and half dollars minted in 1964 and earlier, half dollars minted from 1965–1970, and U.S. dollar coins dated 1935 and earlier.  These coins contain various purities of silver and sell at different prices based on their demand.

Examine your nickels dated between 1942 and 1945. Some of the nickels that were minted during this time period contained 56 percent copper, 35 percent silver, and 9 percent manganese. The shift was made from nickel to silver during World War II because of the high value of nickel during that time. Look at the reverse side of the coin to verify if it’s a wartime silver nickel. If you find a large letter above Monticello’s image, the coin contains 35 percent silver. The letter or the mint mark on the coin tells you where the coin was made.  The calculation to obtain the current melt value of silver war nickels is as follows:

Silver Spot Price x .057 = Melt Value

Group together your dimes, quarters, and half dollars dated 1964 and earlier. All of these coins are composed of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. After 1964, silver was no longer used to produce U.S. dimes and quarters.  The calculation to obtain the silver value of your 90% silver dimes, quarters and half dollars is as follows:

Dimes: Silver Spot Price x .07238 = Melt Value

Quarters: Silver Spot Price x .18095 = Melt Value

Half Dollars: Silver Spot Price x .3619 = Melt Value

Gather your half dollars dated from 1965-1970. While the production of dimes and quarters containing silver ceased after 1964, this wasn’t the case with half dollars. Half dollars that were produced from 1965 through 1970 contained 60 percent copper and 40 percent silver. However, after 1970, the use of silver was completely eliminated from U.S. half dollars.  Use the following calculation to determine the silver value of your 40% silver half dollars:

40% Half Dollars: Silver Spot Price x .15 = Melt Value

Set aside your silver dollars minted in 1935 and earlier.  1935 was the last year that silver dollars minted for general circulation contained silver content.  These coins contain 90% silver and weigh 26.7 grams.  With the exception of extremely worn coins, 90% silver dollars typically contain collectible value, which means that they sell for more than their silver content; however, it’s still important to know how to arrive at the silver value of your silver dollars, which is as follows:

Silver Spot Price x .774 = Melt Value

Research the spot price of silver. This will tell you the current value of a troy ounce of silver in the commodities market. Live spot prices can be found on Kitco’s website at the following URL:

While common-date U.S. silver coins may not be able to garner you as much cash as rarer coins, there’s still a large and active market for these coins.  Using the above guidelines will help you to determine the melt value of your coins to ensure that you receive a fair price when the time comes to sell your silver coins. Silver coin buyers engage in such transactions on a daily basis.

Tony Davis
Tony Davis