How to Sell Silver Coins for the Most Value
One of the most common questions that we receive is how to sell silver coins for the most value. This, of course, is a question that all sellers of silver coins would like to have answered so that they can maximize the value of their transaction. In this article, we’ll attempt to answer this que
stion by offering some helpful hints, recommendations on how to organize your coins, and coin dealer insight to help improve your chances of receiving the most value for your coin collection.
Common Silver Coins
To begin with, we’ll briefly discuss the most common types of silver coins and how the coins differ in terms of their purity and demand in the market. The three most popular and prevalent types of silver coins in the U.S. are 90-percent-silver dimes, quarters and half-dollars minted in 1964 and earlier, Morgan and Peace silver dollars minted from 1878 to 1935, and American silver eagles.
Pre-1965 silver coins are oftentimes referred to as “junk silver,” as they’re primarily bought and sold for their silver content. Another frequently used term for these coins is “constitutional silver.” Examples of 90% silver coins that trade for their precious metals value or underlying silver price are as follows:
- Roosevelt silver dimes (1964 & earlier)
- Mercury silver dimes
- Washington silver quarters (1964 & earlier)
- Walking Liberty half dollars
- Franklin half dollars
- 1964 Kennedy half dollars
Morgan and Peace silver dollars are also 90% silver coins, but they’re bought and sold for a premium, above the spot price of silver, due to their numismatic or collectible value. We’ll address some of the more rare coins later in the article.
American silver eagles are the official silver bullion coin of the United States and are highly sought-after coins by investors and collectors. Two versions of the silver eagle exist; a standard bullion coin and a proof silver eagle. They are legal tender coins and have a face value of $1. Silver eagles contain exactly one troy ounce of pure silver and are guaranteed by the U.S. government to meet the exact specifications of the coins.
Premiums on Silver Coins
All three of the above-mentioned coins are highly sought after; however, Morgan and Peace silver dollars typically have the highest premiums, followed by American silver eagles (more so for the proof silver eagles), and then pre-1965 90-percent-silver dimes, quarters, and half-dollars.
At the time of this writing, premiums on all of the coins are among their highest in recent years, although prices and premiums fluctuate daily and that may not be the case when the time comes to sell your silver coins.
Organize Your Collection by Coin Type
Before you proceed with selling your coins, it’s best that you organize your coins by type and take an inventory of your coin collection. It’s much easier for a coin dealer to provide an estimate or appraisal over the phone, via email, or in person if your collection is well organized. Documenting the year and mint mark of each type of coin can help to expedite the evaluation and appraisal process.
Typically, an electronic version of an inventory list is most helpful. It not only provides a coin dealer with important information, such as the size and composition of the collection, but it also helps to reduce the time necessary to document the collection at the time of your appointment. If possible, we recommend that you use Excel or Google Sheets as opposed a Word, .PDF or .JPG file.
Click the HERE to download a template for inventorying your coin collection:
In addition to separating the coins by type, we also recommend that you separate your coins by condition. While the condition of your silver coins doesn’t always affect the value of your coins (for example, all American silver eagles should be in brilliant uncirculated condition), it will affect the value of some of your coins, and, in particular, older silver coins, such as Morgan and Peace silver dollars.
Besides Morgan and Peace dollars, coins whose value is most affected by condition are type coins issued in 1892 and earlier.
Identify the Mint Location
Keep in mind that the value of silver coins can vary, not only depending on the coin’s condition, but also based on where the coin was minted. Some mints, in particular years, minted a lower quantity of coins than others, making them rarer and in higher demand.
The location of the coin’s mintage can be found by inspecting the coin for a mint mark. All of the coins mentioned above were minted at one of six mints, including the Carson City (CC), San Francisco (S), Denver (D), Philadelphia (P), New Orleans (O) and West Point (W) Mints. Coins without mint marks were minted at the Philadelphia Mint.
The Philadelphia Mint only placed a mint mark on their coins from 1942 – 1945 and since 1979 with the Susan B. Anthony dollar. Of the aforementioned Mints, the New Orleans and Carson City Mints are no longer in existence.
Premium Silver Coins
So now that you’ve gone through the process of organizing your coin collection by type of coin, condition, and mint location, the next step is to determine which of your coins are worth more than their silver content. We know from earlier in the article that Morgan and Peace dollars sell at a premium, and some substantially so.
For instance, all Carson City-issued Morgan silver dollars are considered low-mintage coins that sell at an additional premium, oftentimes many times the silver value of the coins. Other older-minted silver coins also sell at a premium: namely Trade silver dollars, Seated Liberty coins, and earlier coin types. Coin types minted prior to Seated Liberty coins include Capped Bust, Draped Bust, and Flowing Hair silver coins.
We’ve published a Rare Coin Guide to help individuals identify which of their silver coins may sell at a premium. We recommend that you use this resource prior to bringing your silver coins to a coin dealer.
Selecting the Right Coin Dealer
While organizing your collection by denomination, condition, mint location, and coin type will go a long ways toward improving your chances of a successful transaction, nothing is more important than selecting the right coin dealer. Do your due diligence to find a coin collector that is honest, reputable, transparent, and that has earned a reputation for paying industry leading rates.
We recommend checking to confirm that your selected coin dealer is in good standing with third party organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau and the American Numismatic Association. These organizations hold their members to a high standard, and will suspend or revoke membership for too many reported complaints. Be sure to also check out general online reviews from popular platforms, such as Google and Yelp.
At Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers, we’re always transparent with our pricing and are one of the few dealers who post our current buying rates online. We see our customers by appointment, which allows us to give you our undivided attention. We also provide our clients with the ability to buy and sell coins online, if they prefer. Contact us through our website or by calling 678-515-5763 if you have any questions about selling your silver coins or to schedule an appointment.
We hope that you found our guide on “how to sell silver coins” helpful and that when the time comes to sell your silver coins, you’ll not only save time, but you’ll also receive more value for your silver coins.