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Our first tip of the week is on “how to tell if your coins are silver.” This is a frequently asked question and one that we thought would have broad appeal. All U.S. silver dimes, quarters and half dollars minted in 1964 or earlier contain 90% silver. Dimes and quarters minted after 1965 and half dollars minted after 1970 are clad, which are a combination of nickel and copper.
While this is helpful information to know, if you’re like some of us, your eyes aren’t what they used to be. Furthermore, 90% silver coins can have a substantial amount of wear, which can make the date difficult, if not impossible to read. Lastly, if you have a large lot of coins, it can take hours to read the date of each coin.
Fortunately we have a solution! The best way to determine if your coins are silver is to view the edge of the coin. If the coin has a solid silver stripe, then you can feel confident that it’s silver. If you can see a copper stripe, then the coin is clad. A more subdued silver stripe with faint traces of copper could mean that the coin is 40% silver. The only U.S. silver coins that contain 40% silver are Kennedy half dollars minted from 1965 – 1970.
The following picture from the coin community forum is a perfect example of what we’re trying to illustrate. A solid copper stripe can be seen on the top coin, which indicates that it’s clad. The second coin is more subdued and gray in color, while the bottom coin has a solid silver edge with no traces of copper.
We hope that you found helpful our inaugural tip of the week on “how to tell if your coins are silver” and look forward to sharing with you many more tips in the future. Do you have any good ideas for a future tip of the week article? Send your suggestions to email@example.com.