This page attempts to answer some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) about silver coins and their melt values. It is by no means a definitive resource, but it should at least give readers an idea of the topic.
Is there a definition for the term "melt value?"
While you may be hard-pressed to find a definition for "melt value" in the dictionary, it is relatively easy to define. Simply put, it is the value of a coin (or coins) based on the metals contained within them. For example, an American Silver Eagle contains one ounce of .999 fine silver. Thus, if the precious metal was currently trading at $30 an ounce, a Silver Eagle melted down would yield approximately $30 worth of silver.
Do I need to actually melt a coin down to obtain its melt value?
No, the composition of most coins is already known, like those shown on the home page of Silver Coin Melt Values. Thus, a coin’s melt value based on the current price of the metal within it is easily calculated. In fact, in terms of liquidity, it is much easier to obtain a coin’s melt value as potential buyers can identify it and them come to a value based on its known metallic make-up.
Then what about a coin’s face value?
A coin’s face value is another topic altogether. This is the value of the coin if it were to be used for commerce transactions. For instance, a quarter dollar struck by the United States Mint has a face value of twenty-five cents. Face values are based on the fact that the issuing government backs that coin for use to satisfy a debt within the jurisdiction of that country. Many times, however, face values are symbolic in nature such as a bullion American Silver Eagle which has a face value of one dollar but is truly worth much more since it is struck from one ounce of silver.
How about the coin’s numismatic value?
This is yet another value associated with coins. This is the amount the coin may be worth to coin collectors. A coin’s numismatic value is typically based on the condition and rarity of the coin with rare ones in excellent condition commanding higher premiums than common, poor condition strikes of the same specifications.
I have read about 90% silver coins, what are they?
90% silver coins are coins that have a composition containing 90% silver and 10% other metal(s). For the sake of this website and U.S. coins, 90% silver coins are typically pre-1965 circulating coins such as dimes, quarters, half dollars, etc. which were struck from 90% silver and 10% copper. That same composition can also be found in modern silver commemorative coins issued by the United States Mint as well as the Mint’s annual silver proof sets.
What are "Junk Silver Coin?"
Junk silver coins are anything but junk, lets be clear about that to begin with. This term is typically applied to silver coins which are so common or so poor in condition that they warrant little or no numismatic value. They can still, however, have a tremendous melt value associated with them based on the amount of silver they contain. Dealers typically bundle the "junk silver coins" in bags or rolls to be sold to investors and collectors for a price based on their silver content.
Is there more to know about Junk Silver Coin Bags?
Obviously, and this FAQ will barely touch the surface on all their is to learn about Junk Silver Coin Bags. A bit of history and background will help, however. First of all, traditionally, dealers would bundle enough junk silver coins in a bag to equal a face value of $1,000. Because the United States Mint struck these older silver coins with a proportional amount of silver depending on the denomination of each coin, these $1,000 face value bags would equal approximately 715 ounces of silver (allowing for wear). Thus, it was easy to calculate a melt value of each bag based on the 715 ounces no matter what the actual make-up of individual coins inside was.
In latter years, and with the increasing price seen in precious metals, it is not uncommon to find junk silver coins bags with smaller face values to appeal to a broader market.
Where can I find Junk Silver Coins and Bags?
For starters, your local coin and precious metal dealer is a great place to start. Online auction sites like eBay can also be useful.
How much should I expect to spend for Junk Silver Coins and Bags?
This amount is extremely fluid based on factors like the current silver market and demand. The price of silver is easily attainable by looking at the world markets via online financial sites as well as precious metal sites (not to mention the consistently updated site you are currently on!) Take the amount of silver expected to be in each bag times the current spot price and you will have an idea of the bags melt value — expect to pay slightly more than that if you are looking to buy, and expect to receive slightly less if you are looking to sell.
As mentioned, however, demand also plays a part. This is a component known as Bid/Ask. At times, it can be hard for dealers to obtain sufficient quantities of junk silver coins. During these times, they have to pay a larger premium over spot to purchase them, and will, in turn, charge more to sell them.
What are Silver Sets?
Silver Sets are sets containing coins struck from any composition of the precious metal. For the sake of this site, it refers to sets released by the United States Mint. This includes those sets issued pre-1965 when standard circulating dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollars were struck from 90% silver. It also includes those sets issued since 1965 containing differing percentages of the precious metal. The Silver Set Melt Values page is dedicated to these Silver Sets and offers short descriptions of them as well as their silver content.