As you know, I’m a huge
fan addict of collecting currency. It started with a strange dollar bill I found in my pocket years back, and then slowly over time progressed to interesting coins and other money-related items I’ve since come across. Like my latest find over the weekend of an old US Mint bank bag I snagged for $3! Which also happened to have strange dark red spots on it that I can only hope didn’t have to do with some sort of botched robbery, haha…
But the latest craze I’ve been getting into – outside of the $2.00 bill hoarding – is searching around for more SILVER for my collection. I don’t know how many of you follow the values of Silver or Gold or any of that kind of stuff lately, but MAN is silver pretty valuable right now. At the time of this post, an ounce of silver is currently going for about $32.00 – down from its peak of $48.00 a year ago, but up from a low of just $15.00 TWO years ago. Like when I found that 1 oz. silver coin for 25 cents at a yard sale, remember that? It’s already doubled in value! And you don’t even wanna know what an oz was going for back in the early 2000’s, jeesh.
So needless to say this interest in silver has some reasoning behind it ;) And it wasn’t until lately that I even realized I could very well have MORE sitting around my house without even knowing it! Which was the shockingly good news!
I was searching around for “junk silver” to learn more, I found out that U.S. coins that were of silver color pre-1965 (like dimes, quarters, half dollars, and even some nickels) contained large portions of *actual* silver. Before they turned to making them out of copper and zinc and nickel and other stuff as the value of silver started surpassing the coins’ face value. Which gives you yet ANOTHER idea of just how much silver has increased in worth since then!
Here’s a breakdown of how much these pre-1965 “junk coins” are worth today:
- Nickels (1942-1945): 35% @ .06 oz of silver = $1.90
- Dimes (pre-1965): 90% @ .07 oz of silver = $2.25
- Quarters (pre-1965): 90% @ .18 oz of silver = $5.75
- Half Dollars (pre-1965): 90% @ .36 oz of silver = $11.50
- Silver Dollars (pre -1935): 90% @ .77 oz of silver = $24.50
And that doesn’t include any special coins or others minted before then either – like those from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Once you get into that type of territory, you’re usually talking about coins that are worth a ton more outside of just the silver they contain as they become more collectible in nature due to their rarity. But those numbers above give you a good idea of what you can more easily expect to find as a mere common folk ;)
(Here’s another quick tool to see how much your coin is worth or not too: Is My Coin Silver?)
So of course the first thing I did when I learned about this was scour all my change piles around the house (and cars, cabinets, boxes) to see how many goodies I already had on me! But little did I know the millions of people over the years (Almost 50 of them to be exact!) had already beaten me to the punch. Wha wha wha… But that wasn’t going to stop me, was it? ;)
– just like I do with those $2.00 bills – to see what THEY were hiding from all us average consumers! They have billions of coins back there, surely there were handfuls of those dated pre-1965 too, right? So I cashed in about $40 worth of rolled up dimes and nickels and especially quarters – which had the highest % of silver back then outside of half and silver dollars – and I rushed back home to start my sneaky search.
And sneaky it sure was, dag nabit… One hour later with green finger tips and a raging headache, I’d looked through literally hundreds of coins only to find a measly ONE (that’s right – one!) and it wasn’t even one of the more bigger ones, either. Ugh. It was a 1943 “Jefferson War” nickel worth approx two bucks. Definitely not worth the time, if you ask me. And while I considered going back a second and third time just to be absolutely SURE I didn’t get a bad batch, I just haven’t had the heart to start the whole search all over again… After a while your eyes get really pissed off! ;)
Luckily there are other ways to get your hands on this junk silver if you really want some, though:
- You can buy ’em online (and in bulk) from places like APMEX, or CMI.
- You can pick them up at your local gold and silver shops, and sometimes even pawn shops.
- You can pick some up at the U.S. Mint – Though not pre-1965 junks coins as we’ve been talking about. They only sell the newer stuff like that 1 oz. gold coin I got my hands on back in March.
- Or you can try your luck at yard sales and flea markets like I have here and there :) Or better yet your older neighbors who have been stashing away coins for over 60 years now! Haha… Maybe you can cash them in and get some type of commission?
Regardless, I’m not giving up just yet. Silver is on a major tear over the past 5 years, and I can only believe it’ll be going UP over the years as we struggle with this economy and other out-of-our-hands things like the U.S. Dollar depreciating/etc. Not to mention if any of those doomsdayer prophecies prove correct, and the only money worth trading after the world collapses is real silver and gold! (Ya never know?) We may not be able to control everything in our lives, but we sure can some of it. Just depends on what you think about all this stuff…
And personally, I’m just getting started :) I ordered Coin Collecting For Dummies last night, as well as a magazine subscription to a coin magazine (big shocker), and I plan on immersing myself even more into this new world of coinage out there. I wanna be able to spot a killer deal a mile away! And nothing helps that more than continuing to feed the ol’ brain :)
Any other Silver Lovers out there reading this? Anyone else have a nice stash built up?
[UPDATE: I now have a coin blog! Check it out: CoinThrill.com]
PS: Other cool resources I’ve been checking out too, if it helps:
- Why You Should Buy Junk Silver (A great blog post by my boy Kevin @ Thousandaire)
- CoinTrackers.com (A great site for all kinds of information on silver and other valuable coins, as well as a new beta system for storing and tracking all your coins and worth! It’s pretty hot.)
- Kitco Silver Tracker (A place for or up to date values of silver and other precious metals)
- Gold Tracker iPhone App (A cool app that allows you to store your own silver/gold info in it and track the metal’s value on any given day. Has a nifty calculator too that can be opened on the fly.)
**Know of any others we should be aware of?
(Top photo by Muffet, bottom one by Yours Truly)
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!