How to sell silver coins for cash in 2021

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Did you inherit your grandfather's buffalo nickel? What about a silver dollar collection? Rare quarters or Canadian silver dollar or French frac?

The value of these collectible silver coins varies by age, condition and rarity — as well as the going price for silver at any time.

This post will help you find the value of your silver coin, and the best way to sell it for the highest price.

Best place to sell silver coins: CashforSilverUSA

Our No. 1 recommendation is CashforSilverUSA (CashforGoldUSA’s sister site), with high customer service reviews, guaranteed highest price and a 10% bonus if you send in your item within 24 hours of receiving the free FedEx mailer.

Where to sell old silver coins

Selling silver coins is a lot like selling gold coins. First determine whether or not the coin has any value as a collectible. This post on what to do with an inherited coin collection is a good place to start.

If you have found that your coin is indeed worth more than a few cents, you may want to seek out a dealer, collector, or auction house to maximize your profits. If not your profit will be limited to the value of the silver content of the coin. You will need to determine the purity of the metal and the weight of the piece. Once you have this information, you can determine the fair value of your coin and find a buyer.

Silver coins can also be sold to pawn shops, silver exchanges, and online silver buyers, each of which will give you cash in exchange for your coins (based on the weight of the coin) and then proceed to melt them down.

How pawn stores work and how to tell if your local pawnbroker is reputable

How to sell silver coins online

We like CashforSilverUSA because:

  1. Visit CashforSilverUSA.com and fill out a form requesting a prepaid mailer be sent to you, free of charge. 
  2. Place your items inside the mailer and send it back to CashforSilverUSA. You can have the mailer picked up at your door.
  3. Your items will be appraised within 24 hours of receipt, and you’ll be sent an offer.
  4. If you accept the offer, you’ll be paid by either check, bank wire, or PayPal — within 24 hours after accepting the offer.
  5. If you don’t accept the offer, your item will be returned to you 100% free of charge. 

More on how CashforSilverUSA works:

Here is why we recommend CashforSilverUSA over other silver buyers:

  • A Fox Business News investigation found their parent company pays its 3X competitors
  • Pay within 24 hours
  • A+ Better Business Bureau rating.
  • Each shipment insured up to $100,000 by Jeweler's Mutual insurance
  • CashforSilverUSA's facility is insured by Lloyds of London
  • Guaranteed highest price for your silver and gold jewelry, coins, silverware, diamonds and dental scrap
  • Paid out more than $55 million to sellers since being founded in 2004
  • Get a USPS or FedEx mailer sent to and picked up from your door — 100% free

How to sell gold for the highest price

What is the value of silver coins?

The value of a silver coin is dependent on its rarity, grade, and desirability as a collectible. If it is not worth much as a collectible, then its value is based on its silver content. This value can be significantly higher than the coin’s face value, depending on the current price of silver.

For example, a 1942 nickel has a face value of 5 cents. It’s silver content is worth approximately $1.47, however, when silver is at a price of $26.27 per ounce.

Most silver coins contain 90% silver.

Collectible silver coins

In the United States, silver coins have been used as currency since Colonial days. The most popular silver coin in this era was the Spanish milled dollar, or “piece of eight,” and it was common to literally cut up a Spanish milled dollar into eight equally sized bits, each worth one-eighth the value of the full dollar. This is why quarters came to be referred to as worth “two bits”—a phrase that is widely recognized even today. 

The Coinage Act of 1792 marked a turning point in the history of U.S. coins, as it mandated the manufacture of U.S. copper, silver, and gold coins in various denominations. Silver coins were to be issued in denominations of half dime, dime, half dollar, and dollar. The Act also set the proportional value of silver to gold at 15 to 1—that is, 15 units of silver would be worth 1 unit of gold.

The Coinage Act of 1792 also introduced design standards for the new coins, requiring that U.S. coins bear an image symbolic of liberty and the year the coin was manufactured. In addition, the reverse of each coin would show the image of an eagle and the words “United States of America.”

The famous Gold Rush of 1848 led to a surplus of gold in the marketplace, which drove up the value of silver coins, and led bullion collectors bought up and hoarded the metal, causing a shortage. An 1853 law reversed this trend by allowing the public to turn their silver bullion into silver dollars. That lasted until the Coinage Act of 1873, a.k.a. the Fourth Coinage Act, put an end to the practice. 

Over time, U.S. coins gradually phased out the use of silver in their composition, starting with the five-cent piece.

Starting in 1866, the piece was manufactured with copper and nickel rather than silver. This new composition inspired the name by which the coin has been known ever since: the nickel. The dime and the quarter eventually switched to a copper-and-nickel composition as well, in 1965. By 1971, no newly minted U.S. circulating coins included any silver at all.

Collectible silver coins, especially those with historic value, may be worth more in their current state. If you believe that you may have a valuable silver coin, a coin shop or appraiser can help you understand the value of your coin before you sell it. 

Learn more about the value of silver and how to sell it for the highest price.

Common silver coins in the United States that you may possess and choose to sell include:

  • Morgan Dollars
  • Peace Dollars
  • Liberty Head (Barber) Half-Dollars
  • Walking Liberty Half-Dollars
  • Franklin Half-Dollars
  • Kennedy Half-Dollars
  • Liberty Head (Barber) Quarters
  • Standing Liberty Quarters
  • Washington Quarters
  • Liberty Head (Barber) Dimes
  • Winged Liberty Head (Mercury) Dimes

Learn more about selling an inherited coin collection

What Kennedy half dollars are worth money?

Rare or otherwise desired Kennedy half dollars can fetch a significant amount of money from collectors. As recently as 2019, for example, a particularly rare 1964 Kennedy half dollar sold for $108,000 at public auction.

For Kennedy half dollars without collector's value, the value of your coin will depend on when it was minted, as the silver content of these coins varies by year.

Kennedy half dollars minted in 1964 contain 90% silver and 10% copper. These coins contain roughly 0.36169 ounces of silver. At the current price of silver ($23.82 per ounce as of August 24, 2021) that means that the silver in a 1964 Kennedy half dollar is worth about $8.62.

Kennedy half dollars minted between 1965 and 1970 contain 40% silver—significantly less, but still worth salvaging. These coins contain roughly 0.1479 ounces of silver. At the current price of silver ($23.82 per ounce as of August 24, 2021) that means that a Kennedy half dollar minted between 1965 and 1970 is worth about $3.52 just due to its silver content.

Any Kennedy half dollar minted from 1971 onward does not contain any silver.

What 50 cent pieces are worth money?

Any US 50 cent piece minted before 1965 will contain 90% silver. This increases their value to be higher than their face value of 50 cents.

Each of the coins below contain about 0.36169 ounces of silver. At the current price of silver ($23.82 per ounce as of August 24, 2021) that means that the silver content of these 50 cent pieces is worth about $8.62. The list of 50 cent pieces that are 90% silver include:

  • Barber/Liberty Head half dollars, minted between 1892-1916. Barber Head half dollars coins often sell for around $10 but can reach prices of $500 or more.
  • Walking Liberty half dollars, minted between 1916–1947. Walking Liberty half dollars often sell for about $10 but have been known to reach $1,000+.
  • Franklin half dollars, minted between 1948–1963. Franklin half dollars typically do not sell for less than $10 a piece, and valuable coins can go for thousands.
  • Kennedy half dollars minted in 1964. 1964 Kennedy half dollars are worth at least $10 a piece and can sometimes sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars if they are in good enough condition.

Kennedy half dollars minted from 1965 through 1970 are 40% silver.

What silver dollars are worth money?

Silver dollars will often sell to collectors for at least $20 a piece. Rarer silver dollars can sell for hundred or thousands of dollars, with exceptionally rare specimens going for millions.

As a general rule of thumb, any silver dollar minted before 1965 will contain 90% silver, or about 0.78 troy ounces of silver. The weight varies slightly by coin, but they are close. At the current price of silver ($23.82 per ounce as of August 24, 2021) that means that the silver content of these silver dollar coins is worth about $18.57.

Silver dollars that are at least 90% silver include:

  • Flowing Hair Silver Dollar (1794-1795)
  • Draped Bust Silver Dollar (1795-1804)
  • Gobrecht Silver Dollar (1836-1839)
  • Seated Liberty Silver Dollar (1840-1873)
  • Silver Trade Dollar (1873-1885)
  • Morgan Silver Dollar (1878-1921)
  • Peace Silver Dollar (1921-1935, 1964)

Additionally, the “American Silver Eagle” bullion coin minted from1986-present contains 1 troy ounce of .999 silver, making it the silver dollar with the highest percentage of silver. Currently, these coins are worth about $23.82 as of as of August 24, 2021.

“Eisenhower” Silver Dollars (1971-1978) and “Susan B Anthony” Silver Dollars (1979-1999) do not contain any silver, but can hold value to collectors.

What half dollars are worth money?

Any half dollar minted before 1965 will contain 90% silver. This includes the 1964 Kennedy half dollar, the Franklin half dollar (1948-1963), the Walking Liberty half dollar (1916-1947), Barber/Liberty Head half dollars (1892-1916), and older coins. These coins each contain 0.36169 ounces of silver, making them worth a little over $8.50 (per August 2021 prices)

Kennedy half dollars minted between 1965 and 1970 contain 40% silver, or 0.1479 ounces, worth about $3.52.

Newer half dollars in circulation do not contain silver.

Of course, any half dollar that is in particularly good condition, or which is rare, can fetch many times the value of its silver content. It's important to check with numismatist guides to understand if you have a rare coin or not.

What silver coins are worth money?

Any silver coin minted before 1965 contains a significant amount of silver and hold an intrinsic value due to that silver content.

The following coins contain a large amount of silver by content:

  • Morgan Dollars (90% silver)
  • Peace Dollars (90% silver)
  • Flowing Hair Silver Dollars (90% silver)
  • Draped Bust Silver Dollars (90% silver)
  • Gobrecht Silver Dollars (90% silver)
  • Seated Liberty Silver Dollars (90% silver)
  • Silver Trade Dollars (90% silver)
  • Barber/Liberty Head Half Dollars (90% silver)
  • Walking Liberty Half Dollars (90% silver)
  • Franklin Half Dollars (90% silver)
  • 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars (90% silver)
  • 1965-1970 Kennedy Half Dollars (40% silver)
  • Liberty Head/Barber Quarters (90% silver)
  • Standing Liberty Quarters (90% silver)
  • 1932, 1934-1964 Washington Quarters (90% silver)
  • Liberty Head/Barber Dimes (90% silver)
  • Winged Liberty Head/Mercury Dimes (90% silver)
  • 1946-1964 Roosevelt Dimes (90% silver)

What are 90% silver coins worth?

To find the value of your 90% silver coin, all you need to do is find its weight in grams, and multiply that by .9. This will tell you how much silver your coins contain by weight. You can then multiply that number by the spot price of silver to determine how much money your coins are worth.

This video offers more detail about the value of 90% silver coins:

How much is a buffalo head nickel worth?

Buffalo Nickels were first minted in 1913, and were replaced by the current design in 1938. Buffalo coins have some unusual and interesting anomalies, including some with three-legged buffalos, a notable lack of mint date and varying designs that are often forged and also add much value:

  • 1913-S Type 2
  • 1916/16 (doubled die variety)
  • 1918-D 8 over 7 (doubled die variety)
  • 1921-S
  • 1924-S
  • 1926-S
  • 1937-D Three legged Buffalo

Buffalo nickels can fetch dozens to tens of thousands of dollars. Expert coin collector James Bucki elaborates on how buffalo nickles are graded and priced.

How much are scrap silver coins worth?

A scrap silver coin with no collectible value is worth its silver content. To determine that value, you will need to:

  1. Determine the silver content of the coin.
  2. Determine the weight of the coin (in ounces).
  3. Multiple that weight by the current price of silver (in ounces).

Learn what your silver tableware and flatware are worth …

Frequently asked questions about silver coins

What is considered junk silver?

Junk silver is a term used to describe a silver coin that has no value as a collectible. Junk silver coins are worth more than their face value due to their silver content, but do not have any additional historical, collectors, or antique value. Junk silver coins are often melted down and sold.

Do banks buy silver coins?

If you have silver coins and want to sell them for the value of their silver, a bank is likely not to be a good choice. Most banks will only give you the face value of whatever coins you turn in, regardless of their metal content. So, a silver nickel would be worth 5 cents, for example. An online buyer, such as CashforSilverUSA, is likely to be a better option. 

Get started selling your silver coins for cash within 24 hours with CashforSilver now >>

What is the value of silver coins?

The value of a silver coin is dependent on its rarity, grade, and desirability as a collectible. If it is not worth much as a collectible, then its value is based on its silver content. This value can be significantly higher than the coin’s face value, depending on the current price of silver.

Do banks buy silver coins?

If you have silver coins and want to sell them for the value of their silver, a bank is likely not to be a good choice. Most banks will only give you the face value of whatever coins you turn in.

What is considered junk silver?

Junk silver is a term used to describe a silver coin that has no value as a collectible.

What silver coins are worth money?

Any silver coin minted before 1965 contains a significant amount of silver and hold an intrinsic value due to that silver content.

What is the value of silver coins?

The value of a silver coin is dependent on its rarity, grade, and desirability as a collectible. If it is not worth much as a collectible, then its value is based on its silver content. This value can be significantly higher than the coin’s face value, depending on the current price of silver.

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. More about Emma's credentials.

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