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Common U.S. Silver Coins (Pre-1965)

You will find more detailed buying and selling information on the 12 most popular U.S. silver coins in my eBook The Last 90 Percent Silver United States Coins. You can preview the first few chapters free!

In 1965, the United States stopped producing coins containing 90 percent silver (specifically, coins produced for general circulation). They must have seen the proverbial "handwriting on the wall". When silver topped out at $50.50 per ounce in 1980, the silver content of these coins far outweighed their face value. That still holds true today (a silver dime contains well over $1.00's worth of silver).

In this article, I provide information on the silver content (purity) of mostly pre-1965 common (and not-so-common) U.S. silver coins. Since there is a difference in the silver content of circulated and uncirculated silver coins, I will cover both.

How You Can Use This Information

If you are considering selling or buying U.S. silver coins, you can use this information to determine the value of each coin's silver content based on the current spot price of silver. Then shop various dealers to see who gives you the best (and fairest) price.


United States War Nickels

Before discussing the more familiar U. S. silver coins, you U S 1942 War Nickelshould be aware of the lesser-known U. S. War Nickels. From 1942-1945, the normal alloy of .750 copper and .250 nickel for U. S. nickels was changed because nickel was too valuable to the war effort. During these war years, U. S. nickels were minted using .560 copper, .350 silver and .090 manganese. This 35% silver content amounted to .0563 Troy ounces of pure silver. In 1946, U. S. nickels went back to their pre-war content.

United States 90% Silver Dimes

Silver Barber DimeSilver Mercury DimeSilver Roosevelt DimeThis information applies to the: Barber (or Liberty Head) Dime minted from 1892-1916; Mercury (or Winged Liberty Head) Dime minted from 1916-1945; and Roosevelt Dime minted from 1946-1964. From 1965 to present, the Roosevelt dime has been minted containing .750 copper and .250 nickel.

Circulated Silver Dimes: Silver content=.0715 Troy ounces; Silver fineness=.9000 (the other .1000 is copper); Gross weight=.079 Troy ounces (2.471 grams); Net (silver) weight=.0715 Troy ounces (2.2239 grams). 

Uncirculated Silver Dimes: Silver content=.0723 Troy ounces; Silver fineness=.9000; Gross weight=.080 Troy ounces (2.500 grams); Net (silver) weight=.0723 Troy ounces (2.2500 grams). 


To determine the silver (melt) value of a circulated dime, multiply the current spot price of silver times .0715. For example: $20.00 x .0715 = $1.43


United States 90% Silver Quarters

Silver Barber QuarterSilver Standing Liberty QuarterSilver Washington QuarterThis information applies to the: Barber (or Liberty Head) Quarter minted from 1892-1916; Standing Liberty Quarter minted from 1916-1930; and the Washington Quarter minted from 1932-1964. From 1965 to present, the Washington quarter has been minted containing .750 copper and .250 nickel.

Circulated Silver Quarters: Silver content=.1788 Troy ounces; Silver fineness=.9000 (the other .1000 is copper); Gross weight=.198 Troy ounces (6.178 grams); Net (silver) weight=.1788 Troy ounces (5.5597 grams). 

Uncirculated Silver Quarters: Silver content=.1808 Troy ounces; Silver fineness=.9000; Gross weight=.201 Troy ounces (6.250 grams); Net (silver) weight=.1808 Troy ounces (5.6250 grams). 

To determine the silver (melt) value of a circulated quarter, multiply the current spot price of silver times .1788. Example: .1788 x $20.00 = $3.576.

United States 90% Half-Dollars

Silver Barber Half DollarSilver Walking Liberty Half DollarSilver Franklin Half DollarSilver 1964 Kennedy Half DollarThis information applies to the: Barber (or Liberty Head) Half-Dollar minted from 1892-1915; Walking Liberty Half-Dollar minted from 1916-1947; Benjamin Franklin Half-Dollar minted from 1948-1963; and the 1964 Kennedy Half-Dollar.

Circulated Silver Half-Dollars: Silver content=.3575 Troy ounces; Silver fineness= .9000 (the other .1000 is copper); Gross weight=.397 Troy ounces (12.355 grams); Net (silver) weight=.3575 Troy ounces (11.1195 grams). 

Uncirculated Silver Half-Dollars: Silver content=.3617 Troy ounces; Silver fineness=.9000; Gross weight=.401 Troy ounces (12.500 grams); Net (silver) weight=.3617 Troy ounces (11.2501 grams). 


To determine the silver (melt) value of a circulated half-dollar, multiply .3575 times the current spot price of silver. Example: .3575 x $20.00 = $7.15.



United States 40% Silver Half-Dollars

This information applies to the: Kennedy Half-Dollar minted from 1965-1970. This coin consists of an outer layer of .800 silver and .200 copper bonded to an inner core of .209 silver and .791 copper. From 1971 to date, the Kennedy Half-Dollar consists of .750 copper and .250 nickel.

Circulated 40% Silver Half-Dollars: Silver content=.1475 Troy ounces; Silver fineness= .4000 (the other .6000 is copper); Gross weight=.368 Troy ounces (11.469 grams); Net (silver) weight=.1475 Troy ounces (4.5878 grams). 

Uncirculated 40% Silver Half-Dollars: Same as circulated 40% half-dollars. 

To determine the silver (melt) value of a 40% silver half-dollar, multiply .1475 times the current spot price of silver. Example: .1475 x $20.00 = $2.95

United States 90% Silver Dollars

Silver Morgan DollarSilver Peace Dollar

This information applies to the: Morgan Silver Dollar minted from 1878-1921; and the Peace Silver Dollar from 1921-1935.


Circulated Silver Dollars: Silver content=.7650 Troy ounces; Silver fineness= .9000 (the other .1000 is copper); Gross weight=.850 Troy ounces (26.438 grams); Net (silver) weight=.7650 Troy ounces (23.7941 grams). 

Uncirculated Silver Dollars: Silver content=.7734 Troy ounces; Silver fineness=.9000; Gross weight=.859 Troy ounces (26.728 grams); Net (silver) weight=.7734 Troy ounces (24.0566 grams). 


To determine the silver (melt) value of a circulated dollar, multiply .7650 times the current spot price of silver. Example: .7650 x $20.00 = $15.30


Are you ready to start shopping around for some of these historic silver coins? If yes, then head on over to the Silver Investing Guru site where you will find a sampling of many of the above silver coins available on Amazon. Compare prices and see which fit into your investing budget. Good Luck!



Disclaimer: I have made every reasonable effort to produce an informative and helpful article on Common U.S. Silver Coins based on my research and experiences. However, I make no representation or warranties of any kind with regard to its completeness, accuracy or suitability for any specific situation or purpose. See Site Use Terms for more info.


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