Silver coins and bullion can be sold for both their silver content and their numismatic value. Silver coins in particular are prized by coin collectors and typically sell for more than face value. Bullion is precious metal often cast in the shape of coins, but it is not considered money. Private mints can make silver bullion. The value of bullion is in its precious metal content and quality of workmanship.
Separate your silver coins and silver bullion. Silver coins are money that you can spend at the store like dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollar coins. Even discontinued series of U.S. coins like winged liberty dimes and standing liberty quarters are still considered money. Silver bullion is silver cast for the purpose of investing in silver. American Eagle Silver Bullion is an example of this.
Identify which coins are actually silver. All U.S. dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollar coins minted in 1964 and before are made of 90 percent silver. Kennedy half dollars minted between 1965 and 1970 are made of 40 percent silver.
Weigh your silver coins. Add up the weight of all your 90 percent silver coins then multiply the total by 0.9. Combine this with the weight of all your 40 percent silver coins multiplied by 0.4. The total is the silver content of your coins.
Weigh your silver bullion. Most are in the form of one oz. rounds measuring 40.6 millimeters in diameter. Make sure that they weight exactly one oz. If they weight less, then they are not pure silver. Most silver bullion is 99.9 percent pure. The total weight of your silver bullion is also the approximate silver content.
Add the silver content of your coins with the silver content of your bullion. This is the total silver content of what you are selling.
Look up the spot price of silver. You can find this in the financial section of most newspapers and at sites online.
Multiply the spot price of silver by your total silver content. This is the spot value of all the silver you are selling.
Take your silver coins and bullion to several coin dealers. If your silver is in poor condition, expect an offer near spot value. If your coins and bullion are in nice condition, an offer 5 to 20 percent over spot value is reasonable.
Consider mailing your silver to a precious metal refiner. They tend to pay less than local coin shops, but will accept most silver lots. Expect an offer between 90 and 95 percent of the spot price of silver. If they offer less, go somewhere else.
It is wise to go through your silver coins to make sure that there are no rare collector coins. They could be worth much more than their silver content to a collector.
- It is wise to go through your silver coins to make sure that there are no rare collector coins. They could be worth much more than their silver content to a collector.
Kent Ninomiya is a veteran journalist with over 23 years experience as a television news anchor, reporter and managing editor. He traveled to more than 100 countries on all seven continents, including Antarctica. Ninomiya holds a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences with emphasis in history, political science and mass communications from the University of California at Berkeley.