How to Use Silver Coins as Currency

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The United States Mint made various coins with silver before 1964. These coins included silver nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollars. The silver ounce (American Eagle) $1 coin was minted between 1986 and 2008. Other coins that were made with 40 percent silver include the half dollar minted between 1965 and 1970 and the Eisenhower dollar minted between 1971 and 1976. If you want to use your silver coins as currency, you can pay using their face value. But you likely will do better by exchanging them for their silver value or collectible value.

Determine the face value of your silver coins. To accomplish this, look on the back of each coin. Use a magnifying glass if you have trouble reading the coin's value. The United States Mint made silver nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars, dollars and the silver ounce (American Eagle).

Discover the silver value of your coins by using the silver calculator available at Complete the steps displayed below where it says "Value Your Silver Coins." To accomplish this, do the following:

Leave the amount displayed in the "spot price" field as it is. updates the silver value per ounce on a daily basis and automatically populates the field. Thereafter, select the silver coin type that you own. Complete the process by entering the number of coins you have of that type. Click the "Calculate" tab to discover the silver value of your coins. If you have different types of silver coins (nickles, quarters, half dollars, dollars), repeat these steps for each type of silver coin to find their individual silver value.

Decide whether you want to use your coins for their face value, the silver value calculated on or their potential collectible value.

Use your silver coins for their face value by presenting them at any location where you are making a purchase. Expect the merchant to accept the coins for their face value. For instance, if you use a $1 silver coin, the seller will accept that coin as if it's worth a dollar.

Consider not using your coins at their face value, and use them for their silver value instead. To do this, you will need to bring your coins to a coin or silver dealership and negotiate how much you can get for their silver content. The U.S. silver coin calculator you used at the website will give you an estimate of how much your coins are worth for their silver content, so negotiate with the coin or silver dealer accordingly.

Your last option is to negotiate with the coin or silver dealership for the collectible value of your coins. Not all silver coins have a collectible value, and their physical state also influences how much they may be worth. Generally older silver coins from the late 1800s and early 1900s are considered collectible. Newer coins with certain rare qualities may also be collectible.


  • If you want to use silver coins as currency, it is recommended to use them for their silver value or collectible value because those values would generally be higher than their face value. Visit several coin or silver dealerships to get more than one estimate. Ultimately you want to exchange your coins with the dealership that will pay you the most for your coins.