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Silver Quarters

by Silver Coin Guy on May 7, 2012

Junk Silver Coins, silver quartersThe United States quarter is officially worth 1/4 (hence the name) of the US Dollar, a fiat currency whose value changes daily.

“Shave and a haircut, two bits.” – Yeah, those days are through.

From 1796 until 1964 American quarter dollar coins were minted out of silver, in an alloy equal to 90% silver, 10% copper.  In 1964 the United States debased it’s coinage, the first sign in the decline of a nation’s currency, and quarters minted from 1965 on are basically worthless in terms of intrinsic value.

Silver quarters are an excellent silver coin to both start out and build up a collection of physical silver coins.  Six quarters will give you more than an ounce of silver ($1.40 in US junk silver coin face value = 1 troy ounce of silver) so the quarter is a relatively inexpensive way to pick up silver, a little bit each month.

As I write this silver quarters are worth $5.45 and you can pick them up for about $7 – $8 a piece, less if you buy them by the roll.

Silver quarters are plentiful, either on eBay or at your local coin shop.

Collecting Silver Quarter Coins

Collecting silver coinsJunk silver coins are called “junk” because they have no collectible value, but that doesn’t mean they’re not fun to collect.  The design of the US quarter has changed and evolved as the nation has changed and evolved.  I like to collect the different versions of the all the junk silver coins. Partly because it imparts a sense of history, partly to diversify my coin holdings but mostly because it adds a bit of fun to my silver savings program.

There’s something about holding  a coin in your hands that you simply don’t get from a bank statement or from knowing you own electronic silver somewhere in a distant account, especially when the coin is more than a hundred years old.  It takes you back to a time when the dollar was sound, politicians could be trusted (okay, you can never trust a politician, but they generally kept out of your business back then) and the world made more sense.  It’s visceral, a feeling that shoots throughout your whole being and tells you everything might be alright if we base our actions and savings on something real.

While there have been quarters around since 1796 here are the ones you’re most likely to find –

1892 – 1916 Barber Quarter – Expect to pay more for these because they are rarer and harder to find than more recently minted quarters.  These are the quarters that saw the United States expand into empire and took us into World War One. Harder to find in junk condition, most of these coins will show signs of heavy usage.

1916 – 1930 Standing Liberty Quarter – As with the Barber Quarter most of the “junk” Standing Liberty Quarters are going to show considerable signs of wear because of heavy usage.  The nicer looking coins will tend to have some collectible status and command a higher price. Then again, there’s nothing wrong with paying a little more money for a beautiful coin.  After all, there are pleasures beyond financial security and coins are a work of art.  I find myself often paying for mint condition Morgan Silver Dollar’s because I simply like the coin.

1932 – 1964 Washington Quarter – This is the one we’re all familiar with (if you’re an American) and there are plenty of them out there.  Even the junk silver Washington quarters are usually in pretty good condition.

If you’re interested in silver coin investing or looking to own or collect silver coins silver quarters are a great way to start.  There are a lot of bargains out there once you know what to look for. (A good place to start is with the change you get back when you’re at the store.  Every now and then, rarely, but it does happen, you’ll get a silver coin back.  Most people are totally unfamiliar with silver coinage or even remember that coins were once made of silver. Their ignorance is your advantage.

Start looking on eBay, which will let you see a lot of coins and let you know what market value is for the various coins.  If you’re so inclined and have one close to you, visit a local coin shop, see what they have and ask questions.  Soon you’ll be a well informed buyer of silver coins.

Start now…Own Junk Silver Coins


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