What is Junk Silver?

What is Junk silver?


Junk silver despite the name is a great buy, Americans might know junk silver by the name “constitutional silver”. Junk silver is coins minted by a sovereign state or mint which contain a certain amount of silver per coin. The coins must also contain a purity percentage lower than the countries percent used to define what bullion is, most countries count 0.999+ purity as bullion. Some people count anything made of silver below bullion grade as junk silver. While it does have value this article focuses on junk silver coins.

The two most common percentages you’ll see for junk silver are 80% in Canada and 90% in the United States. The majority of the coins are dimes, quarters, half cents, and silver dollars. In Canada, all dimes, quarters, and half cents minted before 1967 contain 80% fine silver.

One exception to this is coins minted in Canada from 1908 to 1919. These dates contained 92.5% pure silver before being reduced to 80% in 1920. Canadian coins would be reduced one more time in 1968 to 50% before silver was completely removed the next year.

1932 Canadian Quarter

Why People Buy Junk Silver vs Bullion

Junk silver is a cost-effective way to buy fractional silver while avoiding the markup of fractional bullion. Fractional bullion is anything under one Troy ounce.

As fractional bullion gets smaller the mark-up typical goes up. When your buy junk silver you typically buy it at 1$ face value. This means you can get that in 10 dimes, 4 quarters, 2 half cents, or any other combination. While only paying a small mark up over spot plus tax. Another upside is these coins are easily recognizable in the same way a silver maple or silver eagle is.

This flexibility is what draws investors & stackers to junk silver. One downside if you live inside Canada is that junk silver requires you to pay GST/HST where bullion is exempt in Canada. This can be offset by cost averaging junk silver with pure bullion.

Collecting Canadian Junk Silver

Canadian coins like junk silver are a great place for people new to coin collecting. They contain silver and you can get your hands on coins without breaking the bank. They are less collected than their American counterparts. This makes rarer Canadian coins more affordable to the average collector.

The fact you can get a lot of the years fairly close to the spot means your collection has a greater potential for being a profitable investment as the silver price moves up over the coming decades.

You can collect dimes, quarters, half cents, and silver dollars. We suggested trying to collect the range of years from 1908 to 1967 due to the silver content. Older years such as 1935 and earlier usual come at a higher price point but remain fairly affordable.

NGC certified 1938 Canadian Quarter & Dime

Similar to any coin collection, you can start with lower-grade versions of coins and replace them with higher-quality versions later on. Below is a photo displaying a 1938 NGC certified dime and quarter. Both these coins currently (in 2021) have a value of around 50$ – 55$ Canadian.

Canadian Junk Silver for Sale

You can buy a random mixture of coins by purchasing our 1$ face value of our 80% silver. You will receive a randomized (based on what’s in stock) type of coins and years. This is the coin collecting equivalent to buying a trading card booster pack. It’s a great place to start for beginners. Any coins that have the same/repeat years can become part of your bullion stacks. These are mostly F to VF quality.

Published by Invest in History Co.

We specialize in high-quality gold and silver coins. Focusing on Middle East, Eastern European, and Ancient coins. We carry Roman, Greek, Parthian, Phoenician, Celtic, Byzantine, Russian, Jewish, Islamic, and many other culture's coins.

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