Silver coins are a great way to prepare for a survival situation. Whether that's due to runaway inflation, an economic crisis, or a social collapse, having a cache of silver coins on hand is imperative to protect your financial future.

This simple guide will walk you through the best kinds of silver coins for survival and preparedness.

Best Types of Silver Coins for Survival: Junk Silver and Modern Bullion

The two main kinds of survival silver coins are old "junk silver" coins and modern silver bullion coins. Unlike paper currencies or certain paper investments, these silver coins are tangible assets and tend not to lose purchasing power over time.

1. Junk Silver Coins

Junk silver refers to silver coins made before 1965 that were used as money in the past. They are often very worn down, but their composition is always 90% pure silver or lower. Junk silver refers to worn, lower-quality coins. The label generally doesn't apply to numismatic coins (collectible coins).

Examples of 90% silver coins from the United States Mint include:

  • Morgan silver dollars and Peace silver dollars
  • Franklin half dollars and Walking Liberty half dollars
  • Washington quarters minted before 1965
  • Mercury dimes and Barber dimes
budget silver

Junk silver coins from countries around the world.

Silver quarters, silver dimes, and the like are no longer used in the today's banking systems. But because of their silver content, these coins are worth much more than their face value as fiat currency.

2. Modern Silver Bullion Coins

Modern bullion coins, on the other hand, are made each year specifically for investors. These coins will be 99.9% pure (also called .999 fine silver) or higher. You won't find them in pocket change!

Some of the most popular modern bullion coins are:

  • American Silver Eagles
  • Canadian Silver Maple Leafs
  • Mexican Silver Libertads
  • Austrian Silver Philharmonics
  • Chinese Silver Pandas

Aside from their age and purity, there are a few more differences between these two silver investment options. The main distinction is a trade-off between cost and liquidity.

Modern bullion coins come with a premium—meaning you will pay slightly more for them. However, modern bullion is generally easier to sell (or exchange) for full price down the road. They are easily recognizable and their weight and purity is clearly displayed on the coin's design.

Junk silver, on the other hand, may not be readily recognized or accepted by someone unfamiliar with these coins' history. The benefit is that you can usually find junk silver coins at a lower price per ounce of silver.

Both options offer useful inflation hedges during economic downturns. Their collector value as numismatic collectibles is virtually zero. But in the worst-case scenario of an economic collapse, inflation and currency collapse, or some other financial meltdown, silver coins retain their intrinsic value thanks to their metal content.

You can follow the links below to shop for survival silver coins.

90% Junk Silver Coins For Sale

Modern Silver Bullion Coins For Sale

Silver Coins vs. Other Forms of Silver Bullion

Silver coins are not the only type of silver bullion you can invest in. Bullion also comes in other forms, such as rounds and bars.

Silver rounds are similar in appearance to coins, but have no legal tender value. They are privately minted rather than issued by a government. Rounds come in a wide variety of designs, from vintage themes to brand new works of art.

Silver bars are probably more familiar to most investors. These are the “bricks” of silver that you might see stacked up in a bank vault. They have wide availability and are usually valued closer to <a href="/charts/silver-spot-price target="_blank">silver spot prices.

asahi bars

100 oz silver bars from multinational refiner Asahi.

From a preparedness perspective, what difference does it make if a survivalist stacks silver bullion in the form of coins, rounds, or bars? After all, isn't it all silver anyway?

You will have to consider the other party in a hypothetical transaction to answer this question. Depending on the circumstances and their preferences, one form of silver may offer greater benefits than the others.

In general, coins are the most trusted type of silver in the marketplace. This gives you the most flexibility when negotiating a barter exchange.

Rounds and bars are usually cheaper than coins of the same weight. It's much easier to barter in increments of one troy ounce with rounds or coins than with bulk-size silver bars.

Silver bars may be better suited for very large transactions because they often come in larger sizes. Meanwhile, large bars are also useful and space-efficient if you plan on leaving some silver in storage. It's worth noting that any form of gold can fulfill a similar role: gold bullion is great for long-term savings and large transactions, but is less useful for small, everyday trades.

The bottom line is that these different forms of silver can serve different purposes in a survival situation, such as savings vs. spending.

The links below will let you shop for silver bars and silver rounds at your convenience.

Silver Bars For Sale

Silver Rounds For Sale

How Much Silver Will You Need to Survive?

Securing and stockpiling an adequate amount of canned food and supplies is a key consideration for all survivalists. But how do you know when enough is enough?

ase gallery eaglesonhand

Having silver bullion on hand is very useful in any preparedness scenario.

From a practical standpoint, the amount of silver you will need depends on what other assets or barter items you will have. Are you homesteading or farming? Or will you be more nomadic? In the latter case, you will need more silver to trade for the supplies you need.

If you are growing crops or raising livestock, you won't need to barter as much for necessities. You will also have more valuable commodities aside from silver survival coins with which to barter. Of course, one of the advantages of silver is that it doesn't spoil or degrade, so you can stockpile the precious metal indefinitely.

Whatever survival plan you choose, the mere act of prepping for an uncertain future is an extremely wise decision. It can save you and your family from hardship, poverty, or worse. Without a doubt, stacking silver bullion should be a key part of your plan.

Having a mix of coins, bars, and rounds may be the ideal option for surviving an economic doomsday scenario. Stick to the advice in this guide and you'll get the most out of your investment in silver.


More silver and gold buying guides from the experts at Gainesville Coins:

How to Buy Gold in Monthly Installments (Avoid Subscription Services)

How to Invest in Precious Metals Like a Pro

The 3 Best Ways to Buy Gold

The Best Types of Gold to Buy

6 Gold Buying Mistakes to Avoid

The Best Place to Buy Gold: Key Factors & Options

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Everett Millman

Everett Millman

Managing Editor | Analyst, Commodities and Finance

Everett has been the head content writer and market analyst at Gainesville Coins since 2013. He has a background in History and is deeply interested in how gold and silver have historically fit into the financial system.

In addition to blogging, Everett's work has been featured in Reuters, CNN Business, Bloomberg Radio, TD Ameritrade Network, CoinWeek, and has been referenced by the Washington Post.