Why Are Old Silver Coins Sold By Face Value?
bag of 90% silver coins
A question we often receive at Gainesville Coins is "Why do you sell 90% Silver U.S. Coins in bundles by face value?"
This is done because pre- 1965 coins were minted by the U.S. Mint on purpose so that a given amount of coins would add up to the same total silver content. No matter if you have dimes, quarters or half dollars, $1 will give you .7234 oz of silver content. Here are some examples:
Ten dimes (10 x .07234 oz) = $1 (.7234 oz)
Four quarters (4 x .18084 oz) = $1 (.7234 oz)
Five dimes and 1 half dollar = (5 x.07234) + (.36169) = $1 (.7234)
Note that this trick only works with silver half dollars, quarters and dimes. The U.S. Mint made the silver dollar with .7734 oz of silver content, because it was cheaper to make one coin than 2, 4, or 10 coins, in effect "passing the savings on to the customer" since we were on a gold standard at the time with the price of silver fixed to gold.
To account for wear on these circulated coins, Gainesville Coins understates the silver content per dollar a bit, assigning .715 oz per dollar of face value. This insures you get AT LEAST .715 oz of silver per dollar, even accounting for wear, and often slightly more. After all, it amounts to less than 1/100 of an ounce per dollar, and we want to give our customers the best value possible.