Check Your Change: You Might Strike Silver
Did you know that you can still find U.S. silver coins in circulation? Long before the U.S. Mint began offering the American Silver Eagle, it actually produced 90% silver coins for regular commercial use. These types of coins circulated as change for more than 150 years in America; it may be hard to imagine, but prior to 1965, the dimes, quarters, and half dollars that people used as common money were actually made of silver!
Silver coins once formed the basis for the country's money supply. While gold coins were only used for extremely large payments and often sat in bank vaults, it was silver that functioned as the "Money of the People." Everyday transactions could always be settled in silver.
Even in the case of large-scale exchanges, silver was frequently used. When Britain needed an enormous loan from the U.S. at the end of WWI, it was paid by melting hundreds of millions of Morgan silver dollars. Britain then used the loan to pay their colonial subjects in India, who would only accept silver coins.
The public's desire for silver has remained strong even after the government stopped producing 90% silver coins for circulation. During the 1970s, shortly after the change to copper-nickel clad coinage, privately minted silver rounds became a popular form of investment for average Americans who still wanted to store their wealth in the form of silver bullion.
This handy infographic shows how to easily check your change at a glance for 90% silver coins that were minted before 1965. It also covers the more tricky 40% silver dollars and half dollars that were minted from 1965 to 1970, as well as the 35% silver "War Nickels" made during WWII.
Be sure to check your pockets, you might just strike silver!