Silver has always been an incredibly smart investment because of the low stock price. Investors could easily stock up on coinage, bars, ETFs and futures without having to worry about the cost. A few hundred dollars of silver coins gives you a high enough volume to really make some profit. That is, when the stock price for silver swings up (as it does on a semi-regular basis due to shifts in industrial demand.
Much like buying rare gold coins, there does exist a selection of silver coinage that is worth far more than the simple material or face value. In particular, silver quarters represent a relatively precious collectible investment because of their growing scarcity, aesthetic, and consumer demand. These forces act together to push the value of silver quarters far above their material worth.
So what’s the story on silver quarters? And should you just go rummaging around the coin bins at second-hand markets to see if you spot some of these rarities?
Today, we know of American coin currency as being made of a mixture of compounds. Immihelp.com informs us that the American penny is a copper-plated zinc coin; the nickel and dime are both made of a copper and nickel blend; while the quarter is made of a different compound known as cupronickel. So these coins have less material value than the face value they hold as currency.
It was not always this way. Before 1965, the American quarter was made with 90% silver! That meant the value of a quarter in those days was actually around $3.50, far more than the measly $0.25 it represented as a currency. These quarters were only manufactured for circulation from 1932 to 1964, and have since gone on to be quite some collectors item. In particular, silver coinage produced from the Denver Mint are of more value than the rest. The most sought after years of Denver Mint manufacture are 1935, 1936 and 1940, mostly because of rarity.
In Canada, from 1870 through 1919, quarters were all made of sterling silver (92.5%). From 1920, they were made of coin grade silver (80%). As silver was being phased-out in 1968, some were made of only 50% silver.
While quarters tend to have higher mintages and generally less numismatic value than higher face-value coins, some Victorian quarters are quite collectible. For example, the 1875 quarter produced by the Heaton Mint in Birmingham can be worth upwards of USD 10,000!
The value of these quarters really depends on the make, the year (which determines how many were minted), the mint and the price of silver at the time of testing. A safe estimate is that if you find a silver coin from before 1965 it will probably be worth $3 in silver value alone, without the addition of consumer demand for the particular model.
Coins speculators have made the assertion that within each silver quarter is approximately 0.715 ounces of silver per dollar value. So, assuming you had USD $100 worth of silver coins from prior to 1965, you would be looking at this kind of calculation:
Though it might come as a surprise, one of the best places to look for this ‘junk silver’ is at flea markets. It is probably the easiest way to buy plenty of silver quarters for incredibly cheap.
Then, bring them home and begin sorting through to look for specially dated coins with anything unique about them. These features may be hard to spot but they certainly do make a difference in value.
.715 x Spot price of silver x face value of coin
Given a silver coin evaluation of, for example, USD $17.06, you would perform the following calculation:
.715 x 17.06 x 100 = $1,219
Check out your neighbours' sales for some of the best, cheapest, deals on silver.
One in a very rare while your bank ends up with old silver coins they might even sell you at spot.
In Your Pocket.
One great place to find silver quarters is in your pocket, so keep your eyes on your spare change.
Online Bullion Sales
Pay attention to dealers including Global Bullion when they have great sales on "junk silver." You can purchase junk silver in bulk as well (with assorted denominations such as dollars and half dollars) to bring down the overall premium cost. For example, if you buy a $20 Face Value Junk Silver Bag, the price you are paying for silver is higher per piece than if you buy a $50 Face Value Junk Silver bag.
The online marketplace has a great selection of old silver, sometimes below spot.
Local Markets & Shops.
Sometimes local markets and shops have fantastic deals on small amounts of old silver, including quarters.
If sorting through junk silver is not something you feel like doing for fun on weekends, you can always skip this step and purchase the rare silver coins from before 1965 from registered dealers instead.
The additional price you pay (in relation to the material content of silver) should not be much concern. That is, given that the silver stock is expected to rise over 2018 as industrial demand increases. So, you stand to make some profit if you decide to sell the coin later in the year!
These are the questions you need to ask your bullion dealer to make an informed purchase and make sure that precious metals are working for you.