Is it illegal to melt or deface silver coins?
Depending on the country, some silver coins are illegal to melt. For the purposes of this article, I will be focusing on the legality of melting coins in both the United States and Canada. If this topic is of interest to you, please keep reading...
Melting coins in Canada
The Currency Act and The Canadian Criminal Code clearly state that no individual shall melt down, break up or use otherwise than as currency any coin that is legal tender in Canada. Thus, melting silver coins that have legal tender in Canada is illegal. However, if the coin is exported, the Canadian government has no jurisdiction over your actions in the United States. Therefore, although melting silver coins in Canada is illegal, there are ways around it and of course, it does happen. For a list of Canadian coin melt values, click here.
Melting coins and the United States of America
It is legal to melt silver or gold coins in the US. The reason behind this decision is most likely to do with there not being any silver or gold coins in circulation. Therefore melting them would have no effect on day-to-day transactions. For a list of melt values on U.S silver coin - click here. It is however, illegal to melt pennies and nickels in the United States. This was originally a temporary regulation which came into effect in 2007 for 5 months, but the legislation remains until present time. Additionally, it is illegal to carry more than five dollars worth of pennies and nickels outside of the United States when travelling.
Post Melt - What is left in Silver Coins?
Generally speaking, the value of a coin is based on how many were actually produced. However, the value of silver US coins may hinge to a greater extent on how many were lost. Most melting took place in 1979 and 1980 when silver bullion soared to an all-time high of $50 per ounce. The idea is that no one can tell exactly how many silver coins were either properly collected or melted.
The real question is why would you want to melt your silver coin?
Typically, bullion retains more value as a minted coin. This is because the coin mintage can indicate more than just its rarity but more the numismatic value.
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