Where to Buy Junk Silver

Posted - June 9, 2023
Where to Buy Junk Silver

For generations, junk silver coins have been an excellent way for new investors to put their money on silver without breaking the bank with high premiums and hidden costs. Because American coins minted before 1964 used .90 fine silver bullion, they can offer a relatively high silver content but little numismatic value. The result is an abnormally cheap way to invest in pure silver content. 

New collectors often ask us about where to buy junk silver. When you’re looking for a place to purchase pure junk silver coins, the process can be confusing and overly complicated. Today, we’ve got you covered with a guide on where to buy junk silver safely. 

Understanding Junk Silver

What is junk silver? Before you figure out where to buy junk silver from reputable dealers, you should understand what counts as junk silver. 

Identifying Different Denominations and Years

Generally, junk silver refers to any circulated coin minted by the U.S. Mint before the year 1964. This specific year is important in the history of American coinage because it was the last year that the national mint circulated coins using .90 pure silver. Contemporary coins, including the silver quarter, dime, and nickel, don’t actually use any actual silver, making them relatively useless to investors who want to invest in the precious metal directly. 

You’ll need to learn to identify the year and denomination of different junk silver coins before you can figure out where to buy junk silver for the best price. The process is pretty easy; look for a year, mint mark, and denomination to identify the type and variation of coin you’ve found. 

Factors Influencing Junk Silver Prices

Junk silver prices are largely dependent on the spot price of silver. Because of their high silver content and minimal numismatic value, junk silver coins should go for around their price in silver. This isn’t always the case, however. When you decide where to buy junk silver for your collection, you’ll notice that certain coins are selling for quite a bit more than their pure silver melt content. These are generally rare coins from low-mintage years in exceptional condition. 

But for most junk silver coins, expect to pay around the spot price of silver. If silver is hitting a high, junk silver is worth more money. Periods of low silver value result in extremely cheap junk silver coins, which is great for investors who want to buy low and sell high. 

Popular Places to Buy Junk Silver

Finally, the answer to today’s big question! If you’re wondering where to buy junk silver, check out some of the options we’ll explain below. Each one comes with its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential that smart investors weigh their options before deciding on where to buy junk silver for their portfolios. 

Local Coin Shops (LCS)

Local coin shops are an easy place to buy junk silver. They’re extremely convenient and might allow you to avoid costly shipping fees. It’s also true that local shops allow you to physically hold and examine your coin(s) before purchase, and many old-school collectors like to do their precious metals business in person instead of over the internet. However, investors who want to know where to buy junk silver for the fairest prices might want to explore other options. Some local coin shops might mark their coins up significantly, which offsets the shipping savings that this method provides. 

Online Precious Metals Dealers

Online dealers like Hero Bullion are an excellent choice for investors who want to save money using a convenient purchasing process. Dealers offer a much larger variety of junk silver coins for you to choose from, which is fantastic for investors who want to diversify their junk silver collection using multiple different types of coins. Not all junk silver is created equal; shopping online allows you to choose the year, denomination, and condition of your coin without having to worry about personally examining each piece. 

When new investors ask us where to buy junk silver, our first choice is usually online precious metal dealers. The wide variety of available products, the 24/7 access online retailers provide, and the convenience of modern online transactions makes online dealers an excellent choice for new investors looking to spend some money on quality junk silver coins. 

Auctions and Estate Sales

If you’re smart and do the right research, buying rare junk silver coins at an auction or estate sale is a uniquely profitable way to invest. It isn’t a common answer to the question of “where to buy junk silver,” but some estate sales might be run by banks willing to liquidate large silver collections at a discount. Investors who find the right auction site or the perfect new estate sale might profit considerably from buying silver this way. 

Factors to Consider When Buying Junk Silver

Even after you know the type of junk silver you want to buy, where to buy junk silver isn’t your only concern. Consider the following factors before buying your first junk silver pieces. 

Pricing and Premiums 

Most junk silver coins shouldn’t come with a major premium. In fact, this is one of the big reasons why investors love buying silver using junk silver, also known as constitutional silver. Coins might sometimes come with additional premiums, but you should expect to pay as close to spot as possible for junk silver coins. When a coin is especially rare or comes from a unique historical time period, it might require a higher premium than commonly circulated coins. 

Spot Price Vs. Premiums

The spot price of silver is the main determining factor in its total value. Spot price refers to the current value of silver, and smart investors pay close attention to silver’s price over time. Junk silver comes at a low premium, meaning that it is generally bought and sold purely for its melt value in silver content. 

Premiums are added to most silver products. Some premiums are added to the top of a piece’s silver content to account for volatility in the market, but other coins are sold at premium because of numismatic and collectible value. Junk silver has little collectable value most of the time, so premiums are low.

Calculating Total Costs

Reputable dealers will always include the total cost of an item on their product page. But if you’re confused about the total cost of a junk silver coin, make sure to add any applicable premium to the spot price of the silver content of the piece. To determine your junk silver coin’s melt value, figure out the amount of silver in a coin in troy ounces and then multiply this value by the spot price of silver.

When you decide where to buy junk silver for your growing investment portfolio, try to do business only with companies who are honest and up-front about the price of their silver products. 

US Mint Junk 90% Silver Quarters

Condition and Wear

Alongside rarity, coin condition is one of the main factors that help to determine the total cost of a junk silver coin. We’ll explain below some of the main things investors should know about where to buy junk silver in excellent condition. 

Understanding Grading Systems

Most dealers use a unified coin grading system to determine the condition of coins. The best condition for a silver coin is Brilliant Uncirculated (BU), while the worst is Basal State (PO). Where a junk silver coin falls on this gradient should help you identify its value, particularly where premiums are concerned. “Where to buy junk silver” is partially answered when you figure out the condition of the junk silver you’d like to purchase. 

Evaluating the Condition of Junk Silver Coins 

To evaluate condition, look for marks, scuffs, or other signs of damage on the exterior of the junk silver coin. Reputable dealers to buy junk silver from are going to provide customers with a clear idea of the condition of each coin they sell. Some silver dealers sell large packs of junk silver with varying conditions, while others offer single coins in near-perfect circulated condition. If your coin is especially rare and numismatically valuable, consider consulting a professional grading agency to certify its condition and value. 

Packaging and Storing 

Keeping your coins in a cool, dry place away from potential damaging conditions is a good way to keep them from depreciating in numismatic value. 

Options for Safe Storage

A home safe should be your go-to for small junk silver collections. Even if you already know where to buy junk silver, many investors fail to follow through with a clear plan for safe storage, and this can be disastrous for the long-term value and appreciation of their investments over time. If your collection grows in value, we’d recommend investing in a larger storage option, such as a personal vault or a shared vault at a mint. .

Protecting Your Investment 

Protect your junk silver investment by regularly examining the coins for signs of damage. Coins that are especially expensive should also be stored in individual pouches or capsules to make sure they don’t rub up against one another and become damaged. When you move your coins, be sure to keep them in these protective containers to avoid additional damage. Investing in junk silver isn’t just a matter of where to buy junk silver cheap; it’s a long commitment to keeping your investment safe from theft, damage, or depreciation. 

Tips for Buying Junk Silver

If you’re still confused about where to buy junk silver, there are a few things you can do to secure peace of mind throughout the entire investment process. 

Research and Education 

Always research extensively about where to buy junk silver before making your decision. Examining several different options is a good way to make sure you aren’t buying from a company with high premiums or a scummy seller. Junk silver might also not be the very best choice for your growing investment portfolio. Consider looking into other types of silver coins before pulling the trigger on a new shipment of .90 junk silver.  

Understanding Market Trends

Unlike some traditional markets, silver’s price trends can be volatile at times. You’ll want to research the spot price of silver over time to make sure that you’re investing at a low point in the precious metal market. Buy low, and sell high – that’s all there is to it! Reading expert opinions about the price trends of silver bullion can help you make the most of your investment strategy.  

Learning About Counterfeits

The old coins we call junk silver were minted at a time before the U.S. Mint put into place some of its more effective anti-counterfeiting technologies. Intelligent investors should be able to verify the authenticity of their silver coins. This is one reason why it’s so important for investors to carefully research where to buy junk silver before making their first purchase. Companies who don’t have good track-records of authenticity should be avoided. Research how to spot a counterfeit junk silver coin before buying your first stack. 

Building Relationships

Just like in the business world, being able to know where to buy junk silver involves networking with other investors and companies.

Networking with Other Collectors

Always try to make friends with other collectors, especially investors with extensive experience collecting, buying, and selling junk silver coins. These investors may have better insights than you about where to buy junk silver, and smart collectors make use of the experience of their peers to make more sound investment decisions. 

Developing Connections with Coin Dealers

It’s hard to reliably know where to buy junk silver unless you’re taking advantage of the small world of precious metals dealers. Establishing ongoing relationships with investment companies and coin dealers helps you to get the best prices possible. Signing up for email groups with prominent precious metals dealers keeps you in the loop on the latest developments in the price and value of junk silver coins. 

Diversifying Your Collection 

Even if you’re a huge fan of .90 junk silver, it’s important to maintain a philosophy of diversity when building your investment portfolio. 

Exploring Different Denominations

Within the world of junk silver, investing in different denominations can increase the liquidity and diversity of your portfolio. Dimes, quarters, half-dollars, and dollar coins were all minted using .90 junk silver throughout the history of the U.S. Mint. Different denominations might also have varying numismatic values, so picking up different denominations when you decide where to buy junk silver can help keep your portfolio diverse and profitable. 

where to buy junk silver

Considering Unique Varieties

Exceptionally rare junk silver coins can be very valuable. Some junk silver coins sell for thousands of dollars at auction. Investors interested in where to buy junk silver that is numismatically valuable should consider the wider variety of products available from large online retailers. This is also a good way to keep your collection diversified – including numismatically valuable coins means that your portfolio might retain value during silver’s occasionally volatile price declines. 

Final Thoughts: Where to Buy Junk Silver

We’ve had quite a few readers ask us where to buy junk silver. When it comes to your financial future, you don’t want to leave your investment’s profitability in the hands of unfair silver dealers. Make sure to do all the research necessary to secure the value of your collection for decades down the line. 

If you come up with any questions we didn’t answer in this guide, the Hero Bullion customer service team is happy to answer any questions you might have. 

About The Author

Michael Roets is a writer and journalist for Hero Bullion. His work explores precious metals news, guides, and commentary.