Silver is a precious metal and its value has been rising in recent years. But there was once a time that silver was inexpensive enough that governments used silver to mint regular coinage that was used in everyday circulation. These coins now are high collectible, both as a precious metal investment and for numismatic value.
In the United States, the U.S. Mint produced coins that were composed partially of silver for circulation until 1970. The making of most silver coins was ceased in 1965, but the mint continued to produced half dollar coins that contained 40 percent silver through 1969. The pre-1965 dimes, quarters, and half dollars were composed of 90 percent silver. The mint also produced silver dollars throughout the 1800s and as late as 1934. These dollar coins are also composed of 90 percent silver and are very popular to collect.
Many other countries also minted silver coins as late as the 1950s and 1960s. Canadian dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollar coins through 1967 are composed of 80 percent silver. In the United Kingdom, silver coins produced before 1920 are considered sterling silver, as they are composed of 92.5 percent silver. The British coins that contain silver from 1920 to 1946 are 50 percent composed of silver.
Those who want to collect these coins for silver investment will often refer to the coins as “junk silver.” That is not an insult to the coin. It simply means that the person purchases the coins only for the metal value and not because they look nice.
Others who collect coins made of silver may do so for numismatic value. This means they seek out coins that are in very good condition and have certain dates or other distinguishing features. These people will often pay a premium over the silver value to collect a silver coin that has eye appeal.