Silver is a versatile natural material used in everything from jewelry to mirrors, electronics, solar technology, and coins.
In October 2023, the current price of silver is $21.38 per troy ounce. Although silver has decreased in value recently, the latest long-term forecasts predict that its price will increase to $24.52 by the end of 2023.
Silver coin values are highly impacted by the fluctuating price of silver. But there are many other factors you must take into consideration as well when determining the value of silver coins.
To learn about silver coin values, keep reading this informative guide below to discover more helpful insights.
One of the best ways to determine silver coin values is by examining a coin’s metal content. Since silver prices fluctuate, the value of silver coins also fluctuates to reflect these changes.
Silver’s fineness refers to its purity. The purest silver has a fineness of .999 or a purity of 99.9%. This is the highest quality silver available.
Referring to silver coin values, the higher the silver fineness, the higher the value will be. For example, American Silver Eagle coins have a face value of $1 USD. They contain .999 fine silver bullion and are government-issued silver coins.
American Silver Eagles are the most popular silver coins to buy for investing because they often sell at slightly higher premiums.
Pure Silver Coin Alternatives
Pure silver coins are your best bet for the highest silver coin values. However, there are some alternatives you may want to consider if you’re looking into buying silver that has a friendlier price point. There are many varieties of silver coins valued purely for their silver content.
For instance, junk silver coins are coins that were minted before 1965. They were in heavy circulation so they may have extensive wear. However, because they are 90% pure silver, they will yield between 715 to 720 ounces of silver when smelted down.
Franklin Half Dollars also have a 90% pure silver content. A bag of 2,000 coins will yield 718-720 ounces of silver when smelted down.
A troy ounce is a standard unit of weight measurement for precious metals like gold and silver coins. If you’re not sure if your silver coin is pure silver, you can weigh it to verify its legitimacy.
One troy ounce is equal to 31.1034768 grams. It also takes 12 troy ounces to equal one pound in weight. If you weigh your coin and it comes in at just slightly over 31 grams, this is a good sign that you have a genuine silver coin.
You can also use the weight of your silver coin to help calculate spot prices of silver. Spot prices refer to the price silver is currently trading. Simply multiply the weight of your coin against the current spot price to determine your silver coin value.
Silver Coin Condition
The wear and tear on a silver coin doesn’t just affect its appearance, it can also affect its value. A coin that is in good condition will often have a higher value. This is because it’s considered to be Mint or Near Mint and will have very little wear.
Collective silver coins are those that are minted specifically to be collector’s pieces. They are minted through private mints and their coins do not count as legal tender. These silver coins are also not circulated.
When determining silver coin values, it is important that you understand the differences in condition between circulated and uncirculated coins.
Silver Coin Grading
Grading coins is vital for both collectors and investors. Professional grading offers a standardized way to determine silver coin values. It assesses aspects like the condition and visual appeal of silver coins.
The Sheldon Coin Grading Scale grades coins on a scale of 1-70 from Poor (P-1) to Perfect Mint State (MS-70). The higher the number, the more valuable and more perfect it is.
A 70 is considered absolutely perfect and flawless. There are no imperfections, no fine scratches, and no hairlines or dents. Certified, proof, and uncirculated silver coins are the ones that are most likely to receive a grading.
A silver coin graded at 50 (AU-50) has the title of Uncirculated/Almost Uncirculated. It will have traces of wear at the highest points of the coin, but at least half of the original mint luster remains.
Certified silver coins are also evaluated and graded for their condition by a third-party grading service, like Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). It uses the same grading scale as the Sheldon Grading Scale. For coin experts and collectors, it is often worth it to have the grading certification done by trained experts.
Numismatic vs. Bullion Silver Coin Values
Silver coin values can also vary based on whether you’re considering their bullion values or numismatic values.
Silver bullion on its own has its value connected to the price of silver and its weight, purity, and overall metal value. It can also depend on its intrinsic collector value and prospective metal investor demand.
Numismatic value refers to the value of a silver coin based on several factors like its condition and its appeal to potential collectors. It could also include elements like historical significance and rarity.
Silver coins like the American Silver Eagle have both numismatic and bullion values. Their recognizable design is highly appealing to collectors. They also have a specific amount of pure silver which makes them ideal for silver investors.
Silver coins that are linked to particular events may have more value associated with them. This is because special events may only have a limited number of coins released in conjunction with this event.
Special anniversaries or events, like The Olympics, are often highly sought after. They can come with limited edition designs and features. This can make them more valuable commodities for collectors looking to own a piece of history.
Coins featuring historical figures like monarchs and presidents. Silver coins featuring a historical figure who has recently passed away may skyrocket in price because of those who want to commemorate the passing. These coins could also increase in value as certain anniversaries or time periods become relevant again.
Mint marks can determine the locations of the mints responsible for minting the coins. They can also denote the years that these coins were minted since some mint marks are only used for a certain period of time.
For example, a silver coin with a “W” mint mark on it signifies that it is from the West Point Mint. This is prevalent on silver coins like the Walking Liberty Half Dollars.
A “D” mint mark referred to the Dahlonega Mint in Georgia between 1838 and 1861. But from 1906 to the present day, it is used to denote the Denver Mint in Colorado.
Some mint marks may be more scarce than others because of limited minting periods. This can drive up the price with certain collectors and increase silver coin values. There are also those who may be seeking out coins with every possible mint marking or collectors who want to complete a whole series.
Silver Coin Errors
While it is common that silver coin values can increase based on the purity and pristine conditions of coins, there are also some coin errors that can be worth a pretty penny as well.
Errors on silver coins can make them even more rare and elusive to find. This is because only a few dozen or fewer of these coins may be minted before the error is discovered.
For example, silver coins with misplaced or double mint marks will make that coin an oddity. But instead of throwing it away, junking it, or melting it down, coin collectors will now see it as an even more unique collection piece.
Other variations of coin errors could include improper dates, misprinted coin images, and misspellings. The ultimate silver coin value will vary based on the number of these error coins and the demand for them.
Market Trends and Demand
Just as silver’s value can rise based on demand, so can the demand of coin collectors. Coin collectors may change their collecting habits on a dime and vacillate between different silver coin collecting patterns. This could be due to anything from design and theme preferences to internet trends.
Market speculation can drive individuals to buy silver coins if there is a hunch that the price may substantially increase in the coming months. Silver coins with smaller mintage numbers may increase in value due to their short mint run.
With social media becoming a predominant force, there is also the likelihood that an influencer or celebrity could have a hand in increasing silver coin values in some way. You must always be prepared for a market that can easily fluctuate in price and demand.
Explore More on Silver Coins and Buy Silver at CMI Gold and Silver Today
Silver coins make a great investment, whether you’re a collector or someone looking to diversify your investment portfolio. Silver coin values have a lot of different facets involved. Now that you understand these areas a little bit better, you can make the most informed choices for buying silver.
CMI Gold and Silver can help you with the investment process as well. Sign up for our informative newsletter and receive special offers, daily spot prices, and precious metals industry articles of interest.
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