Coin collectors and bullion investors love to buy silver dollars — especially cheap silver dollars!
For years, I’ve been advising people on the best ways to buy silver coins at the lowest prices.
No matter what the silver bullion price is, there are several surefire strategies that virtually always work to help you score classic silver dollars at low prices — lower than the typical retail price at any given time.
I have regularly paid less than the retail silver dollar values using these strategies.
Hopefully, these budget coin collecting tips will help you buy silver dollars for less, too!
TIP: Be sure you know what you’re getting and that the price is cheap — but not too cheap. After all, there are plenty of too-good-to-be-true “deals” in the coin world, most of which end up being scams! Find out more about who you’re buying from, know how much silver coins are worth, and make sure they have good customer ratings and are selling authentic, unaltered coins.
#1 – Buy Cull Silver Dollars
When I was just getting into coin collecting in the 1990s as a teenager, I had little money to work with yet I had big dreams for my coin collection. I had to compromise here and there to get the coins I really wanted — and geez, did I want silver dollars!
My coin dealer introduced me to buying cull silver dollars.
Cull coins are those that have been cleaned, have damage, or are otherwise less than desirable in the eyes of many coin collectors.
Still, they fit the bill when I need to fill holes in my coin collection. And cull silver dollars are perfect for silver bullion investors who want to buy pre-1965 junk silver coins (such as old silver dollars) for the cheapest possible price.
Be sure to ask your coin dealer if they have any cull silver dollars available. If there isn’t a coin dealer near you, don’t forget that eBay is a great source to buy silver dollars for cheap.
#2 – Buy Rolls Or Bags Of Silver Dollars
You’ve probably seen the advertisements for rolls of silver dollars or bags of silver dollars.
These are usually deals involving bulk quantities of 90% silver coins.
Like most things, even coins are usually cheaper when they’re bought in bulk — versus in smaller quantities, or individually.
Many coin dealers offer 20-coin roll packages such as the following:
- 1 roll of 1878-1904 circulated uncirculated Morgan silver dollars, 20 different dates
- 1 roll of 1921 circulated or uncirculated Morgan dollars, all mintmarks (Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco)
- 1 roll of 1878-1921 Morgan dollars, 20 different dates
- 1 roll of Peace dollars from a certain year (usually 1922, 1923, 1924, or 1925)
- 1 roll of Morgan dollars and Peace dollars, 20 different dates
Depending on the quality of the coins or the dates offered, 20-coin rolls are usually the best way to go for buying cheap silver dollars without blowing a huge chunk of change at once.
Because the number of coins is limited to just 20, it’s possible to acquire a roll of circulated Morgan dollars or Peace dollars for less than $500 when silver prices are under $20 per ounce.
Bag quantities of Morgan and Peace dollars usually cost more overall than rolls since they typically contain more than 20 coins, but they generally offer cheaper prices per coin than even the rolls. Bags of Morgan and/or Peace dollars may range from 100 to 1,000 pieces or more.
I’ve seen 1,000-coin bags of silver dollars sell for between $18,000 to $25,000 when silver is about $18 to $20 per ounce and the coins within are typical, circulated examples without any damage.
#3 – Buy Random-Date Silver Dollars
But if your goal is simply to buy silver dollars without regard to date or mintmark, then this tip is for you.
Random-date silver dollars are perfect for:
- Collectors who want the thrill of the hunt of looking for just the right silver dollars for their collections
- Silver bullion investors who don’t really care about the dates of their coins
- Vest pocket coin dealers who need some inventory to sell
The best thing about buying random-date silver dollar lots: The silver dollars are usually much cheaper than those sold in lots of coins from specific dates.
Random-date silver dollars are usually offered by mail-order, on the Internet, and from eBay coin dealers.
They’re also available at many bricks-and-mortar coin dealers in the form of silver dollars mixed in with one another inside a bin or bucket where every coin is labeled for the same price. Sort of those “You Pick Silver Dollars – $19.95 Each”-type deals.
#4 -Buy Silver Dollars From Estate Sales & Yard Sales
I advise this tip with one ethical caveat: don’t take advantage of the innocent.
OK, let’s proceed. How many times do you drive through your neighborhood and see “Yard Sale” signs? Probably just about every Saturday on weekends where the weather is fair.
How many times do you think you’ve just driven by a yard sale where you might find an entire coin collection or bunch of old coins? If we’re talking about yard sales offered by older individuals in fairly affluent neighborhoods, the answer is probably “all the time.”
In many cases, those holding yard sales probably have no idea as to the value of the coins they’re selling.
I know this because I’ve helped plenty of folks here through The Fun Times Guide, as well as friends and clients who have coins but say they have no clue what their coins are worth.
Of course, if you do stop by a yard sale and find coins that you’re interested in buying, I suggest you be fair.
Take, for example, happening upon an elderly woman who is selling her deceased husband’s silver dollar collection — which just so happens to contain an authentic 1889-CC Morgan dollar. The price tag is $10 per coin. Yes, $10 per coin — even the 1889-CC Morgan dollar. (This actually happens, by the way.)
I’d hope your conscience would kick in, even though you could potentially buy the most valuable silver dollars for an unheard of low price.
Let her know the coin is worth much more than $10. And then proceed to offer a higher price — perhaps dealer bid. It’s fair for the seller, and fair for you. You’ve just committed a random act of kindness and bought a rare coin at a terrific deal!
Yes, ethics in coin collecting is an important topic, but it’s one I’ll have to continue discussing on another day.
For now, I wish you the best as you buy silver dollars for your collection! Of course, these same tips can be used when buying any types of old or rare coins at bargain prices — not just silver dollars.
Good luck, and happy collecting!
More Tips Before You Buy Silver Dollars
- The Value Of Popular U.S. Silver Coins
- 5 Best Places To Buy Silver Morgan Dollars
- The Top 10 Cheap Coins (…Including Silver Dollars)
- How To Buy Coins At Discounted Prices When You’re On A Budget
- 6 Ways To Buy American Silver Eagle Dollar Coins At Cheap Prices
- 10 Cheap & Famous Coins You’ll Want For Your Coin Collection
My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I'm a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I'm also the editor at CDN Publishing (a trusted source for the price of U.S. rare coins), editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I've contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I've also authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins — and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!