Should You Buy Silver Dollars As An Investment? One Coin Expert’s Advice

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Silver Dollars

Are silver dollars a good investment?

That’s a question many people ask me — especially when silver bullion prices go up or down dramatically.

If you’re a regular follower of The Fun Times Guide to Coins and keep track of the advice I give our readers, you may notice that I usually post a friendly little disclaimer about investing in coins.

Before Investing In Silver Dollars…

What I tell all of our readers about coin investing is:

  1. Nobody can really predict where the coin market is going.
  2. Silver coin prices tend to go up and down with great frequency.

The prices of many rare U.S. coins go up. Some rare coin values have also dropped in recent years.

So, there’s no such thing as a “surefire” investment when it comes to coins. In other words, don’t buy tons of silver dollars and expect that they’re going to fund your child through college or help you retire in 5 years.

But, if you’d like to buy a bunch of silver dollars because silver prices dropped and became more affordable, or because silver bullion values are going up and you want to get in on the game before they’re too expensive for your budget, then by all means go for it.

How Silver Prices Affect The Value Of Silver Dollars

You might be wondering what effects silver prices have on silver dollars.

Sure, it probably makes sense that the higher silver prices go, so, too, will the price of silver dollars follow.

Indeed, this is partly true. However, it’s not always the case.

You see, most silver dollars have numismatic value — which means they’re worth something because of their rarity, historical significance, or another intangible reason.

In some cases, the numismatic value of a silver dollar might be so high that bullion prices have virtually no impact on the overall value of a given silver dollar.

A great example of this is the 1895 Morgan silver dollar.


As of this writing, it’s worth $20,000 in a grade of Good-4. So, as you’d probably guess, the value of this coin isn’t based on the fact that silver is worth about $14 an ounce right now. 1895 silver dollars are so rare, that it’s hard to believe the mere price of silver could ever really affect the value of an 1895 silver dollar. Unless silver prices zoom north to, oh, say, $20,000 an ounce, give or take. Impossible? No. But definitely implausible.

Another example is the 1921 Morgan dollar.

Right now, it’s worth about $30 in a grade of Extremely Fine-40. But, when silver prices were hovering around $50 an ounce in April 2011, that same Morgan dollar also had a value of nearly $50. In other words, as bullion prices increased, the relative numismatic value became lower as silver prices edged upward. This is usually the case with all common silver coins, or what some may call junk coins.

You’re probably asking at this point how much silver is in a silver dollar.

A standard 90% silver dollars contain 0.77 ounces of silver.

So, there’s a lot of silver in a silver dollar, and that’s why common silver dollars, like the 1921 Morgan dollar, tend to react to the fluctuations in silver bullion prices.

So, Should You Buy Silver Dollars Now Or Wait?

Only you can decide when the time is right for you to buy silver dollars.

While I’m writing this article at a point when silver prices are on a downward trend, by the time you read this, silver bullion values might be heading back up.

A single piece of advice I feel safe in providing is that if you’re looking to buy coins for investment, certainly buy when prices are at their lowest and sell when they’re at their highest.

Of course, knowing when the low points and high points are may be better answered by a Magic 8 Ball than by any amount of prognosticating I or anybody else may do.

Remember all those analysts who once swore gold would soon hit $5,000 an ounce?

Well, gold prices might still reach that threshold someday, but it certainly doesn’t look that way at this moment — with gold poised to drop below $1,000 for the first time in several years. Who knows?

What we do know is this. You need to invest when the time feels right for you.

Keep this in mind: silver dollar values are higher now than they were in the 1950s and 1960s, and rare coins across the board have generally increased in value over the past few decades, too.

This doesn’t mean that all silver dollars, or all rare coins, are sound investments over the course of 5, 10, or even 15 years. But, over the span of decades, coins tend to improve in value — with very few exceptions.

So, if you’re looking to buy coins because you enjoy them and you intend to hang onto them for the long haul, there’s a chance you might make a profit when the time comes that you decide to sell your coins. But remember — the profit might not be as large as your wildest dreams fancifully envision.

In other words, don’t buy coins solely for the sake of investment (and certainly not for overnight windfalls of cash). And be wary of anyone who tells you that a certain coin is a guaranteed investment. In the world of coins, there’s no such thing as a “guaranteed investment.”

Enjoy coins for their art, their history, and the lessons they can teach us about our nation’s colorful story.

Even when it comes to silver dollars, “eating the cake” is enjoying these classic, large silver coins for their beauty and history. Any profit you make is simply the delicious icing. The chocolate buttercream icing, I might add.

Now I’m hungry for cake…

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12 thoughts on “Should You Buy Silver Dollars As An Investment? One Coin Expert’s Advice”

  1. The price of some silver dollars won’t go up much in value. I prefer silver bullion. The silver content is by all means highest in bullion,and the return higher. Even if the price goes down, it’s still better than common dollars.

      • It’s .999 pure silver. You can look it up on ebay or anywhere for that matter, by searching silver bars or rounds. The later is usually 1oz and the bars can be anywhere from an ounce to a kilo and beyond. Hope this helps.

      • Hi, Jana —

        In the sense used in these coin articles, bullion is a reference to the precious metals that are used to make coins — principally the metals gold and silver. Bullion coins are made expressly for the purpose of providing investors with a way to store silver and gold in coin form; these coins aren’t really worth much more than the silver within them, though there exceptions (such as older American Silver Eagle silver bullion coins that are relatively scarce these days).

        Other coins that have collector value, such as old 90 percent silver coins and pre-1933 gold coins are also prized by bullion investors who like buying such coins for their precious metal content.

        I hope this helps clarify things a bit. Please let me know if you would like a further explanation on what bullion is and I’ll be glad to shed more light on the matter!

        Thank you for your question!

    • Hi, Jana —

      A worn 1922 Peace silver dollar is worth $15 to $17 given present silver values.


  2. Hey Josh I have a silver Morgan. 1879 mint cc? & world trade dollar internationaltrade era the metallic histology money on back? Any info

    • Hi, Jana!

      Your 1879-CC Morgan dollar is worth at least $130 to $150 and possibly much more based on its condition and whether or not it is in government packaging from the 1970s era, when hundreds of thousands of Carson City dollars were found in a hoard and sold to the public. As for your World Trade Center piece, I would need to please see a photo of it to provide more information. If you wouldn’t mind uploading a photo of both coins here in the forum I would gladly provide you with more details about them!

      Thank you for your question,

  3. Hey josh i have a 1961 Lincoln cent where the letters in god we trust are touching the rim.. Is that a valuable print? And which years are included in the AM thing?

    • Hi, Michael —

      It could be, but I’d need to please see a photo of the coin to be sure. It’s possible, also, that the rim has been pushed down into the lettering as a result of either wear or longterm damage. I could double check either way via photo.

      Thank you!


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