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Do you have some silver U.S. coins and want to know how much they’re worth?
So many people have been asking me about the value of their silver pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollars!
Below you will find:
- A complete list of U.S. coins made of silver by denomination
- A list of the most valuable silver coins by denomination
- The dates that the metal composition changed for each U.S. coin denomination throughout the years
When it comes to determining the value of your silver coins, keep in mind, silver coin values are based on the following factors:
- Precious metal content — how much silver a coin contains
- Mintage number — how many of that coin were made
- Number of survivors — how many of that coin still exist
- Grade and overall state of preservation — the condition of the coin
- Errors and/or varieties — whether there’s anything unusual about the coin
- Overall demand — whether enough people collect this coin to drive up its numismatic (collectible) value
Silver Pennies (1943 and Other Years)
“Wait, there were silver pennies?” you might be asking.
Well, not really… At least not in the United States. But many people think they’ve found a silver penny! Here’s why:
First, the 1943 steel Lincoln cent was made when the United States government was saving copper for the World War II ammunition — and it’s commonly mistaken as a 1943 silver penny.
Then, there are silver-looking pennies from other years that really aren’t made from silver.
Finally, there is a small number of rare Lincoln pennies that were accidentally struck on silver dime planchets — these are potentially worth thousands of dollars!
See what pennies are made of — and how the metal composition of U.S. pennies has changed through the years.
Find answers to your questions about silver pennies and the value of these coins here:
- Steel pennies (1943) — worth 10 cents and up
- Steel pennies (1944) — $100,000+
- Aluminum pennies (1974) — $1 million+
- Other silver pennies that aren’t from 1943 — up to $200,000+
Silver Nickels (1942-1945)
The term “silver nickel” may sound like an oxymoron, but it isn’t. That’s because the the U.S. government rationed nickel for World War II artillery from 1942 through 1945.
To replace the nickel and to still give the five-cent coin its typical silvery-grey appearance, the government chose a composition made from 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese.
So… do you know how to tell a silver Jefferson nickel from a “regular” one — and which ones are worth keeping?
See what nickels are made of — and how the metal composition of U.S. nickels has changed through the years.
Answers to your questions about wartime nickels and their value can be found here:
- Jefferson wartime silver nickels (1942-1945) — up to $40 or more.
Silver Dimes (1796-1964 and 1992-Present Proofs)
Silver dimes were minted for circulation from 1796 through 1964 and have been struck for collectors since 1992.
While the vast majority of silver dimes minted since around 1900 are categorically common, there are several rare dates worth hundreds, even thousands of dollars. And all silver dimes are worth more than face value due to their precious metal content. So, they’re definitely worth looking for!
Do you know which silver dimes are worth the big bucks?
See what dimes are made of — and how the metal composition of U.S. dimes has changed through the years.
Find answers to your questions about silver dimes and their value here:
- Bust silver dimes (1794-1837) — up to $7,000+
- Seated Liberty silver dimes (1837-1891) — up to $65,000+
- Barber silver dimes (1892-1916) — up to $9,000+
- Mercury silver dimes (1916-1945) — $1,000+
- Roosevelt silver dimes (1946-1964 and 1992-present) — up to $350,000+
- Silver dime error (1965) — $3,000+
- A list of all silver dimes worth holding onto (1796-present) — $2 and up
Silver Quarters (1796-1964 and 1992-Present Proofs)
The workhorse of the economy, U.S. quarters have been around 1796 — and those made for circulation were made of silver through 1964. After that, circulating quarters were struck from a copper-nickel clad.
Many quarters are scarce, and some are quite rare — worth thousands of dollars!
See what quarters are made of — and how the metal composition of U.S. quarters has changed through the years.
Answers to all of your questions about silver quarters and their current value can be found here:
- Bust silver quarters (1796-1838) — up to $40,000+
- Seated Liberty silver quarters (1838-1891) — up to $125,000+
- Barber silver quarters (1892-1916) — $4,000+
- Standing Liberty silver quarters (1916-1930) — $20,000+
- Washington silver quarters (1932-1964 and 1992-present) — Up to $400+
- Silver quarter error (1965) — $7,000+
- Silver Bicentennial quarters (1976) — $4+
- Silver proof 50 State Quarters (1999-2008) — $4+
Silver Half Dollars (1794-1970, 1976 and 1992-Present Proofs)
We don’t often see half dollars anymore, but they once were a major part of everyday commerce. And until 1971 they were made of silver!
While the concept of using a 50-cent coin as money is unfamiliar to many (because they aren’t commonly found in circulation and really haven’t been for several decades now), there are some rare and valuable silver half dollars out there worth looking for!
See what half dollars are made of — and how the metal composition of U.S. half dollars has changed through the years.
Find answers to your questions about silver half dollars and the value of these coins here:
- Bust silver half dollars (1794-1839) — up to $15,000+
- Seated Liberty silver half dollars (1839-1891) — up to $425,000+
- Barber silver half dollars (1892-1915) — up to $200+
- Walking Liberty silver half dollars (1916-1947) — up to $100+
- Franklin silver half dollars (1948-1963) — $10+
- Franklin half dollars with “Bugs Bunny” errors (1948-1963) — $20+
- Franklin half dollars with Full Bell Lines (1948-1963) — $90+
- Kennedy silver half dollars (1964-1970 and 1992-present) — $7+
- 1976 silver Bicentennial half dollars (1976) — $5+
Silver Dollars (1794-1935 and 1971-1976)
The largest of the circulating U.S. coinage in terms of physical diameter, the silver dollar was made from 1794 through 1935.
After a hiatus of 36 years, the United States Mint resumed production of the one-dollar coin by striking the copper-nickel clad Eisenhower dollar in 1971. The Mint also struck 40% silver Eisenhower dollars for coin collectors.
Along with Lincoln cents and Washington quarters, silver dollars are one of the most popular types of collectible coins — and many are quite rare and valuable!
See what dollar coins are made of — and how the metal composition of U.S. dollar coins has changed through the years.
Answers to your questions about silver dollars and their current value can be found here:
- Flowing Hair silver dollars (1794-1795) — up to $10 million+
- Bust silver dollars (1795-1804) — up to $4 million+
- Seated Liberty silver dollars (1840-1873) — up to $2.2 million+
- Trade silver dollars (1873-1885) — up to $1.5 million+
- Morgan silver dollars (1878-1921) — up to $150,000+
- Peace silver dollars (1921-1935) — up to $400+
- VAM Morgan and Peace silver dollars (1878-1935) — $30+
- Silver dollar values (1921) — $20+
- Eisenhower silver dollars (1971-1974) — up to $50+
- Eisenhower dollar errors (1971-1978) — up to $5,000+
- Silver Bicentennial dollars (1976) — $10+
Other U.S. Silver Coins
There’s a lot of talk about 1943 silver pennies, silver war nickels, and silver dollars among coin collectors. But what you may not hear much about are the many silver coins that are more obscure to the typical new collector.
Silver commemorative coins? What are those?
Well, let’s start with trimes and half dimes. Most newbies have never even heard of them, let alone know what they’re worth!
And American Silver Eagles… they might “sound” familiar to some new collectors, but few know how they are different from ordinary silver coins.
Here are some of the most valuable silver commemorative coins and their values:
- 3-cent silver trimes (1851-1873) — $30+
- Silver half dimes (1794-1873) — $20+
- 20-cent silver coins (1875-1878) — $100+
- Classic silver commemorative coins (1892-1954) — $20+
- Modern silver commemorative coins (1982-present) — $10+
- 1-ounce American Silver Eagles (1986-present) — $20+
- 5-ounce silver America The Beautiful Quarters (2010-present) — $150+
Tips For Finding Silver Coins
Maybe you don’t have any silver coins in your collection yet but want to add some. Or, perhaps you already have some silver coins and want more! You can use these tips to score more for silver for your coin collection or bullion stack while doing so at less than full price.
#1 – Check your spare change.
It sounds simple enough, yet relatively few people really even think to look for silver in their pocket change this way. It’s probably because of the mistaken assumption that silver coins stopped circulating after the 1960s. It’s true that the United States Mint no longer minted silver coins for circulation after 1970, but many of these old silver coins continued circulating long after. Some can even be found today. You can score silver nickels, silver dimes, and silver quarters in daily circulation if you’re persistent… And lucky (of course). It therefore pays to keep a close eye on every coin that passes through your hands in pursuit of silver.
#2 – Look through bank rolls.
Many, many successful silver coin collectors check bank rolls. These can be obtained from banks or other financial institutions at face value and are fertile searching grounds for silver nickels, silver dimes, silver quarters, and even silver half dollars. One of the many advantages of looking through old bank rolls is that any unwanted coins can simply be returned to the bank to help pay for more rolls!
#3 – Shop at yard sales & estate sales.
You might be able to score some great silver coins at melt value or even less if you check out some of the local garage sales, estate sales, and swap meets happening in your community. Of course, you’ve got to be careful for counterfeits. But if you know what you’re searching for, are confident in how to spot fake coins, and are patient, you could find some great deals when you buy silver coins this way.
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I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. 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 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 authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!