Big demand for pre-1965 90% silver coins

By Steve Roach –
First published in the April 18, 2011, issue of Coin World

Pre-1965 90 percent silver U.S. coins are especially hot, while silver U.S. coins that aren’t so familiar to buyers — such as post-1992 Proof 90 percent silver coins from Silver Proof sets — are trading at discounts to melt value.

For example, on March 28, one dealer advertised on a trading network a bag of 4,000 Proof 2010-S 90 percent silver Washington quarter dollars — $1,000 face value — for $26,300, lowering it later in the day to under melt value at $25,999.

Another dealer was offering $1,000 in face value of modern Proof 90 percent silver coins for 99 percent of the melt value.

At the same time, market makers were paying $26,200 for $1,000 face value 90 percent silver bags.

The current market is allowing for a slight premium for all 90 percent half dollar bags, and a slightly greater premium for Walking Liberty silver half dollar bags.

It is discounting 40 percent silver bags slightly along with Roosevelt 90 percent silver dime bags.

Prices for Proof American Eagle silver bullion coins have exploded in the last several weeks. As of March 28, several wholesale dealers were advertising buy prices of $60 each for examples with original Mint packaging.

This quick price advancement has effectively removed premiums for the Proof 1993-P, 1995-P, 1996-P and 1997-P issues. These dates always enjoyed substantial premiums over the more common dates, but not anymore.

The sole issue that now trades for a premium — excluding the rare Proof 1995-W American Eagle silver dollar — is the Proof 1994-P silver American Eagle, which still enjoys a $20 to $30 premium over the common dates.

According to its Web site, the U.S. Mint is scheduled to release Proof 2011-W American Eagle silver dollars on June 30, meaning that the existing supply won’t be increasing for at least three months.

Even Proof 2010-W American Eagle silver dollars are now trading at the same level as the rest of the 1986 to 2008 Proof issues.

Proof 2011-W American Eagle gold coins are scheduled to be released April 21, and several market makers have reported a softening of demand for Proof gold American Eagles in anticipation of a flood of 2011 issues.

Steve Roach is a Dallas, Texas, based rare coin appraiser and fine art advisor who writes the world’s most widely read rare coin market analysis each week in the pages of Coin World. He is also a lawyer and helps create estate plans for collections. Visit him online at, join him on LinkedIn at or follow him on twitter @roachdotsteve

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  1. here in australia the older coins also had silver in them as did the round 50cent pieces but i thought it was illegal to melt coins because it defaced the queens face on the coins here in australia or is this not the case anymore . i have alot of pre decimal coins my father collected sitting in the bank vault is it time for me to get them out and sell? love some feed back on this question
    also have a 1974 star one dollar note randall i think is the signature on it what is it worth these days or do u only do american coins ?

  2. I would hold onto those coins. IHMO silver is on it’s way up, up, up. Sure there will be dips in the price, but you have been holding onto them for this long. I also wouldn’t trust safety deposit boxes. There are plenty of stories of banks drilling the lock and your contents going missing. Coins are not hard to hide (unless you have a ton), just be creative and keep your mouth shut about were you keep them (personal will withstanding).

  3. Perhaps silver coin vending machines are due to appear at some time in the near future. Put in FRN’s in the machine, get silver at current in return. Now, if the machines could be made to change out silver coin into FRN’s, that would be great, the inventor of a non distructive electro-mechanical coin checker device would have a real thing there. 37 1/3to1 as of 4.6.11 (am).

    • dont sell. watch all of mike maloney’s videos and sgtbull07 on youtube. and Alex Jones an Lindsey Williams. they give a lot of info.

      dont sell.


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