Pre-1965 Coins

Coins minted in the United States prior to 1965 contain silver.

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U.S. dimes, quarters, and half-dollars dated prior to 1965 were minted of 90% silver/10% copper. Large quantities in circulated condition are readily available. Common-date uncirculated coins are available but carry premiums over circulated coins. Numismatists (coin collectors) sometimes call circulated coins "junk coins" because they have no collector value. Although silver dollars also were minted of 90% silver/10% copper, they are not called 90% U.S. coins. Half-dollars dated 1965-1969 contain only 40% silver and are traded as 40% clad half-dollars.
Because U.S. Mints originally shipped 90% coins in $1,000 face value bags, today "a bag" refers to $1,000 in face value. A bag of dimes contains 10,000 coins; a bag of quarters 4,000 coins; and a bag of half-dollars 2,000 coins. However, pre-1965 U.S. coins are often sold in quantities smaller than $1,000 face value. When minted, a $1,000 face value bag contained 723.4 ounces of silver. Due to wear, however, a bag of circulated coins yields approximately 715 ounces when refined; therefore, to calculate an accurate price per ounce, divide the cost by 715. A bag weights a little under 55 pounds on a bathroom scale.
 In addition to the silver value contained in these coins, some of them will also have numismatic value.  The value of a coin to a collector depends on several factors, chief among them will be its condition.

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