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In my 34 years in the jewelry, pawn and coin business, I have seen literally thousands and thousands of silver and gold coins.  Over the years, these coins have amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars in value in buying, selling and trading.  So, how do you sell your coins?  How much are they worth?  What do you have?

If you have a parcel of silver coins lying around, then you may want to sell them soon, especially since silver prices have been rising.  There are plenty of great prices for junk silver online and local.  You just need to know which ones are the most reliable. Any U.S. dime, quarter and half dollar minted in 1964 or earlier are made up of 90% silver.  These coins are commonly referred to as “Junk silver coins.”  The question I get asked a lot is:  “When is the right time to sell?”   The trick is in the timing, like buying or selling most other assets you want to buy low and sell high. My advice is to start with a goal in mind.  Is your goal to stack as much silver as possible for a rainy day or do you want to turn your silver into income on a regular basis?  These are a couple of questions you should ask yourself before venturing out and buying junk silver coins.  There are also a few other factors that you can take into account when you sell junk silver coins.

  1. Identify

When you start out to sell “junk silver coins” first start by identifying which ones contain silver.  Remember, all dimes, quarters and half dollars dated 1964 or earlier are 90% silver.  After 1964 half dollars from 1965 to 1970 contained 40% silver equaling 0.1479 of an ounce.  Wartime nickels from 1943-1945 contain 35% silver equaling 0.0563 of an ounce.

  1. Organize

Once you identify silver coins the next step is organizing them into denomination, such as nickels, dimes, quarters and  dollars.    Each denomination contains a  specific percentage of silver.  Thus each coin type will have a different value.   Nickels are 0.0563 of an ounce, dimes are 0.0723 of an ounce, quarters are 01808 of an ounce,1964 or earlier half dollars are .362 of an ounce and  half dollars from 1965 to 1970 contain 40% silver equaling 0.148 of an ounce and silver dollars from 1878 to 1936 are 0.7734 of an oz.

  1. Prepare to act immediately upon price swings

Silver prices fluctuate daily, so the  value of your coins will also fluctuate.   When you keep current on silver prices, you can make a more timely decision to sell, hold or buy more.  Some reputable online gold and silver buyers like will honor the price quoted to you provided your items are shipped within 48 hours of you accepting the offer. Upon receipt, we will verify the authenticity and value of your lot and will pay you immediately.    However, if you delay and don’t ship for days, the prices offered will no longer be valid as the prices have changed.  So be ready to ship when you start looking for offers.  On the other hand, the sudden price swings could trigger a good buying opportunity for you, as well.  Please consult your local or online trusted coin expert to give you the best guidance.

  1. Selling online is sometimes easier than selling local.

In some parts of the country there just is not a lot of local options to sell silver or gold coins.  Rural areas, for example usually do not have a local coin shop.  The nearest one is sometimes miles and or hours away.  You might have a coin shop, but have never dealt with them before and are scared to go in.  They might have a bad reputation in town and with online reviews.  There are a host of reasons.  If  only one coin shop is in town without competition, they usually control the market and prices.  With the internet, you vastly open your options, resources and competition, so prices tend to be better.  Use the internet for your research and search out different companies.  Talk to them on the phone and have a conversation with them.  You will find who you are comfortable with and those who you don’t connect very well with.  Decatur Jewelry & Pawn has been a coin expert for the past 28 years and we have a wealth of knowledge.

  1. Make sure to get reimbursed for shipping!

Reputable online buyers of silver and gold coins will either send you a prepaid shipping label to your email or will reimburse you for shipping.  Make sure you have a clear understanding that your shipping costs will be covered.  Also for high value transactions, make sure your shipments are insured when you send them in for the offer you and the dealer agreed on.

For more information, please call Perry, our owner and coin expert for more information.  He can be reached at 217-875-6625 or emailed at

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