Chapter four. COINS or BULLION collector?


Bullion - Silver "bug"

Someone who buys silver in whatever form, junk coins, bars, rounds etc. without regard to any collector's value. Staying as close to spot prices as possible. Dealers usually sell a little over spot price and buy at or a little under it. That is how they stay in business. Never expect to buy from a dealer at spot price. They are in business and must pay employees, electric etc.

Coins - Numismatist:

Loosely defined as a coin collector or at least someone seriously interested in coins. Coins can be considered a bullion if they are of no value beyond their silver content.

Is it silver? US dimes, quarters, half-dollars and dollars minted before 1965 were all 90% silver. Nickels had 35% silver ONLY for 1942 through 1945 inclusive. Circulation Kennedy halves were 90% silver in 1964 ONLY. Then begins the confusion for Kennedy halves!
  • Silver proofs 1992–present: 90% silver.
  • 1965–1970 and some dated "1776–1976" special issues: outer layer of 80% silver surrounding a core of 21% silver, totaling 40% silver.
Sooooo. While I do have a couple newer proof Kennedy halves which are 90% silver, this isn't something I would suggest.

Stick to the basics. If it is 1965 or newer it is not 90% silver. Either that, or be prepared to educate others when trying to sell later.

Exception: The US American Silver Eagles are a bullion coin and they are all 99% silver. The newer gold eagles are 91.67% gold 3% silver and 5.33% copper. All older gold coins made for circulation until 1933 are 90% gold.

Confused yet? Me too. Just keep the date 1964 in mind. They were silver then. After that, it gets weird!

I know I am repeating 1964 over and over. It is probably the single most important thing to know about US coins. Other countries are different.

Here is a complete listing of US coins and silver content IF you must go there: