Buying Junk Silver As Part of Your Prepping

When people talk about buying junk silver they are referring to US dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollars minted through 1964. These coins were produced with 90% silver and 10% copper. They have an “intrinsic value” which means the metal to produce them actually has value unlike a paper dollar bill. The penny has always been copper or steel (for one or two war years) and the nickel is made of nickel and copper so they are not being referred to when people discuss the $1 face valuation of junk silver. A dollars worth (4 quarters, 10 dimes, etc.) of coins add up to .75 of a Troy ounce of silver, but because of wear it is accepted to use .715 as the multiplier. Generally you get the most silver for your money when buying junk silver as the premiums typically are the cheapest.

junk silver dollar signDon’t let the name “junk silver” fool you. They are designated “junk” because they don’t have value to a collector. They do however have melt value as a precious metal and that is what makes buying junk silver a great investment for emergency preparedness. Precious metals will always have value, even when the paper dollar does not. Most financial experts agree that everyone should have 10% of their investment portfolios in precious metals. People that feel we are on the very edge of the fiscal cliff believe in keeping a much higher percentage of their money in something as reliable as precious metals.

The Process of Buying Junk Silver

Junk silver is typically sold in $1 face value increments. The easiest way to learn the value of junk silver is to use a silver coin calculator since the price fluctuates. You can go to your local coin shop or buy online at places like APMEX, Gainesville Coins, or Provident Metals. All three have good reputations among preppers. Right now APMEX is selling $1 silver coin bags for $25.84 with a credit card and Provident is selling it for $25.28. Gainesville appears to be sold out at the moment. The more you can buy the better price you will get.  They all ship usually USPS in inconspicuous packaging and you will likely have to sign for your shipment.

Do you have junk silver laying around your house?

Keeping junk silver is something that most Depression-era people tended to do so it is not uncommon to find old quarter and nickles tucked away in drawers at Grandma’s house. She wasn’t nutty for keeping random nickles and dimes.

Also, there are still pre-1964 coins in everyday circulation. Always check your change in hopes of finding a little silver. It’s getting harder and harder to do but it happens. Some people even go to the bank and get $100 in quarter rolls, check them and cash back in all the silver they didn’t find and start over. Its a treasure hunt for them.

But for emergency preparedness, you are better off buying junk silver and then adding anything you find to your bags.

*Thank you to Beau for help with some of the research and wording for this article.




  1. You are actually better off buying silver bullion it will be .999 pure so you do not have to do any calculating. If you go your local coin store you can usually buy silver for 1 or 2 dollars over spot. If they want more than that find another store. If you look at the history of silver spot prices you will see that there are certain times of the year that silver usually goes down but I keep a fairly regular eye on it. I keep it in all kinds of different weights as little as a gram but you usually will not find anything less than an ounce in coin stores but there are online silver dealers where you can get it in small weights.

    • The reason I like coins is because it is sort of the “common mans” item and would be easy enough to pass off in a barter situation where to me, bullion screams PREPPER. That said, I was actually looking at bullion last night for the first time as just a straight up investment. I think they both have their purpose.

      • This is true and the coins are a bit easier to come by but again its the difference in purity is why I prefer bullion. Try they are honest and as good of a deal as you will find. That being said I only keep a small stock of it (about 4 lbs.) for just such a scenario because if it does all go to hell in a basket then even silver and gold will be less tradable than food items like seeds and ammo to hunt food. You have to remember that if the shtf then people will have less interest in metals than something to help them survive. I think 4 lbs. of seeds will tradable to a lot more people than 4 lbs. of silver. The metals are great as long as there is some kind of system still in place and are much better to have than paper money but in a total collapse not many are going to be interested in metals.

  2. I guess what I am trying to say is if the banks collapse and society holds together then yes silver and gold are great to have but if it totally falls apart then food items to trade are better.

    • Totally agree. It’s only one part of prepping. To me, it is a sensible step to take for many reasons but certainly can’t be relied on as the end all be all of barter items. That would be silly to put all your eggs in any basket.

  3. I love junk silver. You do have to take a look at how much ‘wear’ a coin has on it while not paying for a collector’s grade coin. In an emergency situation it won’t matter that you paid extra for a ‘rare’ coin. Silver is a legal tender in Utah. I could go in today and use it to purchase something.

  4. going to add this into my “Things I have never thought of before” file.

  5. I have just bought a dollar here and there. You can’t drink it, eat it or shot it. Most people don’t know what it is, so it wouldn’t have much value to my neighbor. However, if you have a personal tragedy, you have some investment to fall back on.

    Great article!


  6. We are in the process of finding junk coins to purchase. My friend made the point that what if we did have to barter with the junk coins, would most people really think “oh coins before 1964 have more silver in them so I am going to give you more for your quarter than I would for a quarter that was after 1964” Is the average Joe going to know?

    • Avg Joe prob wont know, but the word will get out FAST that pre-1965 are more valuable.
      Im still on the fence about hedging our retirement savings via precious metals diversification, as im told by
      the experts that its smart to have 10% of your total retirement accts in this way.
      They also rec 1000.00 pp /pr household for ‘Junk Silver” –

      plz note: the Bible says in Ezekiel 7:19

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