How to Tell if a Quarter is Made of Real Silver

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BN As an amateur coin collector, it pains me to divulge this information to thousands of my fellow countrymen, but it’s time you stop throwing away real silver as if it were only worth 25¢!

If you’ve been around for any length of time at all, you’ll agree that they just don’t make stuff like they once did not too long ago. Whether it’s heavy machinery, cookware, children’s toys or something as insignificant as a screwdriver, there’s no denying that in the vast majority of cases, the things we leave with out of a store in modern day America are of far less quality than was the case a half-century ago – and unfortunately, this literally includes the change in our pockets.

As some of the folks who have been around for a while will testify, coinage just doesn’t feel like it used to.

This is because back in the “good o’le days”, US coins, including the quarter dollar coin were minted from silver – in order to pass the mint’s strict quality control guidelines, all quarters between 1932-1964 had to be comprised of 90% silver, equating to approximately 0.18084 troy ounces of pure silver.

Unfortunately, the year of 1964 presented a severe shortage of U.S. coins, particularly for quarters and dimes. This was due to the fact that the American public had begun hoarding silver coins in the face of escalating silver prices.

Banks across the nation began holding “green sales”, exchanging $1 bills for 98¢ worth of coins. On the street, silver coins were going for an even greater amount.

On July 30, 1964, The Delaware County Times, reported, “Coin grabbers are selling rolls of new dimes worth $5 for $7.50 and rolls of new Kennedy 50¢ pieces worth $10 for $11.50 to $17. In at least once instance a single new 50¢ piece coin sold for $15.”

Assistant Treasury Secretary Robert Wallace, stated, “Nothing short of a crash program will solve the problem,” adding, “We are now taking drastic measures.”

Those drastic measures culminated the following year with the passage of The Coinage Act of 1965, which eliminated silver from the circulating United States dime and quarter dollar coins. It also reduced the silver content of the half dollar from 90 percent to 40 percent; silver in the half dollar was subsequently eliminated by a 1970 law.

Basically, by making the nation’s coins worthless was the only way the Federal government could prod people back into spending them again!

Today’s quarters are copper-nickel clad, with a layer of pure copper in the center. One of the most noticeable differences of modern quarters is the ringing sound they make when dropped onto a hard surface, as compared to the flat “thump” silver quarters make.

So here’s a very basic and simple rule of thumb to keep in mind when looking at your change: if you come across a quarter or dime struck from 1964 or in previous years, you’re holding an extinct coin comprised of approximately 0.18084 troy ounces of pure silver.

With silver prices currently at $17.27 per ounce, that makes pre-1965 quarters worth roughly $3.12 in their metal alone… That’s 12.5 times their face value. Now you can see why folks were hoarding these things… as well as why you should be kicking yourself for not taking the time to inspect all those quarters you’ve been mindlessly dropping into vending machines over the past four decades!

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