Think You Found A Valuable Silver Coin? Tips On Identification, Preservation, And Cashing In

28 November 2016
 Categories: Shopping, Articles


When you are rummaging through the attics and basements of elderly loved ones looking for family keepsakes or sorting through boxes of possessions that you may have inherited from an older relative, it is a joy to come across items like old silver coins. Depending on the year the coin was manufactured, its design and overall condition, you may be able to sell the coins for a nice amount of money. The following guide can help you learn how to examine your newfound silver coins and get the most money from coin dealers when you want to sell the items.

Learn What Types of Coins Are the Most Valuable

The most valuable silver coins are those that were made before 1965 because the U.S. removed the metal from dimes and quarters due to a silver shortage in the early 1960s. Most current silver coins are actually clads, items made from a mixture of metals. However, some silver dollars and specialty coins minted after 1965 still contain the metal.

Morgan and Peace silver dollars are among the most valuable silver coins. Manufactured between 1878 to 1904 and in 1921, the coin was named after the U.S. Mint employee who designed it. The coin features the profile of a woman's head wearing a Greek-style wreath that has the word "Liberty" on it. The back of the coin includes an illustration of an eagle. The Morgan silver dollars ranges in worth from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

The Peace silver dollar also features the head of a woman. The female depicted on the coin wears a crown that seems to radiate. The back of the coin has a perched bald eagle. The value of Peace silver dollars can also exceed a thousand dollars.

Not all silver coins that are valuable were minted over a half century ago. The 1982 No Mint Mark Roosevelt dime is valuable because it is a misprint. The dime is missing the mint mark letter that denotes where the coin was manufactured. This error is what makes the coin valuable. If you do not see a small capital letter above the coin's date on the front, you may have a No Mint Mark Roosevelt.

Handle and Store the Silver Coins With Care

When you come across old silver coins, you want to make sure you handle them with care to prevent damage. Even the oils and grit from dirty fingers can harm the appearance of a rare coin. Make sure that your hands are clean when handling the coins. Use an antibacterial soap that strips the oils from your hands.

Pick the coins up by the edges. Do not rub your fingers across the surface. Do not spit on your coins to clean them with saliva. The natural patina of coins should never be altered in any way especially if you want to get a good price on the items from a dealer. Store your coins in protective sleeves or cases to prevent further damage.

Get Your Coins Appraised and Find a Reputable Dealer

You may be tempted to put your coins on sale on online bidding sites to earn some quick bucks. However, if you want to make sure that the coins are authentic and that you are getting your money's worth, it is worth the effort to find a reputable appraiser and dealer to handle the sale.

Getting coins appraised first is important because, believe it or not, there are counterfeits of valuable coins floating around. Unscrupulous individuals will alter the appearance of coins. Some counterfeits have rubbed off mint marks. The last thing you want to do is sell someone a counterfeit coin.

An appraiser can authenticate your coin and determine its value based on the item's surface preservation, luster, coloration, and other characteristics.