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Silver Coins

When there is uncertainty in a nations economy, government or currency, people will use their fiat money to buy precious metals, historically this has been gold or silver and the increased demand in the precious metal causes its value to increase. In some countries, like Switzerland and Liechtenstein, bullion bars can be bought or sold over the counter at major banks but one need not go far to buy gold or silver, it is commonly found in coins but not all coins have precious metals in them. It takes some knowledge to hoard the silver floating around.

Australian 50 Cent Round Coin 1966

3 of these equal 1 oz of silver. They are purely traded for their silver content. 1966 Australia Silver Coin

  • Denomination: 50 cents
  • Minted: 1966
  • Recognition: round coin rather than the common do-decagon
  • Metal: 80% Silver, 20% Copper
  • Silver Content: 0.3416 oz
  • Mass: 13.28 grams
  • Diameter: 31.50 mm

Australian Crown 1937 & 1938

Australian Crown 1937 & 1938 The large size and weight, an open design and a clumsy manufacturing process combined to make the Australian crown notorious for bag marks, dings and rim nicks. After striking, the coins were transported by a conveyor belt and dropped into a collection bucket. There are numerous examples of coins which display a neat row of tooth marks imparted by the reeded edge of another crown.

Finding a 1937 or 1938 without any marks at all is very, very rare if presented with an example within your means, it would be a great addition to any collection. Discussions with another collector have also revealed a very interesting point about the 1938 issue. Having handled the 1938 Crown proof, he noticed the cross on the orb, a strong grading reference point, was not present on proof strikes, to him this indicates that most 1938 crowns could have been under graded.

  • Composition: .925 silver
  • Silver Content: 0.8411 oz
  • Edge: Reeded
  • Weight: 28.27 grams
  • Size: 38.5 mm

British Silver Coins Prior To 1920

Crown Prior to 1920, British silver coins contained high purity, 92.5% (Sterling) silver. The wear on circulated coins may contain less.
The ratios may be in effect throughout the British Commonwealth.

  • Crown (.8409 Troy ounces) Weight: 28g / 0.062lb
  • Double Florins (1887-1890) (.6727 Troy ounces) Weight: 23g / 0.050lb
  • Half Crown (.4206 Troy ounces)
  • Florin (.3364 Troy ounces) Weight: 12g / 0.026lb
  • Shilling (.1682 Troy ounces)
  • Sixpence (.0841 Troy ounces)
  • Threepence (.0420 Troy ounces of actual silver weight)

As with all denominations of Australian coins did not go 50% silver until 1946, note the Australian Florin (1910-1945)

From 1920 to 1946, British silver coins contained 50% silver Half Cown

  • Half Crown (.2273 Troy ounces) (5 to the oz)
  • Florin (1920-1936) and Two Shillings (1937-1946) (.1818 Troy ounces) (6 to the oz)
  • Shilling (.0909 Troy ounces) (11 to the oz)
  • Sixpence (.0455 Troy ounces) (22 to the oz
  • Threepence (.0227 Troy ounces of actual silver weight) (45 to the oz)

From 1947 until the introduction of decimal coinage in 1971, British pre-decimal coins issued for circulation were made of copper-nickel or other metals, and contained no silver

Morgan Silver Dollar

Morgan Silver Dollar

  • Denomination: 1 dollar
  • Minted: 1878 - 1904 and for 1 year 1921
  • Recognition: Liberty & Eagle
  • Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
  • Silver Content: 0.77344 oz
  • Mass: 26.73 grams
  • Diameter: 38.1 mm

Note: the U.S.A market being large is the focus of much of the counterfeiting and many Morgan Silver Dollars I believe out there are counterfeit. The ways of testing if the coin is real, is firstly by using a very powerful Neodymium magnet, the authentic coin should be non-magnetic, secondly by its frequency compared to a real silver coin of the same weight. Balance the coin on the tip of your finger, tap the coin with another coin note the resonance of silver. Thirdly the weight of the coin should be exact or ever so slightly less accounting for wear.

Kennedy Half Dollar

After 1964 the Federal Government stopped minting silver coinage, save for an attempt at continuation within the 40% Silver Kennedy Half-Dollar until 1970. The circulation edition of the Eisenhower Dollar was copper-nickel clad.

  • Only the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar has a composition of 90% silver/10% copper. The silver content measures 11.25 grams or 0.3617 ounces.
  • Silver proof versions issued from 1992 to present have a composition of 90% silver/10% copper. The silver content measures 11.25 grams or 0.3617 ounces.
  • Kennedy Halves issued from 1965 to 1970 have a composition of 40% silver. These coins are produced with an outer layer of 80% silver and 20% copper, plus an inner layer of 20.9% silver and 79.1% copper. The resulting net composition is 40% silver and 60% copper. The silver content measures 4.6 grams or 0.1479 ounces.
  • Kennedy Halves issued from 1971 to present are produced with a copper nickel clad alloy. An outer layer of 75% copper and 25% nickel is bonded to a core of pure copper. The resulting net composition is 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel.

1892-1893 Columbian Exposition Half Dollar

1892-1893 Columbian Exposition Half Dollar

  • Design: Obverse by Charles E. Barber; reverse by George T. Morgan; the designs taken from plaster models by Olin L. Warner.
  • Mintage: Quantity Authorized: 5,000,000
  • Quantity Distributed: 1892: 950,000; 1893: 1,550,405
  • Diameter: 30.6mm
  • Weight: 12.50gr.
  • Composition: .900 silver, .100 copper

Italian Silver Coins

5 lira

  • 5 Lira
  • Dates: 1861 to 1878
  • 90% silver
  • 0.7234 troy ounces of silver
  • 2 Lira
  • Dates: 1861 - 1917
  • 83.5% silver
  • 0.2684 troy ounces of silver

Other coins… 10 Lira from 1926 to 1930 has 83.5% silver for 0.2684 oz, the 5 Lira from 1926 to 1930 and the 2 Lira from 1861 to 1917 both have identical 83.5% silver for 0.1342 oz

German Including Nazi Era Silver Coins

No German silver coins were struck after 1939, only these contain silver. AFAIK you will not find big silver German coins and prior to 1870 you are seeking Prussian or Saxony coins called “pfennig” and further back into non-unified coinage all of which are too rare to mention here, the Nazi era coins are by far the most plentiful.

  • 5 Reichsmark
  • Date: 1925 to 1932
  • Silver Content: .4019 troy ounces of silver, 50% silver
  • Date: 1934 to 1939
  • Diameter: 29mm
  • Design: 3 different designs, a) Potsdam Garrison Church 1934-1935 b) late 1935 and early 1936 Paul von Hindenburg and eagle, c) 1936 similar to 2 Reichsmark
  • Silver Content: .4016 troy ounces of silver, 90% silver, Fine weight 12.5 g, Weight 13.9 g
  • 2 Reichsmark
  • Date: 1925 to 1931
  • Silver Content: .4019 troy ounces of silver, 50% silver
  • Date: 1933 to 1939
  • Diameter: 25mm
  • Design: Paul von Hindenburg and eagle
  • Silver Content: .1607 troy ounces of silver, 62.5 % Silver, Fine weight 5 g, Weight 8 g

Other coins… 3 Marks from 1924 to 1925 and the 3 Reichsmark from 1925 to 1933 both have 50% silver for 0.2411 oz and the 5 Marks from 1951 to 1974 has Silver 62.5% silver for 0.2250 oz.

Coin Grading

It may become an issue with some coins being too dirty and too worn that one viewing their albums seeks to upgrade a coin, so their is coin grading and is a way to suggest the condition of a coin.

  • Mint State (Unc) - Absolutely no trace of wear.
  • Almost Uncirculated (AU) - Small trace of wear visible on the highest points
  • Extremely Fine (XF or EF) - Very light wear on only the highest points
  • Very Fine (VF) - Light to medium wear. All major features are sharp
  • Fine (F) - Moderate to heavy even wear. Entire design clear and bold
  • Very Good (VG) - Well worn. Design clear, but flat and lacking details
  • Good (G) - Heavily worn. Design and legend visible but faint in spots
  • Almost Good (AG) - Outlined design. Parts of date and legend worn smooth
  • Fair (Fair) - You can identify the coin as to its type
  • Basal State (Basal) - You can identify the lump of metal as being a coin

Exceptions are errors and damage caused at the mint. Other than condition grading, their may be mint markings that suggest where a coin was minted that can effect its standing and a coins rarity. Coins are generally affordable, a penny is still worth a penny a hundred years later so its always fun to include the differences.


A collection of coins well kept in a ring folder with acid free coin holders and pages will tend to be thicker at the top than it is at the bottom, due to a set equaling less than twenty, a typical amount of inserts in an album page and why don't we use that space for fillers. Fillers are coins that are not immediately part of a set but are included because they are interesting as their is a place for them to be included. It is my personal opinion that cupronickel should never be rewarded so fillers do not include commemorative coins which should be avoided and rejected in all cases unless the commemoration is adequately important that the coin is made of a valuable element as special for the commemoration. It is my personal opinion that very old coins belong in museums and not part of collections. Fillers are generally cheap coins, affordable so one can embellish bidding comfortably while staying well within limits, ultimately their are no rules or you make your own rules so take some time to find some interesting fillers and spice up your collections.

silver_coins.txt · Last modified: 2020/02/17 22:53 (external edit)