Leave your child the gift of “buried treasure”, aka junk silver

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Saved junk silver is a buried treasure

Every child dreams of finding buried treasure. Heck, adults do too, thus the popularity of the Powerball!

image by FateDenied
image by FateDenied

Last year I read a report from a fellow whose grandpa had left him a jar of quarters and dimes. Definitely something akin to buried treasure.

That’s a nice little gift on its own, but what made it even sweeter was that those coins were all junk silver — minted pre-1965. In other words, that jar was full of 90% real silver! Its true worth was far more valuable than the face value of the coins.

At the time I said, “Wow, what a great gift,” and felt a little envious.

It didn’t occur to me that I could leave the exac same gift for my children, and that’s what I’m doing now.

I have 2 canning jars labeled with both kids names, and every so often I add a few junk silver coins to each jar.

That silver is part of their inheritance. Who knows what its value will be decades from now or how useful it might be as barter currency?

Just 14 years ago on 9/11, silver was $5 an ounce. When I was a kid and my grandparents were around to save silver coins, it was less than a dollar an ounce!

Today an ounce runs more than twenty bucks.

Junk silver is easy to identify and easy to buy

Any American silver coin minted in 1964 or earlier is 90% silver.

The George Washington quarter we use every day was 90% silver until 1965. Same thing with those Roosevelt dimes and the Franklin half dollar.

One reason I personally favor these coins is because they are so identifiable. With a quick glance at the year stamped on the coin, I know right away if it’s junk silver or not, and so will anyone else in a financial transaction.

If you start checking the coins you have in your wallet and pockets, you’ll quickly notice that finding junk silver among them is nearly impossible. They’ve been snatched up by collectors or pulled out of circulation entirely.

Instead, you’ll do better filling that “buried treasure” jar by visiting either coin stores or buying online.

Do check out online precious metals dealers

Sometimes I buy junk silver from coin stores, but it all too easily slips my mind or I get too busy to make the trip. Also, a few of those stores are in less desirable parts of town and I’m somewhat paranoid walking out of the store with my little bag of silver treasure.

Provident Metals is one online company that specializes in selling precious metals, including junk silver. I noticed their variety of purchase options and  reasonable shipping prices when I placed an order myself.  Their website is full of great tutorials, including this article about junk silver and its history.

You can ship orders to other addresses, perfect for grandparents wanting to fill their grandkids’ piggy banks with a little something that will hold its value forever.

Don’t be afraid of sticking your toe in the precious metals pool. I was very nervous the first time I went to a coin store with a hundred dollars in hand. At the time it didn’t make sense to hand over a perfectly good hundred dollar bill in exchange for a few coins, but the value of those coins has increased, while $100 buys less and less these days.

Educate your kids and grandkids

Teach your kids about the junk silver you’re collecting. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should they ever take one of those quarters and put it in the gumball machine!

Today’s teens and young adults have personally experienced the downturn of our economy and want more secure futures. If you teach them about precious metals and then give them that jar of junk silver, they will already be ahead of their peers who think silver is just for piercings! A simple way to do that is to take them to a coin store and help them buy just 1 or 2 silver coins with a bit of their birthday, graduation, or Christmas money.


4 thoughts on “Leave your child the gift of “buried treasure”, aka junk silver”

  1. What a great article. As a kid I always loved collecting coins. Once I had kids of my own, I sometimes buy a really nice piece, just to show what one looked like when it was first minted But recently, i have been trying to get junk silver. They figure the price of the coins by a XXX times face value calculation. Right now it is about 18 times face value. At 20x face values, a dime is $2.00 When it was up in the $30 or so per ounce for silver, the value was about 25x face value..

    Don’t be afraid to go to a coin store and ask for junk silver. they know all about it. Just say, “Hey, I want to buy some junk silver , what is the rate today?” I sometimes ask if they have half dollars, or mercury dimes (I think they are so nice looking). Keep at it and don’t worry too much about the rate. right now it is low, and I expect it to go way up. (I’m no expert, but I have a good feeling I am right)

    My kids love to look at my new stash and arrange the coins by date. While you are there you can get a roll of “Wheat pennies” for about $2.00. They are pre 1959 and fun to collect. My kids will get a real treasure chest when I go to be with the Lord.

  2. Chief Instructor

    “Any American silver coin minted in 1964 or earlier is 90% silver.”

    BTW, the silver dollars contain more silver per dollar of face amount than do the dimes, quarters and halves. A dollar of quarters, for instance, has .715 of an ounce of silver. A silver dollar has .7734 of an ounce.

  3. When the market went south in 2008, I stopped putting money in my children’s 529 savings accounts and pulled out cash each month, instead. Periodically we go to auctions and spend that money on silver or gold. It goes in the safe. When the kids are ready for post-secondary education or training, they will have money that hasn’t lost its value. And when they fill out those “need-based” forms for grants, nobody knows about the stash we’ve set aside because there is no paper trail….

    If something major happens where we need to dip into that stash, chances are college will be obsolete.

    Just my two cents. 🙂

  4. This is a great idea and a great article. Looking at all the numbers and the “big picture”, there seems to be a 99% change that silver value will be much higher in the future.

    It can be a bit difficult to know how much silver a coin has. Some have 90%, some have 40%, war nickels have 35%. Some coins have more silver than others. For example, 1 silver dollar will have more silver than 10 silver dimes.

    I’m also nervous coming out of the coin shop with a bag of silver – but a concealed carry license will solve that problem. It’s probably a good idea to have a firearm for security for other reasons too, but I digress.

    Kevin 🙂

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