How Much Silver Is In A Silver Dollar?
In order to find out the amount of silver in a silver dollar, you first need to know the 'type' of silver dollar, because the silver content has been changed at various times. Use our super reference chart to check the precious metal content of your US dollar coins and calculate their silver value!
As a "general" rule-of-thumb, United States silver dollars dated 1964 or earlier are made from 90% silver, 10% copper - with a total silver content of around 0.77-0.78 troy ounces. However with silver dollars from 1965 onwards, things get more complex. For example, "Eisenhower" silver dollars (1971-1978) were issued in both proof and circulation versions; the circulation versions contained no silver, the proof versions contained 40% silver. More recently, some dollars are made from copper-nickel and have no silver, others are 90% silver.
In the modern era, coins made for general circulation are not made with precious metals any more. 'Proof sets' and other special commemorative coins issued as collectors items may well contain precious metals in varying amounts. Bullion coins are special coins made to contain a specific amount of precious metal.
Silver Dollar Silver Content Chart:
How Much Silver Is In A Silver Dollar? - Further Notes
1: A coin that is in good condition will often be worth more than its silver content - especially if old or from an uncommon date, in which case the value can be many times that of a common or worn coin. A good way to see what the market will bear is to check out the current prices on ebay (you can do a "completed listing" search to ascertain what items actually sell for as opposed to what people would like to sell them for!) If you are a skilled ebay seller with a good feedback score, ebay may be the best place to sell the coins - but it is important to know what they are worth.
2: The copper, nickel or other metals used to 'make up' the rest of the weight of coins also have some small value, however this is not very great and typically negligible unless you are dealing with a large number of coins. (For example, the 10% copper in an old silver dollar, in Nov. 2011, is worth around 2 cents).
3: (Important) - note that there are several modern dollar coins that have no silver content! These include the "Presidential Dollars" (2007-present) that are 88.5% copper and look copper colored, the "Native American" dollars (2000-present, 77% copper). These contain no silver!
4: Due to slow wear, old coins that have been in circulation for many years will often weigh very slightly lighter than their original weight when minted. It is a small amount but adds up if you are dealing with a large quantity of coins: The best way to calculate the amount of silver in a hoard of 90% silver coins is to weigh them and then multiply the figure by 0.9, doing any necessary conversions to arrive at a figure in Troy Ounces.
5: There are many US "commemorative" silver dollar designs. The Silver Eagle is easily distinguished from the 'regular' silver dollar as the Eagle says "1OZ FINE SILVER - ONE DOLLAR" on the reverse. Most of the commemorative designs often have two dates - the date being commemorated and the date the coin was minted. The words "one dollar" will typically appear but "1oz fine silver" will not. The silver eagle, a bullion coin, is slightly larger and heavier: 40.6mm (1.598 in) in diameter and 2.98mm (0.1193 inches) thick. The commemorative silver dollars are 38.1mm (1.500 inches) in diameter and weigh 26.73 grams. The Presidential, Susan B. Anthony and other "mini" dollars are noticeably smaller, as well as having a copper hue.
6: Image Use - Unaltered images of US coins of are considered public domain in the USA as they are a work of the US Government. Silver dollar coin images were thus taken from wikipedia (where their public domain status is verified) or from coincommunity.com. Quoting Wikipedia ( http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1804_Silver_Dollar_-_Class_I_-_Watters-Childs_Specimen.jpg ) :
"... note that in the United States, reproductions of two-dimensional artwork which is in the public domain because of age do not generate a new copyright — for example, a straight-on photograph of the Mona Lisa would not be considered copyrighted (see Bridgeman v. Corel). Scans of images alone do not generate new copyrights — they merely inherit the copyright status of the image they are reproducing." Since this is simply a straight-on photo or scan, with no creative aspect involved, it should not be subject to copyright as per this precedent."
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