Silver Coin Melt Value

Coin Silver Content

Most coins have not been made with pure precious metals since very old days. One reason for this is because pure metals are often soft and therefore such coins would be too easily damaged in ordinary circulation. Another reason is the obvious one that including less expensive metals in the mix makes such items cheaper to produce (although in old times the coin's face value and the amount of precious metal it contained were identical).

King Henry II of England, who lived from 1133 to 1189, introduced the "Sterling Silver" standard of 92.5% silver coinage to replace the use of fine silver in coinage. Since that time, gold or silver "currency" coins have been typically made by alloying precious metals with other metals in varying amounts. However in recent eras, the value of precious metals has far exceeded the monetary value of coins and so it is no longer appropriate to include precious metals in ordinary coins.

From the most ancient times until the year 1662 the method used in the UK to make coins was by "hammering". With various moneyers making coins under the auspices of various kings, assaying of coin purity was difficult and the purity of such coins was often very variable. Not only this, but coins were very often clipped or shaved a little by those whose hands they passed through, in order to collect extra silver! This practice became so rife that in some cases, a third of the coin might have been clipped away over time. After this time "milled" coinage was introduced and coins were made with edge markings that made it impossible to clip them without it immediately showing.

King Henry VIII of England debased the coinage, decreasing the amount of precious metal contained in coins. This was a highly unpopular move, as the public of his day was accustomed to bullion of high purity. Some of Henry's coins such as the gold Crown, were not debased and were still made of high quality 22 carat gold.

After the turbulent period that followed, from 1658 until 1920, British silver coins were typically made with 92.5% silver - known as "Sterling silver" or 925 silver. Coins were made weighing fractions of the weights of the day - and the "Great recoinage" of 1816 settled the weight of a shilling at 1/66 of a troy pound (12/66 of a troy ounce). Thus a silver "Crown" of this period, five shillings, weighed 60/66 of a troy ounce. The weight fluctuated around 27-30 grams in the early 19th century but eventually settling on 28.275888 grams, almost exactly an Avoirdupois ounce. However, because such a crown was made with 92.5% silver, such a coin should therefore contain 28.275888 x .925 = 26.1551964 grams of pure silver: 0.840909 of a Troy ounce. A "half crown" from 1658-1920 weighed half an ounce - but similarly, contained slightly less actual silver.

Dealers in silver scrap usually take these things into consideration, and the price of "silver scrap" will usually be correspondingly lower than the current "spot price" for silver. However, unless it is very badly worn or damaged, an old silver or gold coin is usually desirable to collectors and therefore has a higher resale value than the scrap value.

In modern times, ordinary coins no longer contain precious metals. Between 1920 and 1946, British silver coins contain 50% silver - and after 1947, all silver in the ordinary coinage was removed and replaced with cupro-nickel alloy.

American silver coins typically contained 90% silver.

Silver Coin Melt Value Chart

Below is a chart listing the actual amount of precious metals in various coins. Calculate the melt value of coins! Notes are below chart.

More to be added soon!


Coin Type: Date: Coin Weight: Purity: Silver Amount (Troy Ounces): Silver Melt Value:
Crown (Five Shillings) 1844-1902 28.2759 grams 0.925 silver 0.840909 (multiply by spot price)
Crown (Five Shillings) 1927-1937 28.2759 grams 0.5 silver 0.454545
Crown (Five Shillings) 1951 onwards 28.2759 grams No silver content! 0
Double Florin (Four Shillings) 1887-1890 22.621 grams 0.925 silver 0.672727
Half Crown (2 shillings and sixpence) 1830-1919 14.138 grams 0.925 silver 0.42045
Half Crown (2 shillings and sixpence) 1920-1946 14.138 grams 0.5 silver 0.227272
Half Crown (2 shillings and sixpence) 1947-1970 14.138 grams No silver content! 0
Florin (Two Shillings) 1849-1919 11.310 grams 0.925 silver 0.336363
Florin (Two Shillings) 1920-1946 11.310 grams 0.5 silver 0.181818
Florin (Two Shillings) 1947-1970 11.310 grams No silver content! 0
Shilling 1816-1919 5.655 grams 0.925 silver 0.168181
Shilling 1920-1946 5.655 grams 0.5 silver 0.090909
Shilling 1947-1970 5.655 grams No silver content! 0
Sixpence 1816-1919 2.8275888 grams 0.925 silver 0.0840909
Sixpence 1920-1946 2.8275888 grams 0.5 silver 0.0454545
Sixpence 1947-1970 2.8275888 grams No silver content! 0
Threepence 1816-1919 1.4138 grams 0.925 silver 0.042045
Threepence 1920-1946 1.4138 grams 0.5 silver 0.022727
Threepence 1947-1970 1.4138 grams No silver content! 0


Note - for full info on USA silver dollars, including pictures, see our special How Much Silver Is In A Silver Dollar? page.

"Flowing Hair" Silver Half Dollar 1794-1795 More info coming soon!
"Draped Bust" Silver Half Dollar 1796-1807
"Capped Bust" Silver Half Dollar 1807-1839
"Seated Liberty" Silver Half Dollar 1839-1891
"Barber" Silver Half Dollar 1892-1916 12.5 grams 0.9 silver 0.361696
"Walking Liberty" Silver Half Dollar 1916-1947 12.5 grams 0.9 silver 0.361696
"Franklin" Silver Half Dollar 1948-1963 12.5 grams 0.9 silver 0.361696
"Kennedy" Silver Half Dollar 1964 12.5 grams 0.9 silver 0.361696
"Kennedy" Silver Half Dollar 1965-70 12.5 grams 0.4 silver 0.16075
"Kennedy" Silver Half Dollar 1971-74 12.5 grams No silver content! 0

1: proof coins may have different weights and be made of different metals. In general, these are much more rare and many times more valuable as collectors items than the value of their metal content!
2: Older coins than those listed here will typically be far more valuable than their precious metal content. As a rule of thumb, most old coins, such as those that contain actual silver, are worth more to collectors than the value of the silver they contain. If the coin is old and you are intent on 'cashing out', don't sell it for scrap, sell it as a collector's piece. You will almost certainly get much more for it. However, a very badly worn, cleaned or damaged coin that has little value to a collector will essentially hold a "minimum value" of at least the amount of silver it contains. So if you can purchase the silver coin for a price less than the value of its silver content, you almost certainly score a great deal!
3: The copper, nickel or other metals used to 'make up' the rest of the weight of the coin also have some small value, however this is not very great and typically negligible unless you are dealing with a large number of coins.
4: Old coins that have been in circulation are typically worn, so the amount of silver they contain will be very slightly diminished.

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