How to Find Silver Coins – The Easiest Way

Easily tell which coins are silver by viewing them from the side.

Whether it’s in jewelry, bullion, or coins, I’ve always been drawn to silver. So naturally, I like to find silver where ever I can. One of my favorite places to find silver is in old silver coins. Not only do old silver coins contain much more silver value than the face value of the coins, they’re a fascinating piece of history. Plus, you can either sell the coins for a profit, use them for jewelry, or add them to your personal collection and have something of real value to pass on.

In this article, we’ll look at the easiest way I know to find silver coins, and you can still do it today!

The Secret: Look at the edge of the coins

This may seem obvious for those familiar with silver coins but even if that’s the case, this one little trick has great value. Not only can you determine if a coin is silver within a split-second, you can also use this method to sort through hundreds or even thousands of coins in no time at all.

The reason being: When the US Government removed silver from US coins like dimes and quarters, the new metal composition consisted of of 75% copper. The copper is sandwiched in the coin in such a way that it’s easily visible on the coin edge and when viewing a stack of coins it is simple to tell which ones contain mostly silver and which are mostly copper.

In fact, nowadays, that’s where the real value is, since finding silver in pocket change is all but a thing of the past. If you want to find silver coins (and pay face value for them), you’re gonna have to sort through a lot of coins. This means getting rolls from the bank. It’d be a nearly impossible task if you had to check each individual date but you don’t… You can just stand a bunch of coins together on edge and glance at them to instantly know which ones are silver and which aren’t.

This makes it possible to find any silver coins from within big batches almost instantly and that’s exactly how people who still find silver in change are doing it today.

Granted, you have to get the coins from somewhere… this means one or more trips to the bank and having a decent amount of extra cash that you can cycle into coin rolls. At $5 for a roll of dimes, or $10 each for a roll of quarters or half dollars, this can quickly add up to several hundred dollars or even a thousand bucks or more in change. The good news is you now know how to cherry pick the silver coins quickly. The bad news is that silver coins are few and far between and there are no guarantees that you’ll even find one, let alone several… Plus, once you’ve sorted through the coins, you’ll have to cash the clad (non-silver) coins back in. Depending on your bank, this may or may not be extremely painful.

So in the end, there are still silver coins floating around out there, waiting for someone savvy enough to snag them up. But the time and effort involved means it’s not economical in the least bit and is better suited as a hobby.

Of course, if you REALLY want to find silver in pocket change, it’s tough to beat getting a job as a cashier. 🙂

How to Find More Silver – Look at Coin Jewelry and Old Foreign Coins

Here are two more ways I personally use to increase the amount of REAL silver found every year.  And once you know how, you’ll be able to increase the amount of silver you find as well.

Each of these techniques is simply one aspect, one small nugget of knowledge to add to your precious metal finding toolkit.  By themselves, their value is quite effective, but still limited.
One key to becoming a superstar silver finder… the key to consistent silver finds and making way more money than you thought possible… is to learn as much as you can.  Each time you run across a juicy nugget of silver-finding goodness, study and learn it, and add it to your silver-finding knowledge kit!   As time goes on and you learn new ways to find silver, previously unknown sources, new ways to spot it or new places to look, you’ll realize that finding cheap silver gets easier and easier… you just gotta LEARN IT and DO IT.

Two New Ways to Find More Silver

I call these methods “new”, simply because they’re new to our discussion on how to find more silver, but the methods themselves are tried and true and have proved themselves to be very valuable in my personal experience.

Look at Coin Jewelry

The first method for finding more silver is to look at coin jewelry.  While this may seem simple and obvious, don’t dismiss it so quickly.  It’s true that a lot of coin jewelry uses fake coins, but some don’t.  Some use real coins, and a few use real silver coins.  Everything from beads to clasps, pendants to charms, bracelets, and necklaces have been made from both real and fake (or “simulated/copied”) coins.  The point I’d like to stress is that you PAY ATTENTION to coin jewelry because SOMETIMES IT’S REAL.

Perhaps my favorite example of real silver coin jewelry is a Native American “Squash Blossom” (silver necklace) a gold buying friend sold to me several years ago.  The beads on this necklace were made from silver US Mercury dimes.  Each bead was made by rounding two silver dimes into small domes, drilling a hole in the center, then soldering them together into a bead.  The whole necklace contained over 50 silver dimes and sold for $410 US!

One more note on coin jewelry, that also happens to tie in well with our next silver-finding method, is to make sure you take a close look at coin jewelry made from old foreign coins.  These often get overlooked because people assume the coins aren’t real, they “can’t be” real.  Well, sometimes they are real, and sometimes they’re silver as well.


Find More Silver in Old Foreign Coins

Another great place to look to find more silver is in old foreign coins.  Most of us realize that old foreign coins can contain silver, yet not many people look here.  Either we feel like we don’t know enough to tell which ones are silver, feel like we won’t find anything anyway, or feel like there are so many different foreign coins that it’s too overwhelming and we’ll never figure it all out.

Let’s dispell that non-sense right now, finding real silver in a massive sea of old foreign coins is quite a bit easier than you may think… and there are many “untapped” local resources where you can take advantage of this knowledge and start finding more silver right away!

The first thing to keep in mind, is that finding silver in foreign coins is much like finding silver in US (or ANY) coins… that is to say, silver is found ONLY in the OLDER coins, at least when it comes to coins meant for “general circulation”.
So when you’re looking for foreign silver coins, the first thing to be conscious of is the date range of the coins you’re looking through.  Many collections of foreign coins get grouped together in somewhat confined date ranges.  Usually the dates correspond to when a family member visited the country and/or acquired the coins but it can also be because the coins looks similar so they get grouped together.
In any case, to find silver, you gotta look at the old coins, and the older the better.  Along these same lines, if you’re thirsting for knowledge, a good place to start is learning the “silver cut-off date” for various countries.  That is, the latest year each country made coins from real silver.  Learn a few of these dates, and the next time you run across foreign coins, you know that the silver coins must be earlier than a certain date.  If all the coins come after that date, it can save you a lot of time searching.

Several silver Cut-Off Dates:

United States – 1964 was the last year the US put silver in dimes and quarters and the last year that half dollars were made with 90% silver.  1965-1969 US half dollars contain 40% silver.

Canada – 1967-1968 this can be slightly confusing so just remember that 1967 and earlier Canadian dimes and quarters contain silver, and they MIGHT contain silver in 1968.  The 1968 dimes and quarters that do not contain silver will stick to a magnet.
In 1967, the Canadian dime and quarter changed compositions… some are 80% silver, some are 50%.
In 1968, the dime and quarter changed again, only this time some of them are 50% silver and the others have no silver content.

Great Britain – 1946 is the last year.  I really like this one because you can run across old silver British pence quite often (for the price of “junk” foreign coins).  From 1920 until 1946, silver British coins contained 50% silver.  Before that, they contain 92.5% (sterling) silver.

Australia – 1964 is the last year for silver, except for the 50 cent coin, which was 80% silver in 1966 (but was withdrawn due to silver value being higher than face value).  I like finding old silver Australian coins and it’s another that happens frequently because people miss the fact that they contained silver up until the 1960’s!

So now you’re armed with enough knowledge to find some silver foreign coins (and hopefully enough of an appetite to learn more).

If you’re looking for places to search, try the local coin shops and antique stores and be sure to visit the next coin show that comes to town as these shows usually have a multitude of dealers with literal tons worth of cheap foreign coins they’d love to unload.

Happy Hunting!