Junk silver coins are very popular among survivalists who are concerned with future financial and economic crisis as they can be purchased in bags of coins for not much above the spot price and remain legal tender and can be spent in small amounts.
Junk silver coins refer to those coins minted prior to 1964 and which contain a certain amount of silver, something today’s coins do not.
The condition of the coins is largely immaterial as it is the silver content people are after not the beauty or even the historical value of the coins.
The most popular U.S. junk silver coins are Mercury and Roosevelt dimes, Washington quarters, Franklin half dollars, and the Kennedy half dollars, which were minted on or before 1964. All these coins have a 90% silver composition and called "coin silver".
Although when minted many coins contained 0.7234 troy ounces of silver, it is a standard practice to assume the silver content being .715 due to the inevitable erosion of the coin and therefore the silver content. The less common junk silver coin, however is the Kennedy half dollars from 1965 to 1970, which was composed of only 40% silver.
One of the advantages of silver junk coins is that as it is known the silver content is only a percentage of the total weight, there is no certification or authenticity demanded of the coins as there are with silver bullion bars.
So the U.S. minted coins in 90% silver through 1964 stopping in 1965, the exception being the Kennedy half dollars which continued to be minted but with only 40 percent of silver through to 1970 when it was then discontinued. From then silver all but disappeared except in commemorative coins and special proof issues.
“Junk” really refers to the value of the coins in terms of numismatic collective qualities and not the silver content. A coin collector is generally uninterested in such coins with the exception that you might rarely find a very rare coin in excellent condition. Other than that the coins are bought and sold purely for the silver content and, currently, as the value of silver is rising, so is the price of junk silver coins.
Junk silver prices are tending to rise and so the cost of buying junk silver coins rises too. However the junk silver can usually be bought for a very small mark up or premium over the spot price of silver, particularly during these periods of economic stability.
Although junk silver coin prices remain set to rise as the value of silver rises, they are still an excellent buy for the future whether you are a survivalist or not.