40% Silver Coins

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40% Junk Silver Coins

The coins that were minted by the US Government before 1965 all contained 90% silver. In the early 1960s when the USA was facing a silver shortage, and the prices for precious metals started rising, Congress had to reduce the silver content in new coins. Moreover, when the silver price began to go up, people started hoarding the silver coins that were in circulation, causing the mint to produce more coins. However, this increased production did not end the hoarding, and so the silver content was reduced in coins minted from 1965 on. The coins minted between 1965 and 1970 all contain 40% silver and 60% copper. Even this step did not help the government or the mint, as people were still hoarding these 40% coins, and so after 1970, coins began to contain only copper and nickel. This transition ended the silver coinage of US, a rich and glorious history, which is remembered even today. Collectors and investors rush to add these junk silver coins containing 90% and 40% silver to their collection and investment portfolio.

Popular 40% Junk Silver Coins

The popular coins in the 40% silver category are:

  1. Kennedy Half Dollars (minted from 1965-1970)
  2. Eisenhower Dollars (minted from 1971 – 1976)

Kennedy Half Dollars

  • Conversion from 90% to 40% Silver

First issued in 1964, only a few months after the untimely assassination of the President John F Kennedy. The Half Dollar is a key historical piece of American silver coinage. These rare silver coins were minted to honor the most beloved President of the nation and quickly became a sought-after collectible.

The 40% pure silver coins replaced these 90% pure silver coins from the beginning of the year 1965. Again in 1971, copper-nickel alloy coins replaced the 40% pure silver coins. The change in both instances was due to the rise in silver prices during the 1960s.

  • Structure of 40% Silver Kennedy Half Dollar

Kennedy Half Dollar 40% silver coins consisted of two layers. The inner layer was made of 21% Silver and 79% copper while the outer layer contained 80% silver and 20% copper. Although the silver content of the Kennedy Half Dollars changed to 40% silver, the design of the coin was unchanged.

  • Kennedy Half Dollar Design

On the obverse side of this remarkable coin is the profile portrait of John F. Kennedy, encircled by the inscriptions “In God We Trust”, “Liberty”, and the mintage year. Mr. Gilroy Roberts, the ninth Chief Engraver of the United States Mint, created this fascinating image with the help of Jacqueline Kennedy, the widow of the late president.

The reverse side of these iconic 40% silver coins contains a modified interpretation of the Presidential Seal. An American bald eagle is depicted with its wings outspread, holding an olive branch and a bundle of arrows in his talons while sustaining a striped shield and carrying a scroll in its beak showing the inscription "E Pluribus Unum". The majestic bird is surrounded by the 50 stars of the American states and the coin's edge is engraved with its denomination and “United States of America”.

Eisenhower Dollars

The Peace Dollar was the last Silver Dollar coin containing 90% silver, with the series ending in 1935. However, in 1971, a new one dollar coin was issued by the US Mint, the Eisenhower Dollar.  Legislators were looking forward to introducing a one-dollar coin into commerce, as the US Mint had not minted any one-dollar coins in the last 35 years.

When President Dwight D. Eisenhower died in March 1969, there was a tremendous outpouring of support, and several proposals flowed in for the opportunity to honor him with a new coin. However, a dispute about the choice of metal for minting the coin caused a delay in the passing of the bill. Finally, it was agreed upon that 40% silver would be used for mint collectible coins and base metal for circulation coins. The then president, Richard Nixon, authorized the Eisenhower Dollar on December 31, 1970. The coin was issued by the United States Mint from 1971 to 1978; it was the first coin of that denomination issued by the mint since the Peace Dollar series ended in 1935.

  • Eisenhower Dollars Design

The obverse side of the coin features the profile image of the President, surrounded by the engravings "Liberty", "In God We Trust", and the mintage year. On the reverse side of the coin is the insignia of Apollo XI– an eagle flying over the moon's surface firmly holding an olive branch in its claws.

A view of North America from space is displayed on the background. This image is encircled by 13 stars, the coin's denomination, and the phrases "E Pluribus Unum" and "United States of America".  The coin was designed by Mint Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro. US Mint Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro designed this coin the short life of the series, and its affordable cost has made Eisenhower Dollars favorites among collectors.

Impressive Shopping Options

Keeping in mind different client needs, we carry an array of 40% Kennedy Half Dollar options. One can choose from bags or rolls of coins of different face values based on their budget.

Investing in 40% Silver Dollars

The 40% junk silver coins are great as "survivor coins". These can be used as currency or for bartering in case of a complete collapse in the value of fiat currency. These coins will be a means of financial capacity at such a time. Due to their low premiums over spot price, they are a popular way to own silver affordably. They are easily recognized as they are legal tender of the USA. They also offer easy divisibility and liquidity.