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Formula Helps Figure Value of Silver

June 12, 1986|DON ALPERT

Question: Several years ago I inherited between $600 and $700 worth of silver coins, all pre-1964. They are halves, quarters, dimes and 20 silver dollars. I don't think any of them are considered to be rare. My question: If I sell them, is there more profit if they are sold by total weight or as individual coins based on their year of production?--R.A.H.

Answer: Your coins, undoubtedly, are circulated. Many people pulled coins out of circulation when the government decided to eliminate silver from United States coins in the '60s. This was a smart move because the coins are worth more than face value. Millions and millions of these silver pieces have been melted.

Other nice pieces are sold individually, but by and large they are just sold as bullion. Some have been bagged and are sold in various denominations. Prices fluctuate, depending on the daily spot market. Buyers and sellers essentially are speculators.

As for your question: Is there more profit by weight or by date? Neither, actually.

The prices for these circulated coins are based on their face value. Dimes, quarters and half dollars are worth four times their face value. That means 10 dimes dated 1964 and earlier are worth $4, four quarters are worth $4, and two half dollars are worth $4. You can figure out the value of your coins by following the same formula.

For every $1 of face value, you should receive $4.

Silver dollars, however, are worth $8 each and up. That's because there's more silver in these Peace and Morgan dollars than in the smaller denominations. Some silver dollars have a premium factor, even when circulated, which is the reason for the $8-and-up disclaimer. The possibility of these good dates showing up in circulated coinage is remote.

Q: Enclosed please find a copy of a certificate I found in an old trunk. I never inquired about its value. Your column inspired me to write to you. I will appreciate any information you may have.--M.M.C.

A: I doubt that your 1926 certificate has value, but it might. Check with a stockbroker to see if it's still valid. Also, write the state of Pennsylvania because the certificate was issued there.

Q: I mailed a check for $175 to the U.S. Mint Liberty Coin Program. The check was cashed, but as yet I have not received the coins. Where can I write to obtain information as to when I will receive the coins?--J.S.

A: Occasionally I receive letters, such as yours, regarding orders from the U.S. Mint or Canadian Mint. Due to the volume of sales these mints handle, I'm sure that there are slip-ups from time to time, but I'm also sure that these are eventually resolved. Most customers receive their orders without a hitch, although it may take a while after your check has been cashed. Patience is the rule. Both mints are totally reliable. The U.S. Mint usually acknowledges receipt of your order and gives you an ID number in case you have any questions. Use that procedure if possible. Otherwise, contact the United States Mint, P.O. Box 8666, Philadelphia, Pa. 19101-8666.

Q: Not long ago you stated the approximate value of various coins, including dimes, half dollars and silver dollars. I would like to know where to see these coins. I live in the central Los Angeles area.--R.C.

A: I quoted prices that a reader might reasonably expect from a coin dealer. Those coins or similar coins would probably cost more when purchased. However, dealer stock fluctuates daily, as do prices. Call any local dealer for price quotes, since prices are competitive. Or, better yet, visit with several dealers before deciding what you want to do.

Coin News

A souvenir card commemorating the International Paper Money Show in Memphis, June 20-22, will be issued by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Featured is the "Landing of the Pilgrims" (pictured on Page 28) from the reverse of a second issue Series 1902 $5 National Currency Note of the Third Charter Period. Souvenir cards are $4 by mail. Request item No. 926 from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Mail Order Sales, Room 602-11A, 14th and C streets S.W., Washington, D.C. 20228. Make check payable to BEP and include return address.

Auction XXXIII, conducted by Joel L. Malter, featuring ancient coins, modern foreign coins, military medals, antiquities and other related material will be sold in three sessions in conjunction with the 23rd Convention of International Numismatics at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton Hotel, 5711 W. Century Blvd. Among interesting auction items are some counterfeit detectors. Auction sessions are Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Catalogues and information are available from Malter & Co., 16661 Ventura Blvd., Suite 518, Encino, Calif. 91436; telephone (818) 784-7772.

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