How Much Are Coins Worth?

By | October 17, 2015
 Silver Dime

1964 Silver Roosevelt Dime

Dateline Oct 16, 2106: How much are your coins really worth?  We’re talking about their real value. Yes, the nominal value of a penny is one cent, a nickel is five cents, a dime is ten cents and a quarter is 25 cents. But what are modern US coins made of and if melted down what could they be sold for?

How Much are Modern US Coins Really Worth?

Roosevelt Dime

Modern US Dime: No Silver Content

Modern dimes and quarters, the common coins many Americans have in their pocket change, contain no precious metal content. Modern dimes and quarters are made of a cheap alloy of 91.67% copper, 8.33% nickel.

Even the lowly penny, which used to be made of 95% copper alloy, is now composed of 97.5% zinc with only 2.5% copper.

Check out the real melt value of the dimes and quarters in your pocket change (values from Coinflation):

  • Modern US Dime: Face Value = 10 cents; Composition: Copper-Nickel Alloy; Real Melt Value = $0.01
  • Modern US Quarter: Face Value = 25 cents; Composition: Copper-Nickel Alloy; Real Melt Value = $0.03

Comparison to Pre-1964 US Coins

1964 JFK Silver Half Dollar

1964 JFK Silver Half Dollar: Made of 90% Silver

Dimes, quarters, halfs and dollar coins minted prior to 1964 were composed of 90% silver. Here’s the value of these coins as of mid-October 2105 (values from Coinflation):

  • Silver Dime: Face Value = 10 cents; Real Value = $1.16
  • Silver Quarter: Face Value = 25 cents; Real Value = $2.91
  • Silver Half Dollar: Face Value = 50 cents; Real Value = $5.82
  • Silver Dollar: Face Value = 1 dollar; Real Value = $12.44

The Lesson Here:

1932 quarter

Silver Washington Quarter

The lesson here is that modern American coinage is worth a lot less than its face value. (It’s not worthless, but it is worth less than you may have thought).

  • Modern coins derive their face value by virtue of government law and proclamation, not because they are made of something particularly valuable.
  • For more information, see our white paper on Fiat Currency.

Prior to the advent of fiat currency, when dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollars were made of 90 % silver, US coinage had real tangible value. Moreover,  coins made of precious metals have risen in price since they were minted.

What This Means for You

If you’ve read this far, you know that coins made of silver and gold not only hold their face value, but rise in price with time. Consider making an investment in real coins made of precious metals. Buy through our preferred broker, Golden Eagle Coins, and begin accumulating coinage of real value. As the dollar decreases in value, these real coins will increase.

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8 thoughts on “How Much Are Coins Worth?

  1. Taz


    I work at a gas station and get all types of unique coins and bills. The new gold dollar coins I figured don’t go for much. But I saw and older silver dollar coin with lady liberty I believe and started to buy it, because I thought maybe it is worth something more. I forgot all about the coin before it was time to go home sucks to know it was actually worth something.



    1. Mike Post author

      Hello Taz,

      You work in a great location to find coinage that may be rare or unusual. Be sure to save anything that looks a little different. Then check these coins out when you get off work. You may actually find something of value!

  2. sarah

    Your site is very informative especially for people who are just starting to learn about gold and silver coins. Not too long ago I came across some silver dollars and it looked like they have a misprint. Is there any value in coins having misprints, and if so how can I learn more?

    1. Mike Post author

      Hello Sarah,

      Thanks for visiting and for your interest n gold and silver coins. Indeed, there is a great following for “misprints” in coins. Coin collectors refer to these as “Error Coins”, and they can command great priced for the owners who wis to sell them. I will be preparing a post on error coins in the near future.

  3. Rob

    I live in the UK and I am sure it is a similar story with our old coins being worth a lot more and also increasing in value. It’s interesting to see the value of the old silver US coins the way you have listed them, $1 now over $12 in worth, great.

    I would be interested to see a post here about the value of old UK coins, I will take a look around your site to see if you have already posted one. You got me thinking now 🙂

    1. Mike Post author

      Hey Rob,

      Thanks for visiting and offering your suggestion. British coins of yesteryear were made of precious metals and they are with far more than face value now. I’ll get a post out on it in the near future.

  4. Vigo

    Hi Mike! I love your website! Just read your post ” How much are coins worth.” I love coins because I myself collect coins. I come from small country Latvia (Europe). Every year they launch new coins but with limited edition. Before Euros there was Lats. At that moment they are worth nothing just value on coin. But I like to collect them because of the different faces on coins and every picture was some particulary place or object in Latvia. I nearly have every coin there are. And before Euros 1Ls was worth 1eur. Now 3 years ago Latvian currency changed to Euros and some of my single coins are worth about 100eur because of the limited edition. Still like to keep them because want to show my kids something special that we used to have.

    1. Mike Post author

      Hello Vigo,

      Great to hear from you. Sounds like you are an avid collector and for the right reasons as well. Best wishes for your continued enjoyment in the area of coin collecting. Drop by again anytime.


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