Many young people today don't know a lot about silver, our history of silver coins and how they might be very important in the not-too-distant future.
For most people today, buying silver is a way to "protect wealth," not necessarily as a money-making investment. So, if we have inflation, and lose value in the US dollar, silver will likely rise in value, or, in other words, will cost more dollars after the dollars have lost value. So, instead of silver being worth more, they should retain their buying power.
For example, $5 in silver quarters, back in 1915 might have been able to buy a good pair of shoes. Today $5 in silver quarters (dated 1964 and earlier) is worth about $60 to $65, which is enough for a good pair of shoes today (from some stores or online). So, as can also be said about gold, silver has retained its purchasing power over the years. And many, many currencies have lost part or all of their value. In fact, since the early 1900s, it is believe that the US Dollar has lost over 90% of its purchasing power.
There are many type of silver you can purchase... bars, ingots, US-minted one-dollar Eagles, custom-designed rounds, jewelry, and so on.
Usually, you pay a high premium for silver jewelry, so that usually isn't a good way to preserve wealth. You should also stay away from custom-designed (one-ounce) rounds, as they usually have an unreasonable premium - and most investors don't like or trust them, making them hard to resell. Custom-designed rounds, or ingots often have designs with animals or Santa Claus, or something not minted by a trusted source - such as a government mint.
Although you might think governments aren't trusted for different reasons... the gold and silver coins minted by the US Government are among the most trusted and sought-after forms of gold and silver!
One of the best, safest forms of silver to buy is what they call "JUNK SILVER."
Junk silver is not junk. Its only called that because its not collectible or it has no numismatic value above the silver content in the coin.
When you buy "junk silver," you're concerned about its "melt value." In other words, it doesn't matter if your junk silver coin is dented, scratched or run over by a train. So, if your junk silver coins are sold to a refiner and they melt them to pour into bars or ingots, they're only concerned about the silver value alone.
Junk silver includes (1964 and earlier) US Half Dollars and some Silver Dollars in poor condition. But if you're just starting out, I'd recommend you stick with dimes and quarters, since they are more divisible ... easier to convert or use for smaller transactions.
US Silver dimes, quarters and half dollars are made with 90% Silver and 10% Copper. The copper content helped harden the coins and make them more durable.
Each silver quarter weights 6.25 grams.
Each silver dime weighs 2.5 grams.
Each silver half dollar weighs 12.5 grams.
These weights may vary slightly with wear (so stay away from those "slickers" / highly worn)
So, the amount of silver in 4 silver quarters is the same amount of silver in 10 silver dimes or 2 silver half dollars (dated 1964 or earlier).
NOTE: 1965 to 1969 Kennedy half dollars contain 40% silver, but that's an exception to US silver coins, and it is best to stay away from those, and they are less desirable for most silver buyers. However 1964 Kennedy half dollars are 90% silver, like all other 1964 US silver coins.
Another good reason to buy junk silver is that there is usually a minimal premium charged by sellers.
WHERE TO BUY JUNK SILVER? Many local coin stores regularly buy and sell junk silver. When buying, they usually pay a little under "melt value" and when selling, charge a little above "melt value."
You can also search the Internet for coin shows in your area. Coin dealers who set up tables at malls, or other locations, usually sell small bags of silver in face-value denominations of $5, $10 or higher.
At the time of this article, the "melt" or silver value of $1 in silver coins is about $12, so you'd expect to pay $13 to $14 per each dollar in junk silver coins. A $10 roll of silver quarters should cost you about $130 to $140.
Also, some of the big Gold dealers that advertise on TV sell silver in different forms, sometime including junk silver. But shop around! There could be a significant difference between dealer premiums. I find the best deals at coin shows, or local dealers.
When buying junk silver in dimes, you will usually get mostly Roosevelt dimes, minted from 1946 to 1964, with the image of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Junk silver dimes might also include "mercury" or "winged liberty" dimes, dated 1916 to 1945. And sometime, you'll find some worn, lower grade Barber dimes (named after its designer Charles E. Barber), dated 1892 to 1916.
You can find out all you need to know at coinflation.com
Good luck in stacking them silver coins!