How to Make Money With Silver Half Dollars

By Rich Finzer
A 90 percent silver 1964 Kennedy half-dollar

If you own silver half-dollars, consider yourself fortunate. Silver halves such as the Seated Liberty, Barber, Walking Liberty, Franklin or the 1964 Kennedy are highly collectible. None are in active circulation, and many were melted in 1980, when the price of silver spiked to an all-time high. If the coins you own have been graded and encapsulated by either the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation or Professional Coin Grading Service, depending on their Sheldon Scale grade, mint mark and rarity, their "Red Book" catalog value may be in the four-figure price range. Of course, the only way to make money with your coins is to sell them.

Using your coin catalog, determine the potential value of your silver halves. This task will be much easier if your coins have been professionally graded. If your coins are "raw," meaning never graded and loose, hold them by the reeded edge. The oil from your hands can damage or tarnish the silver.

Visit any auction websites selling silver half-dollars. The prices may provide you with valuable data to help determine which, if not all, of the coins you decide to sell.

Contact several silver coin buyers. Explain that you wish to sell a quantity of 90 percent silver half-dollar coins. If your coins have been graded and encapsulated, convey this information to the dealer.

Request a buy price quote from the dealer(s). If they ask, send, email or fax images of the coins to them.

Wait for a response and buy price bid from all of the dealers you contact.

Compare the price quotations from each of the dealers and select the highest.

Ship, mail or deliver your coins and receive your money. If you reside in a large metropolitan area with numerous local coin dealers, you may be able to dispose of your coins in a single day.

Tip

A coin catalog, any coin catalog, is at best an educated estimation of a coin's value. The real "buy" price offered by a dealer will usually be less. Remember, the dealer has to make money too. Also keep in mind that a coin's price is generally determined by three factors: condition (grade), rarity and the current price of silver. However, if you should be lucky enough to own a 1927-S Walking Liberty in a grade of MS-64, a coin buyer will jump at the chance to purchase it regardless of the current price of silver.

Warning

Never polish or attempt to "clean" your silver coins as a way to enhance their appearance. You may actually be damaging them, particularly if you try to remove the natural toning which some silver coins develop. Based upon the age of the coin and its overall condition, many naturally toned coins are highly prized by specialized collectors.

About the Author

Rich Finzer earned his boating license in 1960 and started his writing career in 1969. His writing has appeared in "Northern Breezes," "Southwinds," "Living Aboard," "Good Old Boat," "Latitudes & Attitudes," "Small Craft Advisor," "Life in the Finger Lakes," "BackHome" and "Dollar Stretcher" magazines. His maple syrup has won awards in competition. Rich has a Bachelor of Science in communications from Ithaca College.