It is possible to find silver US coins in circulation. You rarely find them in your change anymore, but they are out there and you can get them at face value. Here's how to do it.
US quarters and dimes were made of 90% silver up until 1964. Since then, they have been made of the copper-nickel sandwich we see every day. A common silver dime is worth about $1 and a quarter is worth about $2 in melt value today according to coinflation.com. So it would be worthwhile to find them. Half dollars were also 90% silver up until 1964. Those are worth about $5 each. What many people don't realize is that halves continued to be made of 40% silver from 1965 through 1970, and those are worth about $2 each also. All very interesting, but how do we find them?
The key is you have to search through a lot of coins to find the silver coins. That means that unless you access a lot of coins at work for some reason, you need to get them from a bank. No problem, just go in and ask for a few rolls of coins and search through them. A roll of halves is $10, quarters are also $10, and dimes are $5.
Your best bets are the dimes and halves. There are a lot of dimes and quarters in circulation. A dime is small enough that you may not notice a silver one, so some slip though everyday commerce, and that's why you can find them. Silver quarters are scarcer because they are bigger and more easily noticed. So there are not as many to find. Half dollars basically don't circulate, but they are still made and are sitting in the banks. Since people don't pull them out of everyday change, you can find them in bulk lots from the bank. I recommend you try some of each and see what you think. You may hear this hobby referred to as coin roll hunting by people who practice it.
Here are some practical tips for searching for silver coins using this method. Get rolls from a bank you have an account at. If you start asking for a lot of rolls, some banks will want to charge you a fee if you don't have an account. The coins are delivered to the banks in boxes. You can order boxes from a teller if you want to search a lot of coins. A box of halves costs $500, a box of quarters is also $500, and a box of dimes costs $250.
If your bank has a free coin counter, that is the easiest way to return the coins after searching. If you can unroll the end and put the coins back in after searching, that is good too. If not, sometimes the bank will give you free paper rolls. It is recommended to dump the coins back at a different branch than you pick up from, just to keep the tellers happy. I brought them some chocolates over the Holidays, and they have always treated me nicely.
You can get some coin collecting books and try to fill them up with every date in the series. This is a lot of fun to do with your kids. You can sell the silver coins to coin dealers, but you'll get a better price on Craigslist or Ebay.
All the silver coins pictured in this article were found recently using this method. It's really a thrill to pick a nice shiny silver coin out of a roll. Finding silver in circulation is a form of treasure hunting that many thought was long gone.
Good luck and happy hunting!