Most coins minted in the United States before 1965 were 90% silver and 10% copper. Silver at the time was a cost-effective way to produce coins that were both durable and attractive. All other U.S. denominations other than pennies and nickels at one time were struck using 90% silver.
In 1965, Public Law 88-36 reduced the amount of silver in coins from 90% to 40%. Silver was eliminated from all coins in the United States beginning in 1970. As a result, silver coins containing 90% are valuable based on their silver content and are extremely desirable to collectors and investors.
The Melt Value (MV) of these coins is calculated using the following formula:
MV = Current Spot Price x Troy ounces per $1 face value x face value
As an example the melt value of a single Morgan Silver Dollar assuming a current spot price of $17.02 is: $17.02 x .7734 x $1 = $13.16
Morgan Silver Dollars (1878-1904, 1921)
The Morgan Silver Dollar, named after its designer George T. Morgan was the first silver dollar minted after the demonetization of silver set by Congress in the Coinage Act of 1873. Because of its size and silver content, the Morgan Silver Dollar is the most valuable silver coin minted in the United States in the late nineteenth century and early part of the twentieth century.
The obverse features a left-facing Lady Liberty while the reverse depicts a majestic eagle holding arrows and an olive branch. Each Morgan Dollar contains .7734 Troy ounces of silver with a diameter of an inch and a half.
The Peace Dollar was only minted for a total of ten years. The Pittman Act in 1918 required the U.S. Mint to strike millions of silver dollars beginning in 1921. The Peace Silver Dollar design was the result of government official advocating for a design that was more reflective of the peace that followed World War I. The coin was first struck on December 28, 1921, thus only about a million were coined with the 1921 date.
Designed by Anthony de Francisci, the obverse features the facial profile of the Goddess of Liberty while the reverse depicts a bald eagle grasping an olive branch above "PEACE." The obverse of all coins features "IN GOD WE TRVST," the Latin spelling of "IN GOD WE TRUST."
Each Peace dollar contains .7734 Troy ounces of silver.
The term Junk Silver refers to silver coins which have no numismatic or collectible value above the silver bullion value of the coin. Junk Silver is any combination of 90% silver U.S. coins containing .715 Troy ounces of 99.9 percent silver for every $1 face value. The Morgan Silver Dollar and Peace Silver Dollar are excluded from Junk Silver because they contain .7734 Troy ounces of silver per $1 face value.