Author Topic: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?  (Read 12932 times)

Offline Spamity Calamity

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Just something I was pondering today. We say collect the pre 65 coins you can use it for barter or sell it if the SHTF for you. They hold value over time, a hedge against inflation etc, etc. We say these things because they coins are mostly silver 90 percent in fact, thats almost pure silver. But its illegal to melt down coins? So really we dont have a way of "getting to" the silver right? From what Ive read its possible to melt the coins yourself. But to refine it to .99 percent is not really feasible. So you would have to send the coins off to a refiner, but who is going to do that if its illegal? I guess you could melt them down yourself and then send them to the refiner, but it seems like a heck of a lot of trouble.

So ultimately these coins have value to...us? Wouldnt it be wiser to go with the refined ingots because of this?

BTW please feel free to slap me and call me an idiot if Im missing something. I hope my post is clear im a bit rushed to post it.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2009, 05:55:24 PM »
The silver coins you own are yours so do with them what you want. They are just minted and backed by the US government.

Offline Spamity Calamity

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2009, 06:11:39 PM »
I guess Im not making myself very clear. I apologize. It seems to me that there is no practical way to "get to" the silver in pre-65 coins if it is illegal to melt them down. For this reason, Im unsure if its not better to go with ingots.

Offline donaldj

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2009, 06:26:23 PM »
By it being in a commonly recognizable shape, you are able to more easily assert its weight and purity. Not too many people are going to go to the trouble to make forgeries of this, ergo it has "faith" backing its overall value.

By melting it into an ingot, you are introducing doubt into its weight and purity, and thus its value, because it is no longer in a commonly recognizable form. Furthermore, depending on the size of your ingot, you may be essentially making a "larger bill". It's hard to buy a can of pop when all you have is a $100 bill. You might be doing the same. This is, of course, assuming the party you hope to trade with trusts your word that it is pure silver, or has the means to verify it for themselves.

I personally wouldn't do it unless I needed to for some industrial purpose, needed to coat my bullets in silver to help fight werewolves, or for some reason needed the ingot as opposed to verifiable coinage. I also don't know how they could prove it was a coin at one time, once melted. Unless they put some wild trace element in the coin that would still be present in the ingot, but in a country making real-value coinage, they probably never saw the need to do that.

Do you need the silver for something or are you just speculating about the wealth?

Offline Spamity Calamity

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2009, 07:06:30 PM »
By it being in a commonly recognizable shape, you are able to more easily assert its weight and purity. Not too many people are going to go to the trouble to make forgeries of this, ergo it has "faith" backing its overall value.

By melting it into an ingot, you are introducing doubt into its weight and purity, and thus its value, because it is no longer in a commonly recognizable form. Furthermore, depending on the size of your ingot, you may be essentially making a "larger bill". It's hard to buy a can of pop when all you have is a $100 bill. You might be doing the same. This is, of course, assuming the party you hope to trade with trusts your word that it is pure silver, or has the means to verify it for themselves.

I personally wouldn't do it unless I needed to for some industrial purpose, needed to coat my bullets in silver to help fight werewolves, or for some reason needed the ingot as opposed to verifiable coinage. I also don't know how they could prove it was a coin at one time, once melted. Unless they put some wild trace element in the coin that would still be present in the ingot, but in a country making real-value coinage, they probably never saw the need to do that.

Do you need the silver for something or are you just speculating about the wealth?


just pondering and speculating really. But now that youve got me thinking about silver bullets for werewolves... :D

Ok so after some more googling around this is what Ive found out. It is in fact NOT illegal to melt down pre 65 coins. There was a brief ban on the practice back in the day but now you can do it just fine.  In fact there are many fine refineries that will be happy to melt and refine your pre 65 coins into ingots. It IS illegal to melt pennies and nickels currently. Because of the value of copper and zinc right now. Now I guess it is possible for the government to make it illegal melt your silver coins in the future but Im thinking this is highly unlikely.

So lesson learned: junk silver is a great investment and im an idiot for starting this thread.

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2009, 09:59:39 PM »
The reason it was illegal for a time to melt silver coins was the fact that when the clad coins came out, the silver ones began disappearing immediately. The mints were running 24/7 trying to replace all the dimes and quarters that disappeared. The hope was to slow down the loss of silver coinage to circulation. It didn't work.

The same thing is the reasoning behind making it currently illegal to melt copper cents and nickels. If everyone else starts hording them, the replacement cost is high. I imagine this law will change when there are enough new cents in circulation that the copper ones won't be missed.

I am curious how long it will take them to come out with a new nickel that isn't, well, nickel.

Offline Stein

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2010, 11:48:38 AM »
I'll ask a simple question - how often do people melt down the silver rounds (or bars or any other form) they own?  In PAW, assuming vampires are not rampant, what practical use would silver have?

Offline Cool Blue

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2010, 11:57:46 AM »
Here in Canada we actually still use copper in our pennies.  The price of copper means that a penny is actually worth more than 1 cent.

Turns out that there is actually a company that is melting down pennies and reselling the copper at a higher value; which is illegal to do in Canada.

Luckily for the company they truck their coins to the USA and melt them down there!

I suppose if you had too, you guys could melt down US coins in Canada to avoid US legislation.

Offline Stein

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2010, 12:18:57 PM »
Here in Canada we actually still use copper in our pennies.  The price of copper means that a penny is actually worth more than 1 cent.

Turns out that there is actually a company that is melting down pennies and reselling the copper at a higher value; which is illegal to do in Canada.

Luckily for the company they truck their coins to the USA and melt them down there!

I suppose if you had too, you guys could melt down US coins in Canada to avoid US legislation.

Better yet, trade my US pennies for a few more Canadian pennies then melt them.

Offline mash

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2010, 08:22:50 PM »
I'll ask a simple question - how often do people melt down the silver rounds (or bars or any other form) they own?  In PAW, assuming vampires are not rampant, what practical use would silver have?

I agree with donaldj, I think melting the coins is a Really Bad Idea. Forgetting for a minute that a collector would probably pay some ridiculous amount for it, let's say somebody offered to pay you with either an old Morgan dollar, or a lump of metal that they told you was melted down from an old Morgan dollar... in a PAW we are concerned about the silver as a medium of exchange, not a pretty shiny collector's item.

If you know anything about coins you know that a Morgan dollar has a little over 24 grams, or a little over 3/4 ounce of silver. If somebody has shaved some off it's pretty easy to tell. With that other lump well, you are just taking their word that it is what they say it is, and that it's the percentage that they say it is, and unless you are carrying a set of scales around, that it weighs what they say it does.... you get the point.

Offline Spamity Calamity

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2010, 04:10:33 PM »
I agree with donaldj, I think melting the coins is a Really Bad Idea. Forgetting for a minute that a collector would probably pay some ridiculous amount for it, let's say somebody offered to pay you with either an old Morgan dollar, or a lump of metal that they told you was melted down from an old Morgan dollar... in a PAW we are concerned about the silver as a medium of exchange, not a pretty shiny collector's item.

Well this wasnt really the point of my thread and Im not terribly interested in PAW (whatever that means Im assuming that means Post Apocalpse World?). I was talking about real life (or pre-PAW?) where I would send off my silver to a refiner who would melt and refine my silver. The product I would get back wouldnt be "a lump of metal" it would be a stamped round with the purity, weight, and the name of the mint just like any other silver bullion.

Offline mash

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2010, 04:23:54 PM »
Well this wasnt really the point of my thread and Im not terribly interested in PAW (whatever that means Im assuming that means Post Apocalpse World?). I was talking about real life (or pre-PAW?) where I would send off my silver to a refiner who would melt and refine my silver. The product I would get back wouldnt be "a lump of metal" it would be a stamped round with the purity, weight, and the name of the mint just like any other silver bullion.

Ah-ha. Gotcha. Not a bad idea although I would think you would waste lots of money on the whole operation. You'd probably be better off just buying 1 oz rounds that are clearly marked "1 oz 999 silver" from the get-go.

Offline Serellan

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2010, 04:35:24 PM »
I honestly don't believe that pre-65 quarters will have any more value post SHTF than regular quarters.

Why are you going to barter with?  A coin collector?

An average joe doesn't know the silver content of a quarter.


Offline kiteflyer

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2010, 04:58:18 PM »


   The average joe/jane will learn fast! It will take too much energy soon to melt anything like gold or silver.There are a lot of bogus copy coins out there in clad,coated or filled so beware when you barter in change.

               kiteflyer



I honestly don't believe that pre-65 quarters will have any more value post SHTF than regular quarters.

Why are you going to barter with?  A coin collector?

An average joe doesn't know the silver content of a quarter.



Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2010, 05:09:56 PM »
First it isn't illegal to melt down pre 65 coins.  At times the gobernment passes TEMPORARY laws to prevent the melting of coins that are still in common circulation.  Like pennies when copper spiked.  These laws have always been TEMPORARY. 

Next you don't need to melt a pre 65 coin (which is 1964 and back before some assclown says it is pre 64 which would be 1963 and back) for them to have silver value, they are silver.

Serellan, I am sorry but you are just flat wrong.  While there will be a period of time when any currency will be worthless after a disaster in time as society rebuilds silver and gold will always be usable as money, they always have been. 

If silver had value 5000 years ago as money and it still has value today, which it has and does, we would be quite short sighted to believe that something as insignificant as the collapse of the US economy would change that.  Yep I said insignificant, we are not as important as we lead ourselves to believe over a 5000 year time line.

Oh god does this mean I agree with kiteflye!   ;D

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2010, 05:12:35 PM »
...Oh god does this mean I agree with kiteflye!   ;D
I couldn't even bring myself to post and have it seem like I did.  ;)

Offline Serellan

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2010, 05:19:22 PM »

Serellan, I am sorry but you are just flat wrong.  While there will be a period of time when any currency will be worthless after a disaster in time as society rebuilds silver and gold will always be usable as money, they always have been. 

If silver had value 5000 years ago as money and it still has value today, which it has and does, we would be quite short sighted to believe that something as insignificant as the collapse of the US economy would change that.  Yep I said insignificant, we are not as important as we lead ourselves to believe over a 5000 year time line.

Oh god does this mean I agree with kiteflye!   ;D

I don't disagree at all that silver will have value PSHTF, in fact I really want to start collecting silver (both for a possible SHTF situation, and for a little nest egg for my daughter if nothing ever happens).  I've been wanting to set up a 1 coin a month order, just figuring out the best way to do it (shipping is a killer!).

What I don't agree on is that in a PSHTF situation, most people besides preppers or coin collectors will know or believe the value of a pre-65 coin for barter purposes.  Most people are just not educated in this area, and trying to convince some random person that they should trade me for their tomatoes because THESE quarters are silver (I promise!) seems unlikely.


Offline Spamity Calamity

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2010, 06:12:07 PM »
Ah-ha. Gotcha. Not a bad idea although I would think you would waste lots of money on the whole operation. You'd probably be better off just buying 1 oz rounds that are clearly marked "1 oz 999 silver" from the get-go.

Oh yes it would be a money losing operation. It might be worth it for  melting down and refining things like sterling silver junk like that. I had started this thread under a fault assumption. That assumption was it was illegal to melt down coins (didnt think about Canada though thanks Cool Blue). So I thought to myself "well hell if it the reason pre 65 coins are worth more is because of their silver content but if you cant ever get to the silver than are they really worth anything?". I guess I also assumed that there was no TEOTWAWKI but rather a horrible depression where there was still a government to enforce a ban on melting of coins. But as everybody can see in the fifth post I figured out that my assumption was wrong and that you very much can melt us currency except for temporary bans of course. I guess thats not to mean that there couldnt be one in the future but I think its highly unlikely. Notice I also called myself an idiot for starting this thread which I very much am because I could have spent five minutes on google and figured it out.

Offline mash

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2010, 06:56:54 PM »
On that topic I have read when the bottom fell out from under the peso in Argentina, it was possible to use old silver cutlery and tableware, gold and silver chains & jewelry, etc. as barter items, even during the worst parts.

I think in general people will find out pretty quickly what has value and what is good for TP. So kiteflyer I am in agreement with ya too.

And spammity you are definitely not an idiot buddy.

Offline EP78

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Re: If its illegal to melt down coins then do pre 65 coins have value?
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2018, 10:06:51 AM »
Know this is an old thread, but came across it the other day while researching what the best thing to do with this big a** jar of pre-64 silver coins I "inherited" last year when my Granny passed. Papaw started sticking them in there when they changed from silver before he passed in '70, Granny kept them for me cause she knew I dealt in silver/gold - coin & scrap jewelry. After checking for rare dates & mint marks, etc., I didn't know what the cost vs. reward would be on melting them, or just plop the giant bag on the scrap guys desk. Here's what I found... With a small ceramic jewellers crucible, graphite "cup" crucible, & 1, 5, & 10 t.o. graphite molds, and a standard MAPP torch,  I was able to raw melt about 9 t.o. in almost 2 hours. Yes it's legal to do it. Yes, if like myself you have the things needed to refine it, test it, & stamp it, & the reputation in your community that you know what you're doing, you can. But it's cost prohibitive...not the canister of MAPP gas, but also the crucibles, & my times worth more than that. I'd stick to buying silver/gold lots on Craigslist/eBay. Let the silver scrap pile up till you need a fork lift to move it as it's not worth squat now, & when you've got your t.o. of scrap gold, smelt & refine it...payoff is WAY better.