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Weight Tolerances For Common Junk Silver Coins?

 
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 Posted 09/02/2015  4:41 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Earendil to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Does anyone have access to a list of the weight tolerances for junk silver coins that can still be easily found in uncirculated condition (as in, the Mercury dime, Roosevelt dime, Washington quarter, and Kennedy half)?

I've tried researching this topic on Google, but for whatever reason, information on it is rather scanty. Those resources that do pop up in the results are either contradictory, or directed at American Silver Eagle and/ or U.S. silver dollar questions.

The reason I ask is because I picked up a few BU junk silver coins with quite low weights, and I would like to essentially make sure they're real. For a few examples, I have a 1957 quarter that weighed 6.11/6.12 grams, and then two or three 1964 half-dollars that were around 12.34 grams each. I believe another one of the quarters was 6.13/6.14 grams.

Thank you in advance for any assistance.
Edited by Earendil
09/02/2015 4:47 pm
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 Posted 09/02/2015  5:12 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hcmusicguy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I think that if you're talking in terms of junk silver, the chances of encountering a counterfeit are extremely small. Yes, everything has been counterfeited, but as far as the smaller denominations are concerned, you really only need to be most concerned with key date and/or mm combos. Or coins that purport to be MS or BU.

The online results probably point more toward silver dollars because, even in lower grades, they are more actively collected (as opposed to just stacked) and thus more widely counterfeited.

Just my two cents though.
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Edited by hcmusicguy
09/02/2015 5:29 pm
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 Posted 09/03/2015  11:14 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Conder101 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
There are mint tolerance ranges for new coins. There is a weight tolerance for gold coins at which point they would be withdrawn and recoined. (There may be a similar tolerance for the withdraw of silver coin, I'm not sure.) Bullion buyers buy junk silver based on a assumed weight of 715 troy oz per $1000 face. This allows for the possibility of some severely worn coins in the bag. That's the best I can tell you.
Gary Schmidt
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 Posted 09/03/2015  1:36 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earendil to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I think that if you're talking in terms of junk silver, the chances of encountering a counterfeit are extremely small. Yes, everything has been counterfeited, but as far as the smaller denominations are concerned, you really only need to be most concerned with key date and/or mm combos. Or coins that purport to be MS or BU.

The online results probably point more toward silver dollars because, even in lower grades, they are more actively collected (as opposed to just stacked) and thus more widely counterfeited.

Just my two cents though.


Yes, indeed I am. I did think that it would be quite unprofitable for someone to mint fake junk silver coins, but I was also a bit concerned that the U.S. Mint would have a tolerance range exceeding +/- .13 or .14 grams on a silver quarter planchet. What I was essentially hoping to confirm were the official, freshly-minted-coin tolerance ranges for the denominations I mentioned, if they are indeed available.

I didn't pay anything for the coins in question beyond their melt value (plus a small dealer's premium), so fortunately there is nothing in the batch that would even be considered rare! I just thought it was odd that a BU quarter could apparently pass muster when it was so far below the official 6.25 gram weight.

Yes, that does make sense, and it is one of the reasons why I tend to pursue junk silver instead.

Thanks for your help! I appreciate it.


Quote:
There are mint tolerance ranges for new coins. There is a weight tolerance for gold coins at which point they would be withdrawn and recoined. (There may be a similar tolerance for the withdraw of silver coin, I'm not sure.) Bullion buyers buy junk silver based on a assumed weight of 715 troy oz per $1000 face. This allows for the possibility of some severely worn coins in the bag. That's the best I can tell you.


Thank you for the post. As your first sentence intimates, I had actually hoped that someone would know--or have access to--the tolerance ranges for freshly minted coins (as in, the extent to which they are permitted to be below or above the stated official weight of the coin).

For example, a freshly minted silver quarter has an official weight of 6.25 grams. However, not every planchet is going to weigh exactly that, so there is some built-in room for "leeway." One reference I came across suggested it was as high as +/- .19 grams, but I thought it would be best to confirm that with a second source.

Does this make sense?
Edited by Earendil
09/03/2015 1:37 pm
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 Posted 09/03/2015  1:38 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with Conder. As long as your coins are genuine silver, there is a 99.9% chance that they are real--the negligible premium brought by being US coins would not justify the cost to replicate them, even at very large scales.

If you weigh the whole lot together, is it within a gram or two of the weight you paid for?
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 Posted 09/03/2015  4:07 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earendil to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I agree with Conder. As long as your coins are genuine silver, there is a 99.9% chance that they are real--the negligible premium brought by being US coins would not justify the cost to replicate them, even at very large scales.

If you weigh the whole lot together, is it within a gram or two of the weight you paid for?


Yes, that is certainly true. Going along with what you said, everything I've read has indicated that the only U.S. silver coins that are faked en masse are either high-value or high-premium ones, such as silver dollars or rare date/ mintmark combinations (which hcmusicguy mentioned as well).

I did not actually pay for them as based on their total weight. Rather, it was the typical "junk silver box" scenario, where you could just pick out anything you wanted for 12.5x face. What I ended up getting were a Barber dime, all of the Mercury dimes that looked halfway decent, a few BU or AU 1950s quarters, several Franklin half-dollars, and a few 1964 half-dollars.

So, with regard to your original question, I paid more for the coins themselves than for the physical silver they represented (since the premium was something like 18% over yesterday's spot price).
Edited by Earendil
09/03/2015 4:15 pm
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 Posted 09/03/2015  9:19 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add davec13 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Don't be so sure that there are not counterfeit common dates floating around. Here is a 1941 quarter I have.




It weighs 4.67 grams. I also have a couple 1861 cast 3 cent silver pieces.
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 Posted 09/03/2015  11:55 pm  Show Profile   Check BH1964's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add BH1964 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
For example, a freshly minted silver quarter has an official weight of 6.25 grams. However, not every planchet is going to weigh exactly that, so there is some built-in room for "leeway." One reference I came across suggested it was as high as +/- .19 grams, but I thought it would be best to confirm that with a second source.


No way a new quarter would have a +/- .19 gram tolerance. That's +/- 3%! Any AU or BU condition U.S. silver coin should (must) be within 1% of it's nominal weight or something is wrong.

The 0.715 multiplier used for average circulated 90% fractional U.S. silver backs out about 1.3% for weight loss and average circulated is unofficially considered VG average. 3% loss like you noted is commensurate with a coin grading AG3, very heavily worn.

I've bought and sold mountains of 90% silver over the last 8 years and the above comments are based on standard industry practices and my experience. Hope this helps!
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 Posted 09/04/2015  09:32 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earendil to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Don't be so sure that there are not counterfeit common dates floating around. Here is a 1941 quarter I have. It weighs 4.67 grams. I also have a couple 1861 cast 3 cent silver pieces.


This is essentially why I posted about the coins and their weights: just to be on the safe side. Fortunately none of them look as bad as that one does, though!


Quote:
No way a new quarter would have a +/- .19 gram tolerance. That's +/- 3%! Any AU or BU condition U.S. silver coin should (must) be within 1% of it's nominal weight or something is wrong.

The 0.715 multiplier used for average circulated 90% fractional U.S. silver backs out about 1.3% for weight loss and average circulated is unofficially considered VG average. 3% loss like you noted is commensurate with a coin grading AG3, very heavily worn.

I've bought and sold mountains of 90% silver over the last 8 years and the above comments are based on standard industry practices and my experience. Hope this helps!


This is exactly why I thought it would be best to solicit a second opinion; it seemed to me that that was a rather high threshold. However, I just weighed out every coin in one of my partial rolls, and I still came up with questionable or suspect weights that do not fall into that "window."

That was definitely a pattern I noticed: that the few coins which were on the light side weighed about the same as some of the much more worn Washington quarters, from the late 1940s through early 1950s.

I started buying it regularly fairly recently (up till then I only had a small amount), so yes, it does help! Thanks.

Edit: I just came across this old Coin Community post:

http://goccf.com/t/216036

And then another post here (in a different forum):

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/ac...iance.93575/

Do you know how accurate the discussions/ references are? I can't seem to find anything else on this subject at all. I did call up the Mint just now, and they had no idea what I was talking about...
Edited by Earendil
09/04/2015 10:29 am
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 Posted 09/04/2015  09:52 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earendil to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Here are some of the coins in question. Please be prepared for a rather image-intensive post (and please forgive me for the blurry pictures- for some reason my camera had problems focusing on the scale.

The 1952 quarter is borderline AU/ BU, but it still seemed to be on the light side given that approximate grade: 6.14 grams.

The 1957 quarter is definitely BU, yet it weighs .13 grams less than it should when "new": 6.11/ 6.12 grams.

The 1963 quarter was the worst of the three, at 6.10 grams (characteristic of a heavily worn piece), yet it does not seem to have lost as much detail as its weight suggests: 6.10 grams.







































Edited by Earendil
09/04/2015 09:56 am
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 Posted 09/04/2015  1:02 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add biokemist6 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
No way a new quarter would have a +/- .19 gram tolerance.

Tolerance for a silver quarter planchet is indeed +/-3 grains(0.195 grams) and it is even higher for clad coinage.
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 Posted 09/04/2015  1:42 pm  Show Profile   Check BH1964's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add BH1964 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
All the pictured coins look fine.


Quote:
Tolerance for a silver quarter planchet is indeed +/-3 grains(0.195 grams) and it is even higher for clad coinage.


I stand corrected. I believe tighter tolerances were actually held.
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 Posted 09/05/2015  12:15 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Conder101 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Sorry I thought you were looking for tolerances for circulated pieces. I do have the reference for the weight tolerances but I am away at a show right now. I would be very surprised if the tolerance was .19 grams though because I know the tolerance for a silver dollar was .097 grams and I know the tolerance for a CLAD quarter is .22 grams. won't have a chance to check the reference and post the tolerance until late Saturday or early Sunday morning.
Gary Schmidt
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 Posted 09/05/2015  2:07 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earendil to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Tolerance for a silver quarter planchet is indeed +/-3 grains(0.195 grams) and it is even higher for clad coinage.


Thank you for the confirmation.


Quote:
All the pictured coins look fine.


Great! Thanks for looking at them.


Quote:
Sorry I thought you were looking for tolerances for circulated pieces. I do have the reference for the weight tolerances but I am away at a show right now. I would be very surprised if the tolerance was .19 grams though because I know the tolerance for a silver dollar was .097 grams and I know the tolerance for a CLAD quarter is .22 grams. won't have a chance to check the reference and post the tolerance until late Saturday or early Sunday morning.


No worries. I knew that any amount of circulation can essentially throw existing weight tolerances out the window, so I've not usually as concerned with circulated junk silver that registers at all different weights.

The 3 above quarters drew my attention because they're either AU/BU (the 1952 and the 1957), or should realistically have not circulated enough to be so far under the official weight threshold (the 1963).

Sometime this weekend is fine with me; thank you in advance for your assistance.

I actually called up the U.S. Mint yesterday in an effort to get this information straight from "the source," but no one there was able to help me.

Over the course of the morning, I spoke with everyone from a call center representative to the head of the Mint's bullion division, all to no avail. I also left messages with a few more departments--such as the Mint's Freedom of Information center--as well as with their official historian, but did not receive any return calls yesterday (likely due to the holiday weekend).

Finally, as a last-ditch effort, I contacted the Smithsonian, but do not hold out much hope for a reply e-mail.
Edited by Earendil
09/05/2015 2:13 pm
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 Posted 09/05/2015  3:15 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Broken-Coin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Back in my Dealer days (when silver was under $4.00 & gold around $350oz) I would purchase .90 Silver Dimes to Half Dollars one of 2 ways:
#1) 2 1/2 times face for smaller purchases
#2) Face Value x .715 x. Spot on larger purchases

Morgans were $8.00 if not damaged & Spot x 0.75 per damaged Silver Dollar
Peace dollars were $6.00 each
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 Posted 09/05/2015  8:42 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CopperCastle to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
anything you wanted for 12.5x face.

That's a pretty good deal. In my recent expeditions the avg. is 13.5x in the Indianapolis area.

Quote:
silver was under $4.00 & gold around $350oz

Edited by CopperCastle
09/05/2015 8:43 pm
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