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Did people hoard silver coins after 1964?  
 

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 Posted 01/11/2018  12:10 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Ariette to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I've noticed upon casually observing change I receive that dimes and quarters dated 1964 or earlier are almost entirely absent from circulation these days. Dimes and quarters from the late 60s are still common, however, as are cents and nickels from 1964 or earlier. This suggests to me that a lot of people probably pulled all the silver coins they got out of circulation shortly after 1964. This would not surprise me at all.

My question is, how common knowledge was it that dimes and quarters minted 1964 or earlier had silver in them? They look the same as coins minted after that year, since the designs did not change. Did everyone in 1965 know that the composition of the new dimes and quarters had changed? Or was this only known to a small portion of the population who pulled out the majority of the silver coins from circulation?

I imagine some people here are old enough to actually remember the 60s first-hand. It would be pretty neat to hear their perspectives regarding something that to me is deep history.
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 Posted 01/11/2018  12:24 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add srcliff to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Personally, I've been working retail since I was a teen in the early 90's, I remember edge checking my coins back then and not finding silver very often. Now it's still pretty rare but I do come across some, maybe a dime or less often a quarter every $500 worth of change on average. In recent memory I have found, Buffalo nickles, Mercury dimes, silver Roosevelt dimes, war nickles, Washington quarters, 64 half and many wheat cents. Basically what I mean to say is some good stuff is still out there but every year it gets a little harder to find.
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 Posted 01/11/2018  12:32 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It was already profitable to melt silver coinage in 1964; the switch was partially in response to a change shortage of ever-increasing criticality.

The Mint tried to blame the shortage on speculating collectors, which is why coins dated 1965-67 never have a mintmark, and no proof sets were issued either. Not sure what they thought they would prove by punishing those who made the enterprise profitable, bit I digress.

1964-dated silver coins were actually made until early 1966. The public was hoarding them, but the Mint wanted to create a false sense of security that the US wasn't headed for runaway inflation. From what I heard, the massive mintages from 1965-68 helped to replace the coins that were hoarded or melted, and silver was an uncommon but not rare component of pocket change until the late 70s. At the end of the 70s, two entereprising investors attempted to drive up the price of silver and then corner the market before it crashed. Silver hit almost $50/oz, and not surprisingly everyone was rummaging through their change jars to cash in. The bubble burst in March 1980, the Hunt Brothers went bankrupt, and silver stayed low until the mid-2000s. Probably the only reason we have any silver coinage left at all is that a lot of people were simply too late to ride the silver bubble.

Edit to add: All of this was well before my time (born in the late 80s) but I saw a pretty steady stream of silver dimes in my till when I was working as a cashier from 2008-2011. Probably found 8 silver halves, 2 silver quarters, 10 silver dimes and 15-20 war nickels during that time? Newer model coinstar machines are calibrated to reject silver coins based on weight, so the odds of more coins entering via the dumping of huge unsearched coin jars is ever dwindling.

My wife's uncle was a teenager in the mid 70s, and he related that when he worked at a gas station, his manager offered a 10 or 15% discount for anyone paying in silver coin.
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Edited by Finn235
01/11/2018 12:42 pm
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 Posted 01/11/2018  1:27 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ArrowsAndRays to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
how common knowledge was it that dimes and quarters minted 1964 or earlier had silver in them?


Everyone knew. The change from silver to junk metal was scandalous.
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 Posted 01/11/2018  1:36 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add kbbpll to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I would say yes, almost everyone knew that the composition changed and almost everyone grabbed whatever silver they found in circulation. It was illegal to melt them from 1967-1969 which may relate to what Finn235 says. Less known (I think) was that half dollars still contained silver through 1970 but people hoarded them anyway. I worked a cash register probably 1974-1977 and although silver still came in, it wasn't a lot. I still have everything I pulled out from that period and it's really not that much. I haven't seen a silver dime in decades but I did get a silver quarter in change a couple years ago. I don't roll hunt though. I wonder where they all went - there were over a billion Kennedy half dollars minted containing silver. Melted, yes, but I'd also guess that a large percentage of people my age still have them laying around somewhere.
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 Posted 01/11/2018  1:40 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yes, most everyone knew. I worked in a currency exchange in l966 and l967, and we did a big business paying out small premiums on silver coins and running them to the smelter twice a day.
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 Posted 01/11/2018  2:06 pm  Show Profile   Check Crazyb0's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Crazyb0 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I started collecting in 1960. By 1964 we had a pretty good collection of silver coins including many dollars since all coins in rolls were silver. In early 65, we still pulled Kennedys, and Roosies but Washingtons were becominfg scarce quick. That may have been due to the commercial machine use of quarters, businesses pulled them to cash in on bank discounts. 64 Kennedy's were the next to become scarce, then the rest...68 & 69 very seldom saw any in circulation. Dimes were the last to become scarce, but by 1966 in rolls, all you could get was new OBW distribution of any 10-25 cent coins. If we were lucky, the bank tellers would give out customer wrapped, but the rush was on to remove silver from circulation.
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 Posted 01/11/2018  2:13 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add DCM Coins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I started coin collecting in 1970 as a sixth grader and noticed that I could not get anything before 1965 as far as dimes and quarters went and very rarely got the silver clad Kennedys before 1971.

Yes, people did hoard silver.

Gresham's Law: bad money drives out good money.
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 Posted 01/11/2018  3:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Gresham's Law: bad money drives out good money.
A simple yet adequate way to put it.
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 Posted 01/11/2018  5:42 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add BadThad to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
People hoarded silver big time!
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 Posted 01/11/2018  5:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add moxking to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Since the first man found silver, it's been hoarded.

If you wanted to experience a serious screeching and screaming of every collector and dealer that claimed coin collecting was dead, dead, done - 1964 was that year.

We still hear the same screaming, but not quite as loud.
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 Posted 01/11/2018  6:30 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add BStrauss3 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Heck yeah, for several years after the switch, our entire family searched Mom & Dad's pocket change for "real" quarters.
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 Posted 01/14/2018  1:14 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add garys64wildcat to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I saved a lot prior to 1964 and after when I could find them and then I would go into Vancouver BC and roll hunt 1968 or older and sell them in Wa. and pay for the trip to Canada with silver to my LCS and save the older Canadian coins I found when silver was high.
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 Posted 01/15/2018  08:50 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Conder101 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
US reached the point where the metal in the coins was worth more than the face value in 1962. By 1964 every time you spent a dollar in silver coins you were giving way about $1.05 worth of silver. Then in 1965 the clad coins came out. Now when you spent a dollar in coins, if you spent silver ones you were giving $1.05+ in silver, if you spent clad the metal was worth maybe 5 cents. So if you are going to spend coins would you care which type of coins you were spending? You bet you did and whenever possible you held onto your silver coins and spent your clad ones. When everyone started doing that the silver coins vanished very quickly.
Gary Schmidt
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 Posted 01/19/2018  6:44 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tutbert to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Several years ago we bought an older fixer upper house and I was digging some footings for a deck in my backyard and uncovered an old plastic orange juice container. It was filled with 1964 and older quarters - several pounds worth. We were able to fill up a couple of complete sets of albums, with the exception of 1 1932 coin.
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 Posted 01/20/2018  01:25 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Excellent find, tutbert!

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