Scrap Gold UK 01902 828 400
Scrap Gold UK
Sales enquiries & Support or Make a appointment
01902 828 400

What’s in a Silver Coin?

Published Monday 1st November 2021

As precious metals specialists, Scrap Gold UK receive items of all sorts. Silver coins, or coins purporting to be minted in silver, are some of the most common items people wish to sell to us, but before you do so, it always pays to know precisely which coins to look out for and which ones are more likely to be loose change.

History of silver coins

Silver coins were considered a measure of true value as far back as the Middle Ages. Often, these coins were minted with silver at the highest purity available, but those responsible for minting them soon realised they needed to be slightly less than pure (92.5 per cent to be precise), to ensure they could withstand regular wear and tear. The remaining 7.5 per cent was often filled in with copper. As a result, for much of English history, silver coins of the highest purity tended to be .925 purity at most.

However, if you have a load of old silver coins from days gone by, you need to be mindful of precisely when they were minted. Anything minted before 1920 is likely to retain that .925 purity, on the upper end of the purity scale, with that added bit of extra historical value. However, high production costs from 1920 onwards saw silver content in coinage decline substantially; by 1945, coins had closer to 50 per cent silver content, with the remainder plugged by manganese and other cheaper metals.

From 1947 onwards, virtually all ‘silver’ coins ended the use of silver in their minting entirely. This means if your coins are of the post-war vintage, it’s unlikely you’re in possession of actual silver coins unfortunately. By 2021, coins with that silvery look may trick you into thinking silver is back in fashion, but actually modern 5p, 20p and 50p coins make use of nickel-plated steel.

Pricing your coins

Silver coins often come in hauls or caches, passed down through the family, which you might want to sell all in one go. However, unless they date back to 1947 or earlier, they’re less likely to be attracting that 925 purity price. Otherwise, purity is likely to be lower than older variants. In more recent years, silver bullion coins have been minted by specific mints but you need to know what insignia and other signs to look for to know their precise origins.

At Scrap Gold UK, we have a Silver Scrap Calculator which gives you the chance to get a free valuation of items with a purity of at least 50 per cent. All you need is an idea for the item’s purity and its weight in grams. At present, a gram of 925 purity silver can be sold for 44p, lower than what you’d expect when selling a similar amount of gold, emphasising the importance of selling in bulk if you wish to sell small silver items at all.

Need an expert opinion on what your coins could be worth? Scrap Gold UK has received a fair share of coins, so we know what to look for, when it comes to high-purity silver items. Get in touch with us today by calling us on 01902 828 400.