Junk Silver Bags
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Above: Example of Junk Silver Bag
with USA 90% silver "Walking Liberty" Half Dollars.
In the USA, junk silver is most often traded in a specific quantity - a bag. Although to the everyday person, a bag is simply something to put groceries in, that's not what the term means when applied to junk silver coins: With USA junk silver coins, the term junk silver bag is actually a technical term for a $1000 face value bag of silver coins. The term came to stand for this amount of coins because the coins are still shipped and transported in standard issue cloth bags that were constructed so as to hold $1000 worth of coins.
A full bag of half dollar coins will contain 2,000 coins. A full bag of quarters will contain 4,000 coins and a bag of dimes will contain 10,000 coins. What is interesting (and convenient) is that the amount of silver (90%) in these coins is the same, and the weight of coins is proportional to the face value, the bags will both weigh approximately the same amount and fill to approximately the same size, regardless of which denomination is inside. The junk silver bags are one of the last remaining artifacts of the "old system" of currency, which was based on the weight of actual precious metal contained in the coins.
You might see or hear these bags referred to by bullion traders as "$1000 face". A full "$1000 face" bag of US 90% silver coins contains around 715 troy ounces of silver - meaning that the actual silver bullion value of the coins (at $34.50/ozt spot price) is around $24,667.
Traders will typically also sell junk silver coins in common "fractions of a bag" such as a Half Bag ("500 face"), Quarter Bag ("250 face"), and Tenth Bag ("100 face"). Although the coins may of course be seen for sale in any quantity, these are the quantities that traders are most used to dealing with.
The actual coin bags themselves are made from durable canvas-type fabric designed to withstand handling. They need to be tough because if they are dropped, they must not burst open: 1000 face, at 715 ounces, weighs over 44 pounds. For this reason, orders are often shipped in smaller bags in order to ease handling.
Please note - please be aware that buying and selling bullion items is highly speculative and there are of course substantial financial risks. This web site is not investment advice and we do not make any actual recommendations.