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Collecting Silver Coins - A Guide For Cashiers At Work

Some Silver Coins I've Been Collecting

A few coins from my collection

A few coins from my collection

You Can Collect Actual Silver Coins From Change?

Being a cashier may not be your dream job when you're 16 and still in high school or working your way through college, but it's a great opportunity to search change for older silver coins. As time goes on, silver will increase in value, making silver coins very valuable in comparison to their face value. Most coin and hobby shops will purchase silver coins from collectors near the market price for the silver content in them. However, silver can be a great and easy investment vehicle for younger individuals since at most stores, you can exchange your own pocket-change for silver coins from your register.

Silver coins are relatively rare to find in circulation. In 1964, the U.S. government ended the minting of most coins with silver as their composition, opting for nickel, zinc and copper mixes. However, it is not impossible to find them in the loose change in your register.

Tips for finding silver coins at work and what to do:

  • Most coins made in 1964 and before will contain some amount of silver (except pennies and most nickels)
  • Quarters and dimes can be found occasionally, but quarters are less likely because they are larger and thus have more silver content in them and are probably already in the hands of another collector
  • One way to quickly check if you might have a silver dime in your till is to line them all up as if they were packaged in a roll and look at the edges (coins produced after 1964 contain copper and the edges of the coins are both brown and silver from the copper and nickel, silver coin edges are only silver)
  • Occasionally, some customers may pay for their purchases with half-dollars, either in loose coins or in wrapped rolls
  • Half-dollars made before 1964 will also be composed of silver and can sometimes be worth more than the silver content in them due to their rarity
  • Although most coins produced after 1964 contain no silver, the Kennedy half-dollars from 1965 through 1970 contained 40% silver, still making them worth more than their face value
  • When you find a silver coin and wish to swap or "purchase" it from your till, always have a second person present to witness the exchange and to protect yourself from accusations of theft
  • Get to know the person or persons responsible for making your store's bank deposits. The majority of stores deposit half-dollars to the bank rather than keeping them on hand. If any coins come along when you aren't working, they could let alert you and let you "purchase" them out with other cash. In a situation like this, its good to have the Manager On Duty present to witness the exchange to protect both yourself and the person preparing the bank deposit from accusations of theft

This isn't an expensive hobby by any means, but is an interesting way to pass some of the time at work. You may be surprised at what you may find in your or someone else's till...happy hunting!


Robilo2 on October 21, 2014:

I enjoyed finding silver mercury dimes on occasion when I was a cashier years ago too. Thanks for the hub.

Tom Zizzo from Santa Clara, CA on September 21, 2014:

I work part-time at Macy's, believe it or not, I found a Morgan silver dollar in the register, dated 1881. I quickly had another sales associate exchange it for me, no one else knew what it was I guess. That is the oldest, and probably the most valuable coin I have ever found in a register, typically I find old pennies and nickels. Worth noting, a silver 'war nickel' -which is like 40% silver, has a large S on the back of it, can't miss it.

jesimpki (author) from Radford, VA on July 04, 2014:

I'm sorry to hear that Dragonlove. Unfortunately, whenever someone makes a purchase with a large amount of silver coins, they either don't know their worth or they've acquired them illegally. I'm not saying to make assumptions or anything when this happens but it might be a good idea that if it happens in the future, I'd discuss it with a store manager about potentially setting coins used in a purchase like that aside, just in case they were acquired by theft and the authorities come looking for them.

Dragonlove on July 02, 2014:

I'm a cashier and bought a handful of silver quarters (well circulated) from the register. Two weeks later, a police officer said they were stolen and I had to give them to him.

Field-Of-Flowers from Midwest, USA on December 30, 2011:

I had never heard of a three cent piece before I acquired it either! I think it's cool!

jesimpki (author) from Radford, VA on December 30, 2011:

Thanks Field-Of-Flowers! Its always a nice surprise to find a rare coin at work. I have never heard of a three cent piece, that's a nice conversation piece though, haha.

Field-Of-Flowers from Midwest, USA on December 30, 2011:

This is a good informative hub. I have been collecting coins since I was a teenager. It's always exciting to see what you can find. I have coins from all over the world and also a stamp collection as well. The most interesting coin I have, in my opinion, is an 1881 three cent piece. It's the only one I've ever seen. You have my votes on this one. Thanks for sharing your info and happy coin hunting to you! Have yourself a great day! :-)

jesimpki (author) from Radford, VA on December 29, 2011:

Thanks Joe Macho, I enjoy hunting for them when its pretty slow at work. That's a very nice find indeed!

Zach from Colorado on December 29, 2011:

Love the hub and all the information provided. I always enjoyed my time as a cashier for this reason. I've found a couple of silver Roosevelt dimes, wartime Jefferson nickels, but the big find was a 1901 Barber Quarter! Now that's a silver coin I pretty much never expect to find again in circulation. Keep up the sharp eye.