If you are thinking about buying or selling silver coins, you may be curious about their worth, how to take care of them or other issues. Unfortunately, however, there are lots of myths about silver coins. Here is the truth behind several popular myths.
1. Myth: Only really old silver coins are worth money.
Truth: If you are hunting for coins with a metal detector and you find an ancient silver coin, chances are that it's going to be worth some proverbial gold, but you don't necessarily have to find ancient coins for them to be worth something. There are also relatively modern silver coins that can be worth cash. For example, quarters minted before 1965 feature more silver than their modern counterparts, and they can be worth over $3.
2. Myth: You should clean all the silver coins you find.
Truth: Cleaning coins can actually ruin them in many cases. If you find a coin that is so caked with dirt that you cannot even tell what it is, feel free to soak it in some water with a few drops of gentle dish soap. Then, gently rub it with a very soft cloth to help remove the debris. Don't agitate the coin with a scrub brush, and don't even dry it aggressively. Both of those things may wear down the coin or leave scratches.
In all other cases, don't even wash the coin. You may accidentally scrub off some of the deep coloration that has formed over the years, and washing that off could diminish the coin's value.
3. Myth: Silver is very durable.
Truth: Silver is more durable than gold, but it is still a relatively soft metal, and you should take extreme care not to damage your silver coins. When handling them, wear gloves if possible to prevent your skin oils from getting onto the metal. Also, place a towel under the area where you are examining your coins so that you don't drop them and dent them. Finally, don't even talk over the coin as you may accidentally spit on it, and that water is not good for it.
4. Myth: Only mint condition coins are worth money.
Truth: For coin collectors, truly mint condition coins are the ideal, but depending on the rarity of the coin, scuffed or slightly blemished coins can also be worth money. However, if you have a silver coin that is so old or nicked up that you can barely tell what it is, that doesn't necessarily mean it's not worth money. Take it to someone who buys silver coins or someone who buys precious metals in general. If it has no value as a collectible coin, it may still have value just based on melting down the silver in it.