All half dollars issued in 1964 and years prior had 11.4 grams or almost 2/5th an ounce of silver in each.
Silver Half Dollar Melt Value Calculator
To calculate how much a silver half dollar melt value is, use the following equation and data inputs.
[0.362 oz] X [current silver spot price] = Silver Half Dollar worth in silver melt value
For example, the day of publishing this article, the silver spot price is $19.30 X 0.362 troy ounce silver half dollar content = $6.99 silver half dollar melt value.
Although today's circulating half dollars have a ‘silvery’ polish, they don’t contain any pure silver at all. The US Mint currently uses low-value pot metal alloys to strike all US half dollars today.
There is a massive difference between the value of the older 90% silver half dollars vs. the current base metal half dollars struck using an alloy of copper and nickel.
At the time of writing this, the melt value of pre-1964 silver half dollars is currently worth over 43 times the value of modern copper-nickel alloyed half dollars struck from 1965 to the present day.
All pre-1965 silver half dollars are silver coins containing 0.362 troy ounces (11.4 grams) of physical silver weight and value. Older silver half dollars are thus worth over 8600% more than their present-day cupro-nickel versions ($6.99 per silver half dollar melt value vs just over 8¢ in current half dollar melt value).
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Silver Half Dollars containing 90% Silver
History of the US Half Dollar Dollar Coin
In the Coinage Act of 1792, the US Congress defined monetary weights and measures in exact figures.
The original definition of one US dollar (as in $1.00) is a specific weight and purity of silver bullion.
Here it is straight from the 1792 Coinage Act:
Dollars or the same is now current, and to contain three hundred and seventy-one grains and four sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or four hundred and sixteen grains of standard silver, Half Dollars—each to be of half the value of the dollar or unit, and to contain one hundred and eighty-five grains and ten sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or two hundred and eights of a grain of standard silver. Half Dollar Dollars—each to be of one fourth the value of the dollar or unit, and to contain ninety-two grains and thirteen sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or one hundred and four grains of standard silver. Dismes—each to be of the value of one tenth of a dollar or unit, and to contain thirty seven grains and two sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or forty one grains and three fifth parts of a grain of standard silver.
The fact that they are “weights and measures” is essential. It’s a simple, divisible system of accountability, fraction based. That is to say, $1.00 is a specific weight and purity of the silver, and a half dollar ($.50) is half of that weight (with the same purity). A quarter dollar ($.25) is one quarter the weight (with the same purity) as one dollar. A dime ($.10) is one-tenth of the mass (with the same purity) as one dollar.
The 89th US Congress enacted the Coinage Act of 1965 in response to the growing value of pure silver and the resulting rise in minting costs. Under this Act, the USA eliminated silver from all circulating half dollars (50¢) and quarter-dollar (25¢) coins.
There are five different US half dollars which contain 0.362 troy ounces (11.4 grams) of silver.
Silver Half Dollar Melt Values Protect Savings from Inflation