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Where to find circulated/worn coins


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Hello everyone.


My name is Victor. I'm not a coin collector but I have a number of very old coins... because I use them for coin magic :)


I like the feel and weigh of silver coins and I have been using US half dollars. Recently I'm residing in Canada and would like to get hold of some "local" coins of a similar size.


I found out that the 50 cents pieces from 1908 to 1919 are my best options because of the silver composition and their sizes. Because I'll be using them I prefer circulated or worn coins (we call them "soft coins" because they don't make a sound when being rubbed together), which interestingly is harder to find as most places are selling well-preserved coins.


I wonder if there are places (online stores) where I can find those coins at a good price, and what price should I be expecting. I'm hoping I can spend a few dollars for each as I don't need pristine conditions and any specific year.


After some internet search I figured I'd be happy with the VG grade (or even lower) as long as there are no visible dents at the rim. Details are not very important to me but some patina would be nice (to give out an authentic look of a coin).


Thank you very much for your help.



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Hello there


I know locally where I live I can go to a cash for gold place since they usually buy up old silver coins and they have rough condition dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollars selling for around melt value. A good place to look online is Ebay... I generally find better luck finding coins closer to retail value while searching through the "Buy it Now" items rather than the open competitive auctions but that's not always the case. Keep in mind the melt value is the absolute lowest value for coins, so if you are seeking out the rough condition half dollars for instance, you generally will not find them for less than $10 USD since silver is selling for around $30 USD/troy ounce. With Canadian money before 1919 they were sterling silver (92.5%), which is a higher grade than the 90% US silver coinage. From around 1920 to 1967 Canadian money was 80% silver. The weights are also different with Canadian coinage vs. American coinage. A good place to look for melt value of Americana and Canadian coinage is www.coinflation.com.

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Thanks wabnoles for the informative reply. I also think that the melt value is a good base value indicator, since it doesn't make sense if one would get less than the price of the material. The "Buy it Now" method is a smart idea.


Interesting thing is many of the sites for coinage price only have a calculator for post-1920 50cents. This is where I end up looking:


Not sure if it's accurate but looks like it.

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Generally speaking, Canadian pre-1919 50c are seldom available for close to spot, except for AG-G Edwardian and King George V issues, and most dealers usually don't put those aside, nor are they readily available.


You're more likely to find Newfoundland 50c of 1917-1919 (same specs as the Canadian ones) in G-VG for close to spot.


In a larger city, check around with dealers as the Newfoundland pieces show up somewhat regularly.

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Thanks ccg for the Newfoundland suggestion. I indeed saw it when I was checking ebay, though I wasn't sure its association with the "mainstream" Canadian 50 cents. Some coinage websites mentioned the 1908 AG-3 can go as low as $3, though in ebay it's roughly $15 each, which seems more reasonable... I do like the back design of this coin, reminds me of the Mucha flurry style.


By the way, I understand that that $1 is nicknamed "Loonie" and $2 is nicknamed "Toonie". Is there one for the 50 cents? Will "half dollar" make sense? Just wonder if there is a good story behind I can use.

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$3 would be severely outdated info from the 90s, when $4-5 was the norm for VG-ish Nfld 50c., and the silver was <$5/oz


Half dollar, in my experience, is generally understood both sides of the border, though it may cause a blink when used in Canada since Canadians don't encounter their 50c much at all (and even some banks will decline them out of lack of recognition), whereas many Americans (at least in banking and retail) readily recognize the half dollar.

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