US Coins

Silver lining to roll searches

This 1943 Walking Liberty half dollar was among 20 half dollars of that design discovered while searching the contents of rolls. Franklin and Kennedy silver half dollars were also found in the searched rolls.

Images courtesy of Bill O'Rourke.

As a roll searcher, I find that the holiday season has the potential to be the best time of the year for finding large amounts of silver in rolls.

The anticipation that I feel every time I open up a roll of half dollars is similar to the excited feeling that I get just prior to unwrapping an unexpected Christmas gift.

Well, during the past month of searching, I discovered an incredible number of silver half dollars in rolls.

Included were 20 Walking Liberty half dollars — dated 1934, 1940-S, 1941 (two), 1942 (two), 1942-D, 1942-S, 1943 (six), 1943-D (two), 1943-S, 1944 (two) and 1945-S. Also discovered was a single 1962-D Franklin half dollar.

Kennedy half dollars minted in 90 percent silver were also found — 1964 (one) and 1964-D (five). Found, too, were many silver-copper clad pieces: 1965 (two), 1966 (three), 1967 (nine), 1968-D (10) and 1969-D (seven).

That makes 27 90 percent silver and 31 40 percent silver half dollars total! To that I say, “Wow!”

Of course, as roll searchers we all want to know what a pile of silver like that is worth, so let’s do the math.

At the time of this writing, the price of silver is about $34 per troy ounce.

Each 90 percent silver composition half contains about 0.3617 troy ounce of silver and each 40 percent silver half dollar contains roughly 0.1479 troy ounce of silver. So, what was the total silver weight?

We have 27 (90 percent silver) X 0.3617 ounce = 9.7659 ounces. Rounding up to the nearest hundredth ounce, let’s call it 9.77 ounces.

Now multiply the price of silver by the total number of troy ounces and we can compute that $34 per ounce X 9.77 ounce = $332.18.

Let’s continue: 31 (40 percent silver) X 0.1479 ounce = 4.5849 ounces. Again, rounding to the nearest hundredth ounce, let’s call it 4.58 ounces.

Just multiply the price of silver by the total number of troy ounces to compute that $34 per ounce X 4.58 ounces = $155.72.

To compute the total for all the silver composition half dollars discovered during the past four weeks, we simply add the totals of each: $332.18 + $155.72 = $487.90.

Again I say, “Wow”! Better still, make that a double “Wow!

I am always amazed at the amount of silver that can still be found in rolls of half dollars that you can obtain at your local banks or credit unions.

Please share your finds with me by going to my site located at and using the Submit Question button.

Good Luck in your searching and Happy Holidays!

Bill O’Rourke is a collector who has spent the past several years searching coin rolls in pursuit of his hobby.

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