Precious metals have been used in average coins that circulate through the economy for hundreds of years. Gold, silver, and other metals have formed the backbone of currency since the establishment of society. By the modern era, governments began to worry about the ability to use precious metals in circulation coins. Beginning in the 1960s, the US government significantly reduced the silver content in circulation coins because it was starting to become too costly. Because 40% silver coins were produced in such large numbers, today you can still obtain them. These coins are available through Silver.com in $500 face value bags which contain roughly 147.5 troy ounces of pure silver.
Produced by the US Mint between 1965 and 1969, the most popular 40% Silver Coins included the Kennedy Half Dollar and the Eisenhower Dollar. The rising price of silver, and dwindling supplies of silver for minting in the US, led the federal government to move away from the production of coins with 90% silver. Many of the Kennedy half-dollars produced around this time period contained a total of 40% silver and 60% copper, as did many Eisenhower dollars.
On one side of the coin is a left-profile portrait of either President John F. Kennedy or President Dwight Eisenhower, depending upon the denomination of the coin. Engravings on the coin include “Liberty,” “In God We Trust,” and the year of minting for the individual coins.
The opposite side of the coin includes the heraldic eagle from the Seal of the United States of America. An eagle is visible behind a heraldic shield, with an olive branch in one talon and arrows in the other. A banner emanating from the eagle’s beak reads “E Pluribus Unum,” while engravings surrounding the image include “United States of America” and the denomination of the coin.
The United States Mint was founded in 1792 when Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1792. Operating from four primary facilities located across the country, the US Mint is the primary facility responsible for the production of circulation and commemorative currency for the federal government.
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