Have you ever heard about junk silver coins and are curious what they are? If so, you may have wondered if they are even worth collecting, given the fact they are referred to as “junk.”
Well, in fact, junk is largely a relative term. In numismatics, “junk” is in the eye of the beholder, as one person’s trash is another’s treasure.
A junk coin, usually, is a piece that is of a lower wear-based grade than considered “collectible” for a certain coin type. Say, for example, a Roosevelt dime in a grade of Very Good (VG) – much lower of a grade than the Extremely Fine to Uncirculated grades that most people will usually look for when collecting coins from the Roosevelt dime series.
Junk coins are sometimes referred to as cull coins, but, in fact, the two terms aren’t really synonymous. I’ll tell you why – take that example of the VG Roosevelt dime in the last paragraph. That coin, while it may have a lot of wear, may in fact be entirely problem-free (I.E., has no dents, bends, major scratches, and has not been cleaned). A cull coin, on the other hand, while considered junk by many numismatists, usually would display damage – a previous cleaning, holes, deep nicks, you name it.