how can you tell if a 1965 dime is silver?

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by oavsweets12, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. oavsweets12

    oavsweets12 Junior Member

    Is there any way of knowing right off the bat if the 1965 roosevelt is one of those rare ones minted in silver?

    I don't have a scale to weigh the dime & I haven't been collecting long enough to trust my ears to see if it makes a different noise when I flick it.

    I only ask because I got a 1965 dime in change yesterday. And I noticed that it looked different than the 1965 dime I had at home. I decided to do that "napkin test" on both to compare and contrast. The original one I had at home passed the test ( in other words, it reflected more light than the other, which is supposed to mean its silver).

    I won't be able to get to a coin shop for an expert eye until Tuesday.

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  3. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins

    Check the edge. Is there a copper layer? If there is no copper layer, chances are the coin is silver. Also, silver dime would weigh 2.50 grams while a clad would weigh 2.27 grams.
  4. oavsweets12

    oavsweets12 Junior Member

    yea, the one I got in change yesterday definitely has that layer. The other one doesn't have that definitive layer. But it's not a pristine piece. It's got dark shadings on the rim, which I thought was the layer at first.

    Maybe it's a counterfeit?
  5. Sholom

    Sholom Coin Hoarder

    Make a cheap scale. Here's one that I made with a piece of random plastic, a piece of broken pen (for the tube on the bottom), and some tape. I used it to figure out which of my 1982 cents were copper and which were zinc. You can rig the same thing up with dimes. Place a known clad dime on one side, and set it up so that when you put another clad dime on the other side, nothing happens (not heavy enough), but when you put a known silver dime on the other side, the see-saw moves (heavier). (You can do this by adjusting the position of the coin on the left of my picture)

    It takes less than five minutes, and, once you set it up with known clads and silver dimes -- you'll find that your test is accurate, definitive, quick, and easy. You'll have no doubt as to whether it's silver or clad.

  6. nss

    nss Gold Plated Member

    This will work and provide the best results IF:
    1) The scrap plastic is the same weight on both ends (or you tape the fulcrum (pen) precisely so the same weight is on either side.
    2) You place the coin(s) the exact same distance from the fulcrum (not necessarily the same distance from the ends).
    3) You place the apparatus on a flat hard level surface (not the uneven plastic shown in the photo).

    Nice idea!
  7. Sholom

    Sholom Coin Hoarder

    You don't need to do all that -- I didn't!

    Who cares if the plastic is the same weight, or I place the coins exactly at the same distance from the fulcrum?! In fact, I specifically *don't* want to do that.

    Why? Because I'm trying to construct a see-saw that does nothing when you put a clad dime (2.27 grams) on it, and one that flips down when you put a silver dime (2.5 grams) on it.

    So how do I position everything?

    Simple! Trial and error.

    1. I tape the plastic to the fulcrum. Anywhere near the middle will work

    2. I put a clad dime on one side . . . anywhere near the end will work.

    3. Here's the important part -- I calibrate it. I do that by repeating the following steps:

    a. if I put a clad on the other side, and the scale moves, then I need to adjust it by either moving the fulcrum, or moving the dime on the left further out. I repeat this step (a) until I can put a clad on the right side until nothing happens.

    b. now, if I put a silver on the right side, it should move. if it doesn't, then I did step (a) too far. I move the left dime back towards the center a tiny bit, and go back to step a.

    This method is actually a lot easier than it sounds. And you don't need a scale, you don't need a ruler, you don't need perfection, you don't need a stick that's balanced or anything. And the reason is that I can calibrate it using other known weights (a known clad dime and a known silver dime). Trial and error works in a very straightforward manner, and, given the peices, I can set it up and calibrate it in well under two minutes.
  8. nss

    nss Gold Plated Member

    I guess you are right when the two weights are significantly different. I suppose you wouldn't have to put them EXACTLY the same distance from the center.

    Still, neat idea.
  9. Sholom

    Sholom Coin Hoarder


    Yes -- the key is that I'm not really weighing anything, only comparing weights that are different -- so I can jury-rig it anyway I want -- so long as i calibrate it.

    You're right that the weights have to be different enough. Note, my little machine works great when comparing zinc cents to copper ones (2.5 grams compared to 3.1 grams).

    One would have to be more sensitive in comparing silver and clad dimes, as the weights are much closer (2.27 vs 2.5 grams).
  10. 10gary22

    10gary22 Junior Member

    I got an electronic 1000 gram scale on eBay for less than $8, free shipping ? I checked it for accuracy the day I got it and sealed 1000 grams of coins in a bag to calibrate it later if needed. That's about 2 pounds, it will weigh in ounces, karat, grams and grains. Tare, etc. I mean for that price, it's a good thing to have around. Weigh postage, etc.

    Just a thought. Everywhere else I saw one of these it cost at least $19.95 +
  11. CheetahCats

    CheetahCats Colonial & Early American

    If it were me, I'd think twice about resting a 2 lb bag of coins onto an 8.95 scale. Done clumsily, it's a quick way to knock it outta calibration - permanently.
  12. 10gary22

    10gary22 Junior Member

    Nah, I checked it with known weights like a 421 grain Morgan, a dime, a cent, 10 cents, etc. I saw that it weighed accurately. Then I weighed out 999.98 grams worth of coins along with 2 baggies. Then I sealed everything up. LOL I have a calibration weight, in case I drop it or something. LOL Been known to happen a lot. One hand and arm don't work, so I mess stuff up more now than before. So I try and anticipate and prep for it.

    You are right though 2# weight would blow it out for sure.

    This one does take an over capacity, although I do not know how much. But when I added coins at 999.98 grams, it went to ERR ?

    Hey, for $8, don't have a lot to lose, but it really exceeded my expectations.
  13. CheetahCats

    CheetahCats Colonial & Early American

    With my luck, and factoring in Murphy's law, I'd be apt to butterfinger the 2-pound sack on the scale... :goofer:

    I use a few known specimens of varying weights to check calibration.
  14. 10gary22

    10gary22 Junior Member

    Yes, that's what I did to check it. But this one requires a 1000 gram calibration weight to reset it. As long as known weights are accurate, it ain't no thang. I got this size to use for postage too. Most of the books I sell weigh in OK. But after overpaying for postage a dozen times, I think this will pay for itself early on ?
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