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The Greatest Silver Dollar Hoard in History

The greatest silver dollar hoard in U.S. history was stored in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Treasury. Inside the massive vaults of the U.S. Treasury were 200,000 bags of silver dollars and each bag contained 1,000 coins. This meant 200 million silver dollars were never distributed by the Treasury and sat for decades in the Treasury vaults.

An additional 300 million silver dollars were held in banks across the United States. The American public was content with easy-to-fold paper currency; they didn’t want these big, bulky silver coins in their purses and pockets.

1930s Through the 1950s

During the 1930s and into the 1950s, the price of silver remained stable, so the demand for silver dollars in the U. S. Treasury was slim. Remember, the Treasury was redeeming their Silver Certificates for U.S. silver dollars. Each silver dollar contains a little over 3/4 of an ounce of pure silver. But as the price of silver rose, the demand from dealers and collectors increased as well.

Dealers and coin collectors from across the country came to Washington to buy silver dollars at face value from the Treasury. Some lucky dealers and collectors received rare dates or in uncirculated condition, while some got coins that were only valued for their silver content. Many members of the public bought every coin they could afford in hopes of “striking it rich” by getting coins that were more valuable than their silver content. Indeed, some members of the public did receive coins worth hundreds of dollars and their stories were widely repeated.

1958 Through 1964

From 1958 to 1963, nearly 90 million silver dollars were purchased from the Treasury. By March 1964, nearly 26 million silver dollars were removed from the U.S. Treasury’s vaults.

On March 26, 1964, the Treasurer of the United States put an end to the long lines and hopeful prospects. Collectors, who were now aware of the nearly 3 million Carson City coins still unsold by the Treasury, demanded they also be sold. But they would have to wait eight years for the first General Services Administration auctions of Carson City silver dollars to begin.

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