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Old pocket change may be worth a fortune

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3 things to know before you sell gold

With all the news reports of soaring gold prices this year, it's easy to forget that silver prices are up too, double where they were just a few years ago.

That means you could be holding more money in your pocket than you think.

Sounds Like a Casino

Coin dealer Brad Karoleff's store, Coins Plus in Downtown Cincinnati, sounds a like a casino these days.

Silver coins are pouring in from customers cashing in on high silver prices.

The metal  was $37 an ounce as of August 12, 2011, meaning a one ounce sterling silver coin would be worth $37.

And while most of the attention may be on gold these days, those silver coins in your pocket could be worth some coin.

Silver Dollars: High Melt Value

Have any old "Morgan" or "Peace" silver dollars from Grandpa? Brad says most are worth just $10 as collectibles, but 3 times that for their silver content.

Brad said "many of our collectors bought these for under $10 and are now selling them to us for just under $30. The price of silver has exceeded its collector value. So its trading based on its silver weight now, not based on the fact it is over a century old."

Don't Waste Them in Coke Machine

And check your pockets for pre-1965 loose change. 1964 and older half dollars, quarters and dimes are real silver, and are worth a few bucks.   A worn out 1950's dime is currently worth about $3.

Brad said "don't stick it in the vending machine. Bring Grandma and Grandpa's old dimes in and get $2.60 instead of just 10 cents."

Caution Before you Sell

But Brad says use a reputable coin dealer, not a fly by night buyer.

Or check a coin guide to see the value for specific years.  You can get a rough idea at some online sites, such as this one.    Here is another guide.

Other websites, like this one , compare collector value to melt value.  However, they are just rough approximations and should not be used as gospel, because yours could be rare and worth much more.

Very rare silver dollars can be worth thousands of dollars. You don't want to sell those for 30 bucks.  Brad tells me some old silver dollars --such as those from 1893, when very few were produced -- are rare, and can be worth a small fortune.

So it's a good idea to know what you have before you agree to any price, so you don't waste your money.

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