In the US, yes. Bullion dealers do it all the time, to the tune of several million ounces in 1979 and 1980 alone (during the big silver rush) http://coins.about.com/b/2008/03/12/coin-dealer-ethics-melting-coins-for-profit.htm . There's speculation the government would in fact prefer the coins go away, to increase sales of mint produced bullion coins. The bullion value of silver coins is referred to as their "melt" value--what the silver and copper will be worth once it's melted down.
It's not worth doing unless you're a recognized producer with a known hallmark, otherwise you're going to have a coin silver ingot--90% silver, 10% copper--as opposed to fine silver --.999 fine--and any bar you produce will have to have a paid appraisal before it can be sold. Also, the 1979-1980 melt alone made a lot of fairly common type coins rare. They weren't deemed special enough to worry about, and now they're much harder to find. This has impacted on collectors.
Unless you have some specific art project in mind, you're better off leaving them intact. Bullion dealers recognize them and have "bid" and "ask" rates on them. You can still buy them in "face" bags, with the face value of the coin listed (Usually $100, $250, $500 and $1000 face), but sold at current silver plus ask price.
There is a recent law that prohibits the melting of pennies and nickels for their bullion value--they currently contain more metal value than face price. You may still use them for artistic material for projects, but you may not melt them for salvage.
It is against Canadian law to melt Canadian coinage anywhere in the world. It is considered defacing Canadian currency and is a punishable crime in Canada if you are caught doing so by the Canadian government. It can only be prosecuted INCanada, BY Canada.
However, the US has no law prohibiting it.
Typically though, the cost of melting down coins and separating the metals into their purified forms is greater than the value you will receive from the scrap metal price, so it is not practical to do so at this point in time.
i am pretty sure it is illegeal in Canada
The melting point of silver is 1,763°F.
Silver U.S. coins dated 1964 or earlier are still legal tender at face value.
If you are asking about melting silver coins in the US, it is not illegal. I think Canada may have laws against it as do many other countries but as of today the USA does not deem it illegal. There is a recent law (regulation by the Mint) that prohibits melting pennies and nickels for their metal value, as the value of the metal exceeds the face value of the coin. You may still use them as artistic material for sculpture, etc. As the Mint does not produce silver coins anymore, they have no interest in those coins. Bullion producers buy them and melt them by the ton.
In most countries, melting down of legal tender is illegal.
Since 2006, it has been illegal to melt U.S. pennies or nickels. The penalties include upwards of 5 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, and confiscation of all metals and equipment used in melting. However, the melting of silver and gold coins IS legal.
Circulating coins are no longer made of silver anywhere because the price of silver changes every day. If coins contained silver people would "game" the price changes by alternately buying and melting the coins, skimming the difference as profit. However many countries make silver, gold, and other precious-metal coins for collectors and investors. These coins are priced according to the amount of metal they contain and aren't designed to be spent.
Yes, it is legal to melt down silver coins for scrap. Many coin dealers and jewelry stores will buy them from you at melt prices along with refiners. The only coins illegal currently to melt down in the US are pennies and nickels. Silver coins were illegal to melt down before a lot of copper-nickel coinage was circulating but it is legal now.
Yes it is legal to sell any silver coins to a scrap buyer. But first call around to the buyers in your area for the best price.
There has been no silver in any British general circulation coin since 1946. Silver is used in some Non-Circulating Legal Tender coins and some Proof coins. Silver is far too expensive to be making coins from. A Penny made from pure silver would be worth a few Pounds.
In most countries it is illegal to deliberately damage, deface or destroy money.
The melting point of silver is 961.93 degrees Celsius and 1763.474 Fahrenheit.
The melting down of "coins of the realm" to recover the metal, or by any other means or reason to destroy the coin, is illegal in most countries, and is definitely illegal in Britain.