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Denver Coins --> United States Coins --> Obsolete United State coins --> Silver Dollar --> Morgan Dollar

Denver Gold and Silver Exchange
5475 Leetsdale Dr Suite 210
Denver, Colorado 80246

Open Monday - Friday from 9 am to 5 pm
Friday 9 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm
Call anytime - leave a message: Main Number: 303-333-1411

Morgan dollar (18781904; 1921)

Morgan silver dollars were minted between 1878 and 1921, with a notable break between 1905 and 1920. The 1921-dated coins are the most common, and there exists a substantial collector market for pristine, uncirculated specimens of the rarer dates and mint marks. Morgan dollars are second only to Lincoln Cents in collector popularity. The large size, design and inexpensive nature of most dates of the Morgan dollar makes them highly popular. The coin is named after George T. Morgan, its designer. Some people collect Morgan dollars by "VAM" designation (named for Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Mallis, who did extensive research on the die characteristics of this series.) The top 100 VAM varieties are highly collectible. As well, this is the most popular United States series collected by grade, with "finest known" being a very attractive selling point.

The mint mark is found on the reverse below the wreath, above the 'O' in 'DOLLAR'.

One of the keys to the series is the proof-only 1895 (struck at the Philadelphia mint), which can sell for up to $100,000 in top condition. Since the rarity of the coin was not initially realized (there were 12,000 business strikes recorded, but these were later melted), and since the coins were available at the Mint for a modest premium above face value, circulated, or "impaired" specimens are known. Because no business strike exists for this date and mint, many collectors are forced to buy the proof, or settle for what is regarded as an incomplete date/mint collection. The rarest (by mintage) business strike Morgan is the 1893-S with a paltry 100,000 examples struck, and certainly not all examples survive. A top condition example (MS67 is currently the highest known) can bring nearly $1 Million at auction. Morgan dollars from the Carson City mint ("CC" mintmark) are worth a premium. 1889-CC, while not the rarest Carson City dollar by mintage, is the rarest by surviving examples today, and is the most valuable Carson City dollar. Other rare dates include 1892-S, 1893, 1893-O, 1894, 1894-S, 1895-O, 1895-S, 1902-S, 1903-S, 1903-O, and 1904-S all worth $100 or more even in circulated (Fine-About Uncirculated) conditions. Several coins in the series, while quite common in circulated condition, are very rare in uncirculated conditions, and can command hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece. 1901 is such a coin, as is 1884-S. There is currently only a single known MS68 1884-S dollar and if sold at auction, that coin could easily bring $750,000-$1,000,000...for a "common" date coin.

Many of the spectacular rarities of the series, both by grade and absolutely, can be attributed to the order to melt down 270 million silver dollars still on hand by the Pittman Act of 1918. Because of this, and subsequent melting, it is estimated that only 17% of all Morgan dollars minted still survive. However, that's still many millions of examples.

Many examples exceed $100 in uncirculated condition, but the majority do not. A common date in uncirculated can normally be found for around $20, and often as little as $12 circulated and $16 uncirculated, depending upon the current price of silver.

High-grade Morgan dollars are generally considered "investor" coins. This is because the prices are very volatile, and the values for certified ("slabbed") pieces are set on well-established exchanges.

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