What to look for when evaluating Morgan Dollars

Morgan silver dollars are one of the most popular series of United States coins. However, it wasn't always that way. It wasn't until the mid-1970s that Morgan silver dollars became extremely popular with coin collectors.

History of the Morgan Silver Dollar

In February 1878, the Bland-Allison Act became law and mandated that the government purchase several million dollars worth of silver every month and coin them into silver dollars.

These coins were not needed for commerce but were used to artificially stabilize the price of silver at the request of the silver mining interests in the Western United States.

George T. Morgan was the English engraver that designed the obverse and the reverse of the coin. The United States Mint in Philadelphia struck the first Morgan silver dollars in 1878. Over the life of the coin series, the mint produced it at five different mints: Philadelphia (no mint mark). New Orleans (mint mark O), San Francisco (S), Carson City (CC) and Denver (D).

Production stopped in 1904 with coins being produced only at the Philadelphia, New Orleans, and San Francisco mints. When silver dollar production resumed in 1921, the Peace silver dollar design was not ready for the coining presses. Therefore, mint employees revived the Morgan silver dollar design that was used for part of the year until the Peace silver dollar dies were ready for production.

These dates are very collectible in any condition.

  • 1881 CC

  • 1885 CC

  • 1889 CC

  • 1893 CC

  • 1893 S

  • 1895 Proof

  • 1895 S


As you have probably heard, condition is very important. A coin in original condition is preferred by collectors even if it has natural patina. Never clean your coins as you can drastically decrease the value. Please click here for a photo example of grades of Morgan Dollars