Morgan Silver dollars are some of the most popular dollars the U.S. mint has ever produced. We have seen the history of Morgan dollars and how to go about collecting a Morgan dollar in Shopcsn blog earlier. In this post, we are talking about the Top 10 rare Morgan dollars.
The 1893-S Morgan Silver Dollar was struck in the San Francisco mint under the back-drop of the Economic depression. After the Sherman Silver Purchase act of 1890, the Morgan Silver Dollar production was reduced dramatically in 1893. Just 100,000 of them! There are a very few left for collectors and the ones that are available demand a huge premium in the Mint-state conditions. Your best bet would be to collect a VF-20 coin that would put you back by around $7250.
The Carson City Morgan Silver Dollars were struck from 1878 using the Silver from the Comstock Lode. The city from Nevada state had a very small population back then and the production of the Silver dollars put a serious financial strain in the small city. The production was stopped for three years and commenced production again in the second half of 1889. The 1889-CC is understandably a rare specimen as only 350,000 were struck. An EF-40 would be ideal to collect as it would cost around $3500.
The 1901 Morgan Silver Dollar from the Philadelphia mint is the next most valuable in the list. Even though the mintage was 6.9 million, they are rare in Mint-state conditions as probably almost all of them were placed in circulation and the rest melted because of the Pittman act. 813 Proof coins were struck and sell at around $3500 at PF-63 conditions. There are also the Double-die reverse error issues that go up to $5000 at MS-60. If you can’t afford the higher grades, the business strikes could be had at around $2500 in MS-60.
Around 3.2 million of the 1884-S Morgan Silver Dollars were minted and almost all of them were put up into circulation. Very few coins were released during the GSA sale of the coins. That is the reason, this coin is sold to the order of $250,000 or above. You could get an MS-60 of this coin at $5500.
In terms of mintage in the New Orleans mint, the 1893-O was the lowest. Only 300,000! A few bags of these coins were released from the vault by the treasury and paid out at its cash value in the 1950s! The result was a highly exclusive coin that is sold above $247,500! Because of the low mintage, even the lower grades are scarce. You could collect an MS-60 at $2000 or an MS-63 at $8000.
The New Orleans mint struck 1895-O coins with an aim to just make as many silver dollars as possible in the least amount of time. The coins looked terrible because of the space between the die and the coin. Of the 450,000 that were minted, some were put up in storage, some melted and the rest (around 100,000) were put up for circulation. They are quite rare in Mint-state conditions and even an MS-60 costs around $18,000. You could try collecting an AU-50 at $1900.
The 1886-O coins were weakly struck as the coiners believed they were going into storage anyway! Among the 10.7 million coins struck, around 2 million were put up for circulation and almost 8 to 9 million melted because of the Pittman Act. Very few of these coins were represented during the GSA sales and that’s why they sell at a premium of $225,000! You could get an MS-63 at $4000.
The San Francisco mint minted 1.2 million of the 1892-S coins and almost all of them were put up into circulation. This issue in the lower grades are quite inexpensive and readily available. As very few Uncirculated coins were retained in the mint when they were struck, coins in Mint-state conditions are quite rare. You could get an AU-50 for $2250.
4.9 million of the 1896-O coins were struck and most were put up for circulation. Rest of them were put up in 1000 coin bags into treasury vaults in Washington and Philadelphia mints. Some bags were revealed during the 1960s and one bag was supposedly stolen from LaVere Redfield, the Nevada collector. The lower grades are readily available and inexpensive. You could get a MS-60 for $1100 or a MS-63 for $8000.
10. 1895 Proof
In 1895, the Philadelphia coiners are said to have struck 12,000 business strikes and 880 Proof issues. But none of these business strike coins exist today. Of the 880 Proof coins, around 700 exist today. Even though these coins are highly coveted, some collectors ignore them and confine themselves to the business strikes of other dates/mints. EF-40 of the 1895 can be collected for $30,000!