Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The Money of the Wild West: The Morgan Silver Dollar

The Morgan silver dollar was initially mined with the intention of keeping the price of silver stabilized after the occurrence of the silver strike in Colorado that resulted in a sudden crash of silver price. This Dollar was in use during the 1878 to 1904 and was later stopped due to the sudden increase in price. During the year 1921 it came back in to use and rented for not more than a year. This particular Morgan Dollar was minted across various locations like Denver, Carson City, San Francisco, Philadelphia and New Orleans. The Morgan silver spot price depends on the year it was created and also on its quality of preservation.


Unlike many coins that were mined over a hundred years ago Morgan Silver coin has a high grade of Deep Mirror Proof Like or DMPL. This means that these silver for money coins have frosted images and devices so that parts of the coin seem matte finished while the background have a silvery polish. Old currency coins are like to follow this process of manufacture than the later ones. The DMPL dollars have more worth than the newer ones.

Brief history

As earlier mentioned the Morgan silver dollar was first minted in the years of 1878 after the Bland-Alison Act was passed. The coin was named after the deigned George T Morgan. This act eventually led to the overproduction of silver dollars that asserted in million of unused cartwheels that were languishing in bank and treasury vaults.

Design of Morgan silver dollar

It has the head of lady Liberty on the front of the coin with a wing spread eagle that holds an arrow and olive branch on its back. The Eagle represented the freedom enjoyed by this country. This was the first coin to use the E Pluribus Unum slogan that is imprinted on the back of the coin. It is quite a large coin almost as big as half dollar coins that are in use today.


The Morgan Silver dollar consists of a silver fineness of.900 or 90% silver. It weighs a little over 24 grams. The only other metal that was used to make this coin was copper.

Grades of the Morgan silver dollar

This dollar is found in various grades, some of which are known as Prooflike, Almost Uncirculated (AU), Brilliant Uncirculated (BU), almost good, and cull. The grade of the coin is determined by the degree of wear that the coin has undergone.

• Prooflike: These coins will have watery proof like fields. Prooflike dollars are the first couple of hundred coins stuck from new or newly polished dies.

• Brilliant Uncirculated: Term used to indicate a coin that still keeps a lot of the original brilliance and luster and was withheld from circulation. It is considered to be a near perfect coin that has been used.

• Almost Uncirculated: This coin grade is almost perfect. There is a light trace of wear on the coin, usually on the high areas of the coin.

• Almost Good: The grade for a coin that is just below good. On an almost good coin, only its main features are present. The date, mintmark, peripheral lettering, or other features are sometimes partially worn away

• Poor / Cull: This is the lowest grade of Morgan silver dollar. This type of coin has gone through extreme wear and the edges have become smooth as a result of wear.

Before determining the worth of the coin you should also look for the mint mark and the year of vintage. The following mint mark represents the mint location:

S: San Francisco

P: Philadelphia

O: New Orleans

CC: Carson City

D: Denver

The coin that is marked as CC has some of the highest value. The 1889-CC, 1885 Proof and 1893-S are known to be of good value owed to their rareness. You should know that the Proof coin should not have a mint mark as attempts were made to forge the coin by filling in the Proof mark. Before you purchase any of the rare Morgan silver coins as collectables you should consult with an expert coin specialist who will help you determine the true worth of the coin.

Morgan silver dollars have high demand among numismatic enthusiasts. Its physical size, historical significance and beauty have been key reasons for its popularity. These silver dollars have moderately earned in value over the years.

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