11 Morgan Silver Dollars That Can Be Both Common & Key Date Coins
If you’re a fan of our blog, you know we tend to write about Morgan silver dollars pretty extensively because they are still among the most collectible coins in the industry today.
So, what makes this article a bit different from the others? Let’s just say this information is not only educational but entertaining as well.
For example, did you know there were more than 650,000,000 Morgan silver dollars produced in the 27-year timeframe from 1878 – 1921? If you use simple math, that’s approximately 24 million coins each year across all mints, 66k coins per day or 2,748 coins per hour!
With massive numbers like these, you can see why these coins remain so collectible over a century later. In fact, we’ve covered in earlier posts common date or highly minted coins, specific collectible high-value coins, which are commonly referred to as key date coins, and their differences.
But did you know there are some specific Morgan dollars that can be both a common date AND a key date coin? Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? After all, how can something be common and rare at the same time? This is where it gets interesting.
In a nutshell, it has to do with the condition of the coins. Most coins with a mintage of over 1.5 million coins are considered common date coins. In other words, such a large volume of these coins was produced and circulated making them common and not as collectible.
However, there are some exceptions for years that had a high volume of heavily circulated coins, or they were part of the large number (230,232,722) of coins that were melted down during the Pittman Act in 1918, which makes uncirculated specimens rare and valuable despite their original mintage numbers.
Here we identify 11 coins, in chronological order, that are considered common date coins if in circulated condition and key date coins if in uncirculated condition. We’ll use the grades of fine condition as the baseline for common date coins and MS60 (mint state coins) and above for uncirculated condition.
You’ll likely notice a pattern with the coins that we’ve identified that we don’t want to give away quite yet. We hope you enjoy the coins that made this list and their significance.
On the surface, an 1883-S Morgan silver dollar appears to be a run-of-the-mill common date silver dollar. In fact, with a production of 6.25 million, it has a higher mintage than over half of the Morgan silver dollars produced! Why would such a high-production coin also be considered a key date coin? First, let’s look at the value of a standard circulated condition 1883-S Morgan. According to the most recent Greysheet coin dealer price guide, this coin has a value of $34 in fine condition. This is more or less the typical retail price for these coins, as most investors and collectors use the Greysheet to determine market prices.
As we move up the grading scale, there is a gradual increase in prices, eclipsing the $1,000 mark at the MS60 grade with a listed value of $1,075.
Clearly, there are a relatively small number of these coins that have an MS60 grade meaning there are very few of these coins that have been identified as being in uncirculated condition despite the high mintage.
In fact, at the time of this writing, NGC and PCGS have only certified 119 and 147 coins as MS60, respectively. If we combine the total number of coins that are certified as MS60 – MS63, we have a total population of 4,600 coins. This is still a mere drop in the bucket when you consider the total number of coins produced.
One word of warning – 99% of the time when these coins are advertised as uncirculated and they are uncertified or raw, they aren’t in fact uncirculated.
If you’re a collector and are looking for an uncirculated coin for your collection, we highly recommend that you purchase a coin certified by NGC or PCGS, the two leading third-party grading services in the industry to ensure that you’re purchasing an accurately graded coin.
The 1884-s Morgan silver dollar also had a significant mintage of 3.2 million coins, even though it is almost half the number of 1883-s Morgan silver dollars struck. When compared to the production numbers of other Morgan dollars, it has a mintage in the bottom third of all Morgan silver dollars produced.
In other words, approximately two-thirds of the other dates and mint marks were produced in higher quantities. Still, 3.2 million coins is a considerable amount and therefore is a common date coin.
When referencing the most recent Greysheet values (at the time of this writing), we see this coin has a listed price of $34 in fine condition – the same as the 1883-s Morgan. This means these coins are easy to acquire at a price not significantly above the spot price of silver due to their availability in the market. However, the value increases as we approach uncirculated condition, and then takes off from there.
How high will this coin go? Well, hold on to your seats, as the price of an uncirculated 1884-s may floor you. Greysheet lists an MS60 1884-s Morgan silver dollar at $9,000! The price difference between just two grades is a whopping $8,900. When we look at the population report, we see that only 825 out of 3.2 million coins have been certified by NGC and PCGS to be an MS60 – MS63. This means it is rare to find an uncirculated version of this coin since so many remained in circulation throughout the years.
Again, much like the 1883-s Morgan silver dollar, we highly recommend that you only purchase a certified coin if you’re interested in adding an uncirculated specimen to your collection.
If 99% of raw advertised 1883-s Morgan silver dollars aren’t uncirculated, then 99.9% of raw advertised as uncirculated 1884-s Morgan silver dollars aren’t truly uncirculated either. Don’t be fooled by the flashy pictures that sellers post on auction sites, such as eBay or Etsy.
By now, you’ve probably realized that one common denominator with the coins so far is that they were produced at the San Francisco Mint. The 1885-s Morgan dollar is no exception. However, the production of this coin is less than the two previously highlighted coins with a mintage of approximately 1.5 million coins. With such a low mintage (relative to the two other coins), you would assume that this coin is significantly more valuable, but that’s not the case.
This coin follows the same pattern as the 1883-s & 1884-s Morgans in that it has a list price of $34 in fine condition. Prices gradually increase as the condition improves, but we don’t see the same type of astronomical jump in value when in uncirculated condition as we saw with the 1883-s and 1884-s coins.
While still nothing to sneeze at, a listed value of $320 in MS60 condition is a far cry from the $1,000+ values of the previously highlighted Morgan silver dollars in the same grade.
Why would a coin with a significantly lower mintage have such as drastically lower price? It has to do with the survival rate of the coins and the number of coins that have been certified in uncirculated condition. Looking at the population reports, we see that 115 and 108 coins, respectively, have been certified in MS60 condition by NGC and PCGS. However, the number of coins in higher grade coins (in other words above MS60 condition) is substantial. Nearly 11,000 coins have been certified by each of the grading services in MS60 thru MS63 condition.
This is substantially higher than the other coins listed thus far meaning there are more uncirculated graded coins available from the relatively small 1.5-million-coin population.
Okay, let’s take a break from San Francisco-issued Morgan silver dollars and highlight a couple of New Orleans-issued silver dollars. These coins can be identified with an “O” mint mark on the reverse side of the coin. The first coin we’re going to discuss is the 1892-o Morgan silver dollar.
This coin had a decent mintage of approximately 2.7 million coins, which puts it on par with the mintage of 1884-s Morgan silver dollars.
As is the case with the other coins we’ve highlighted so far, it has a list price of $34 in fine condition and begins to slowly increase in price as we move up the grading scale with a listed price of $400 in MS60 condition. Prices only continue to rise from here and reach the $2,500 level in MS65 condition.
As is the case with these other coins, the population report tells us a good bit as to why the coins are valued at these levels. Approximately 8,000 coins have been certified by NGC and PCGS in MS60 – MS63 condition, which makes it a more common coin in uncirculated condition than the 1883-s and 1884-s San Francisco-issued Morgan dollars that we noted above, yet it still has significant value.
The 1892-p Morgan silver dollar is the first Morgan dollar from the Philadelphia Mint to make the list but won’t be the last. This coin had a mintage of roughly 1 million, which is well below the mintage of the other coins that we’ve highlighted. In most cases, this would qualify it as at least a semi-key date coin, but clearly, enough of these coins avoided the melting pot, which is obviously a good thing for investors and collectors alike.
On par with the other listed coins, the stated price for this coin is $34 in fine condition yet there is a gradual increase in prices as we approach the uncirculated level. According to Greysheet, this coin has a value of $500 in MS60 condition.
When we look at the population report, we only see 91 & 54 coins, respectively, certified in MS60 condition by NGC and PCGS, but the numbers increase at the MS61 level and above. Considering only a few thousand coins have been certified in uncirculated condition compared to a mintage of 1 million, this still makes this a significant and valuable coin.
The 1894-o Morgan silver dollar is the second New Orleans-issued Morgan dollar to make our list thus far. With a mintage of 1.7 million, it’s not one of the highest minted coins, but not the lowest either. However, with a production of nearly 1 million coins less than the 1892-o Morgan silver dollar, you would expect it to be significantly more valuable than the 1892-o Morgan dollar.
Let’s see if that’s the case…
When reviewing the Greysheet, we see this coin has a listed value of $40 in fine condition. There is a notable increase in value at the Almost Uncirculated (AU) level and a significant increase at the MS60 grade with a current listed value of $2,150 in MS60 condition!
Let’s look at the population report to see why the price is so significant. Only 235 of these coins have been certified in MS60 condition by NGC and PCGS and only 1,765 in MS61 and higher grades. This also means there are very few coins that have been identified in mint state. Much like the 1884-s Morgan, be wary of advertised raw uncirculated specimens of these coins, as they likely aren’t truly in uncirculated condition.
The third and final New Orleans-issued Morgan silver dollar to make our list is the 1897-o Morgan silver dollar. This coin had a fairly robust mintage of 4 million coins placing it in the middle of the pack as far as the production of coins that have made our list.
As with the other coins we’ve highlighted so far, an 1897-o Morgan silver dollar in fine condition is currently listed at $34. This coin doesn’t register as being a key date coin to the general public, but when found in uncirculated condition, its value catapults to an astounding $1,100. It only goes up from there with a stunning list price of $10,500 in MS64 condition, according to the most recent Greysheet. If you take time to look through your 1897-o Morgan silver dollars, you probably can’t find one in better than XF condition, as it’s a tough coin to find in high-end condition.
A look at the most recent population report confirms the rarity of the coin. A total of 3,300 coins have been certified in MS60 – MS63 by the two leading third-party grading services. So why is an MS64 1897-o Morgan silver dollar so much more expensive? This is because less than 100 coins have received this grade. The finest known example is in MS67 condition, which has sold for as much as $348,000.
The 1898-s Morgan silver dollar is the fourth San Francisco-issued Morgan dollar that we’ve highlighted thus far. It has a significant mintage of 4.1 million coins and is pretty much an afterthought by most coin collectors as being a valuable or significant coin. However, as we’ve shown so far, the original mintage isn’t always a good indicator of the value of the coin.
Consistent with the other previously mentioned coins, it has a list price of $34 in fine condition. Par for the course, we see the price slowly increase as the condition improves with a published price of $495 in MS60 condition.
This is nearly identical in value to the 1892-p Morgan silver dollar in this condition, which had of mintage of 3 million fewer coins.
Our handy population report reveals that approximately 4,000 of these coins have been certified by NGC and PCGS between MS60 – MS63 condition. Interestingly, more coins have been certified at the MS63 level than at the MS60 – MS62 levels. Again, as we’ve previously discussed, an MS60 grade is the lowest grade given for an uncirculated coin, so it may or may not give a full picture of the total number of certified uncirculated coins.
The 1899-s Morgan silver dollar has a mintage of approximately 2.5 million coins. When we look back at the other San Francisco Morgan silver dollars on this list, it appears to be right in the middle in terms of the number of coins produced. The coin with the closest mintage that we’ve highlighted thus far is the 1892-o Morgan with a mintage of 2.7 million coins.
This is a run-of-the-mill coin in circulated condition with a published value of $34. But, as with the other coins, this coin increases in value as the condition improves reaching the $600 mark in MS60 condition. While not quite four figures, its value is significant and is higher than some of the other coins we’ve highlighted thus far.
The population report shows that only 4,000 of these coins have been certified in MS60 – MS63 condition by NGC and PCGS, which in part reveals why the value is so significant. From an aesthetic perspective, we recommend MS62 condition or better, as it tends to have fewer contact marks, a cleaner cheek (on Lady Liberty), and is overall a more attractive coin.
Like some of the other San Francisco Morgan silver dollars we’ve discussed, the 1900-s Morgan appears to be a standard coin with a mintage of roughly 3.5 million.
In fact, most investors and collectors probably don’t give this coin the time of day as it’s not one of the more well-known key date coins, such as the highly popular Carson City silver dollars. However, the value of the coin may surprise you.
The Greysheet has a published value of $36 in fine condition and follows the same trend as the other coins we’ve highlighted so far, reaching $485 in MS60 condition.
A peek at the population report doesn’t reveal anything too unexpected, with a total of approximately 5,000 coins certified in the MS60 – MS63 range. The highest number of coins in this range received an MS63 grade, which is a solid uncirculated grade. These coins reveal limited contact marks on the coin and usually display nice bold mint luster across the surface of the coin.
We’ve seen many of the coins that we’ve highlighted thus far with similar values at the MS60 grade, but we will be wrapping up our article on a high note with the next featured coin.
Last but not least is the 1901-p Morgan silver dollar. This is the second Philadelphia-issued coin to make the list and is the highest-produced Morgan silver dollar that we’ve highlighted with a mintage of roughly 7 million coins. On the surface, a coin with such a large production run should be the lowest priced of the bunch, but in fact, it’s one of the most valuable.
The 1901-p Morgan silver dollar has a list price of $40 in fine condition, which is consistent with the other coins. However, unlike some of the other coins, we see a significant increase in value in high-end condition. In fact, it’s only the fourth coin to reach the four-figure mark with a current list price of $4,100 in MS60 condition. In fact, it’s only second to the 1884-s Morgan silver dollar in terms of value.
A coin with a listed value of over $4,000 is sure to have fewer certified coins in uncirculated condition, and in fact, that is exactly the case here. The current population report reveals that only about 1,600 out of 7 million coins have received an MS60 – MS63 grade from NGC or PCGS. This is a good bit less than most of the other coins we’ve reviewed thus far making an uncirculated coin quite scarce.
Again, as is the case with the other coins we’ve discussed, 99.9% of advertised raw uncirculated 1901-p Morgan silver dollars are in fact in circulated condition. Consistent with our prior recommendations, only purchase a certified coin if you want to add an uncirculated coin to your collection.
In conclusion, we’ve highlighted eleven Morgan silver dollars that are common date coins in circulated condition and that are also highly valued in uncirculated condition. Most of the coins were produced by the San Francisco Mint, but the Philadelphia and New Orleans-issued coins also made the list.
Please note that we didn’t include any Carson City silver dollars, as all these coins are at least semi-key date coins. The only Denver-issued Morgan silver dollar was from 1921, which is a common date coin.
If you’re a collector and in the market for any of these coins in uncirculated condition, we recommend that you purchase certified coins or raw from a reputable coin dealer. Most advertised examples we see fall short of uncirculated condition, which could end up costing you thousands of dollars in the long run. If you’re in the market to sell Morgan silver dollars, read this article first for valuable insight.
We hope you found this list of coins as interesting as we did while putting it together and welcome you to contact us with all your buying and selling needs. As one of the nation’s leading dealers in Morgan silver dollars, we have the expertise to help you maximize your profit when selling or to make a solid investment when buying.
Contact us today to see why we’re the premier coin dealer in Atlanta and one of the leading coin experts in the U.S.
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