How a Mint Mark Can Affect the Value of Your Silver Dollars
As coin dealers, we’re frequently asked to provide an estimated value of silver dollars based on the year of the coin. While the year of the coin can certainly impact the value, a greater determining factor is the coin’s mint mark, or where the coin was minted.
You may have been asked in the past for the mint mark of your coin, and wondered where it was located and how it affects the value of your coin. If so, and you’re still not sure of the answer to these questions, then this article is for you!
This information is in reference to Morgan silver dollars and Peace silver dollars, which were minted from 1878 — 1921 and 1921 — 1935, respectively. The United States mint produced these 90% silver coins throughout the country, with each mint producing a certain number of each.
Both coins have an image of Lady Liberty on the front and an eagle on the back, but the location of the mint mark (if the coin has one) is located in different areas.
How to Find the Mint Mark on Silver Dollars
The mint mark for both Morgan dollar and Peace silver dollars can be found on the reverse side of the coin. The mint mark for Morgan silver dollars is located at the bottom center of the coin below the wreath and slightly above the letters “D” and “O” in “Dollar.” This is true for all Morgan silver dollars, including the coins minted in 1921. For Peace silver dollars, the mint mark can be found below the word “ONE” and to the left of the eagle’s tail feathers.
It’s common for silver dollars to not contain mint marks, which means that they were minted in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Mint was the first mint established in the United States and was the largest producer of silver dollars in most years.
Do Mint Marks Increase Silver Dollar Value?
The short is yes; the presence or absence of a mint mark can and usually do affect the coin’s value. However, there is no defined rule of thumb to this because each coin is different. In some cases, the mint mark may increase the value, but in others, a no-mint-mark error may increase the worth.
Sometimes, where the coin was minted is the real prize for coin collectors. Morgan and Peace silver dollars were minted at a total of five U.S. Mints, and you can figure out where a silver dollar was minted based on its mint mark:
- The Carson City Mint, which has a “CC” mint mark
- The Denver Mint, which has a “D” mint mark
- The San Francisco Mint, which has an “S” mint mark
- The New Orleans Mint, which has an “O” mint mark
- The Philadelphia Mint, which has no mint mark
Does the Date and Mint Mark Affect the Value of a Silver Dollar?
Many collectors use the combination of the mint mark and date to determine the value of a silver dollar. The date of a coin is categorized by the difficulty it is to obtain, and is broken down as such: common date, semi-key date, or key date coin. Most silver dollars had a mintage of well into the millions, making them common date coins.
Some had a lower mintage (one to two million), and are typically referred to as semi-key date coins, while others had a mintage of less than a million, and are typically referred to as key date or rare coins.
What Are the Most Valuable Morgan Silver Dollars?
With respect to Morgan dollars, all of the coins minted in Carson City are considered semi-key date or key date coins. Other lower mintage Morgan dollars have increased value. This includes the following coins, by mint. (Note that the dates without a letter refer to coins minted in Philadelphia):
The king of the Morgan dollars is the 1895 variety, which has a starting price of $25,000 in average circulated condition.
All of the 1895 Philadelphia minted Morgan silver dollars were proof or specimen coins. Only 880 were ever minted. Many of them are unaccounted for, and it is suspected that the survivability of these coins is substantially below the original mintage.
What Are the Most Valuable Peace Silver Dollars?
Even though the mintage of some Peace silver dollars rivaled the mintage of Morgan silver dollars, only a couple of the coins are considered key date coins in circulated condition:
- The 1921 Peace dollar, which was the only high relief Peace dollar minted
- The 1928 Peace dollar: With a mintage of only 360,00 coins, it was the lowest minted Peace silver dollar.
While only a couple of the coins are considered key date coins in circulated condition, several others, including the 1924-S, 1927-S, 1928-S, 1934-S, and 1935-S Peace dollars are considered semi-key date or key date coins in almost uncirculated condition or better.
We often get calls regarding the 1922 Peace Dollar and its related value. Over 17 million Peace dollars, designed by Anthony de Francisci in 1922, so it is a fairly common coin to still come across compared to other dates.
Two other quick notes regarding Peace dollars. All Peace dollars include the letter “V” in lieu of a “U” in the word “Trust.” This is not an error, but rather was used to commemorate our victory in World War I. Also, the number “3” in 1923 Peace dollars in many cases looks like an “8.” If you have any questions, use a loop or some type of magnification to confirm.
The year of mintage of your Morgan or Peace dollar only tells half the story. The mint at which the coin was produced is the key factor in determining whether you have a common date, semi-key date, or rare silver dollar on your hands.
Remember that not all silver dollars contain a mint mark, and if by chance you happen to be lucky enough to come across an 1895 Morgan silver dollar without a mint mark, you likely have a five-figure coin in your possession.
The other Morgan and Peace dollars highlighted above also have values that well exceed the silver content of your coins.
Once you’re familiar with your coins, we recommend that you do your due diligence before selecting a coin dealer. At Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers, we’re a member of several reputable industry organizations, such as the American Numismatic Association, Certified Coin Exchange, CoinNet, Roundtable Trading. We are also a PCGS and NGC authorized dealer.
As the leading coin dealer in the Atlanta area, we’re happy to buy and sell silver coins, gold coins, rare coins, and more. Receive more when selling coin collections to Atlanta Gold & Coin. To schedule an appointment with a member of our staff, call 404-997-2918 or complete our online form.