Off time - no update How to Avoid Buying Fake Morgan Silver Dollars -

How to Avoid Buying Fake Morgan Silver Dollars

Buyers at online auction sites usually don’t know that fake Morgan silver dollars are counterfeit until after their buyer protection policy rights have lapsed, which means that they could end up with something that’s almost worthless after spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. These helpful hints can help coin collectors identify fake Morgan silver dollars.

Coin Weight

A closeup of two authentic versions of the Morgan silver dollar that are a part of the rare coin collection at Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers in Johns Creek, GA

The weight of counterfeit Morgan silver dollars differs from standard specifications. The weight of an uncirculated Morgan silver dollar is 26.73 grams. Most replica coins weigh substantially less. Authentic Morgan silver dollars may also weigh less than the standard specs if they have had wear and tear from being in circulation; although, any variation in weight will likely be less than a gram.

Size and Thickness

In addition to their weight, the diameter and thickness of a Morgan silver dollar can be measured to ensure its authenticity. The diameter and thickness of an uncirculated silver dollar should be 38.1 mm and 2.4 mm, respectively. Calipers are a great tool for measuring the height and the width of a Morgan silver dollar. Slight variances are typically within the margin of error for these coins, but any substantial differences are a sign that something’s off. This method can also help collectors spot other counterfeit coins, including fake gold coins, silver coins, and more.

Metal Content

Another factor to consider is that the metal content of most fake Morgan silver dollars differs from the 90/10 silver/copper composition of authentic Morgan silver dollars. An easy way to detect if a coin is fake is to check if it’s magnetic. Precious metals, such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium aren’t magnetic, so if a coin is attracted to a strong magnet, such as an earth magnet, then it’s probably fake.

Additionally, the sound of silver coins differs from coins composed of other metals. The sound of silver has a distinct high pitched ring that tends to linger. Coins composed of a combination of copper and nickel have more of a thud-like sound that doesn’t resonate. Coins composed of other metals, such as aluminum, don’t have a rich or enduring sound like silver.

Mint Marks

Lastly, highly skilled counterfeiters have been known to either add or remove a mint mark from a coin in an attempt to increase its value. The mint mark indicates where the coin was minted. The five mints that produced Morgan silver dollars from 1878 to 1921 are the Denver (D) Mint, the San Francisco (S) Mint, the New Orleans (O) Mint, the Carson City (CC) Mint, and the Philadelphia Mint. Coins minted by the Philadelphia Mint are the only coins that don’t contain a mint mark. These are some of the highest produced coins, so it’s common for most Morgan silver dollars not to have mint marks.

The most commonly counterfeited coins are those issued by the San Francisco and Carson City Mints. While some of the replicas are of relatively high quality, a 10x triple magnifier will help to identify nuances between counterfeit stamped mint marks and authentic mint marks.

The best way to avoid mistakenly purchasing a counterfeit is by finding a reputable coin dealer. At Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers, our team is dedicated to making sure that people in Atlanta and the surrounding areas only buy and sell authentic items. We regularly evaluate and perform appraisals on a variety of rare coins and bullion. If you have any more questions about Morgan silver dollars, schedule an appointment at one of our locations by calling 404-236-9744 or reaching out online.

Tony Davis is the owner of Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers, a full service Atlanta based coin and bullion dealer specializing in buying, selling and appraising coins and coin collections of all types and sizes. Tony frequently writes on various economic and numismatic related topics affecting the coin and bullion markets and has been published on some of the industry’s leading websites, including Coin Week, the American Numismatic Association, Coin Collector, Coinflation and Coin Auctions Help, just to name a few. Visit Atlanta Gold & Coin’s website at to obtain additional information on the products, services and educational resources offered by his company. Tony can be reached at or at 404-236-9744. Be sure to "like" Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers on Facebook , follow them on Twitter, or subscribe to their RSS feed to receive the latest news, tips and expert advice on old, rare, collectible and bullion coins.