If you’re new to the coin industry, collected coins when you were younger, or have a collection of coins that you received through an estate or as an inheritance, there’s the possibility that your coin collection contains silver dollars. The important thing to remember with silver dollars is that not all of the coins are worth the same value. In this article, we plan on providing valuable information on how to identify low mintage or key date coins, what factors affect the value of your coins, and how to receive the most value when selling silver dollars.
Silver Dollars Defined
First and foremost, it’s important to define silver dollars, at least with respect to how the term is being used in this article, so that there’s no confusion as to the type coins that we’re referring to. For the purposes of this article, we’re referring to U.S. silver dollars minted in 1935 or earlier. These coins contain 90% silver and were the last dollars that contained silver content that were minted for general circulation.
Where Silver Dollars Were Minted
U.S. silver dollars were minted at a few mints, including the Carson City (CC), San Francisco (S), New Orleans (O), Denver (D) and Pennsylvania Mints. The mintage of the coins varied from year to year, but it should be noted that all Carson City minted silver dollars minted from 1878 – 1893 are considered low mintage coins. The mintage of these coins was 2 million coins or less, and in some cases, was less than 1 million. Even Carson City silver dollars in circulated condition sell for a premium above and beyond the silver content of the coins.
Key Date Morgan Silver Dollars
While the mintage of silver dollars from other mints varied, generally speaking, coins minted at the San Francisco Mint are lower mintage coins than some other mints, such as the New Orleans, Denver and Pennsylvania Mints, but that’s not always the case. For instance, all New Orleans Morgan silver dollars minted from 1893 – 1895 are key date coins. Additionally, Pennsylvania issued Morgan silver dollars minted in 1894 and 1895 are two of the highest valued coins in the series. In fact, the 1895 Morgan silver dollar is considered to be the king of Morgan silver dollars, with a value of $20,000 or more!
Key Date Peace Silver Dollars
There are a few higher valued Peace silver dollars in addition to the Morgan silver dollars highlighted above. For instance, the 1921 Peace dollar, which is the only high relief Peace silver dollar in the series, has a mintage of only 1 million coins, and is bought and sold at a premium – especially higher end examples of the coin. The king of the Peace silver dollars is the 1928-P silver dollar. Examples of this coin begin in the $200 range in circulated condition. While these coins are considered to be common date coins in circulated condition, the 1924-S, 1927-S and 1934-S Peace silver dollars all sell for a premium in uncirculated condition.
Factors Affecting the Value of Silver Dollars
While all of the above referenced coins sell at a premium, it’s important to be on the lookout for other attributes that may affect the value of your silver dollars. This includes coins that have substantial wear, evidence of cleaning, surface scratches, rim dents, etc. Most of these issues can dramatically reduce the value of your silver dollars; even low mintage or rare silver dollars. The most substantial price reductions come from coins that have substantial wear, have been defaced, or that have been cleaned. Rim dents and scratches/blemishes due to general circulation and usage of silver dollars are common and have less of an impact on the value of coins relative to the other issues described above.
Types of Silver Dollars
When selling silver dollars, it’s always best to separate your coins by type of silver dollar. Several coin types exist, including Flowing Hair, Draped Bust, Seated Liberty, Trade, Morgan and Peace silver dollars. While it’s not uncommon for common date circulated condition Morgan and Peace dollars to be bought and sold for close to their silver value, silver dollars minted prior to 1878 all have a value that exceeds the silver content of the coins. The silver content of most silver dollars minted in 1935 or earlier is .774 troy ounces.
Identifying the Proper Coin Dealer
Since silver dollars have the potential to be fairly valuable coins, it’s always best to conduct business with reputable silver coin dealers. Other businesses that also buy silver dollars will only provide you with a percentage of the silver content of your coins. The leading buyers of silver dollars will be happy to separate your coins by type, will identify for you lower mintage coins that sell at a premium, and will share with you the pricing guides and resources that they use to properly value your coins. Identifying the proper coin dealer could mean the difference between hundreds or even thousands of dollars when selling your silver dollars. Make sure that you do your due diligence to identify the most respected and reputable coin dealers in your area.