Morgan Silver Dollars - One of The Most Collected Classic Coins

Morgan Silver Dollars - One of The Most Collected Classic Coins

Posted by Andrew Adamo on Sep 21st 2023

Morgan Silver Dollar

Though it was not always as popular as it is today, the Morgan silver dollar is arguably the most widely collected classic U.S. coin series and the most popular 19th century American coin collected by millions of people.

These large coins were made of 90% silver and contained .7724 troy ounces of the metal. They were struck from 1878 to 1904 and then again in 1921.This classic series was revived in 2021 when the Mint switched to striking the coins in .999 fine silver.

The original Morgan silver dollars were minted in quantities that far exceeded their need for commerce or the coins needed to back up all the paper silver certificates that were being issued at the time. Because of this situation, large quantities of these beautiful coins piled up in Treasury vaults for decades until the early 1960s when millions of $1,000 bags of pristine uncirculated coins were released to the public over a series of years. Some dates like 1903-O that used to be rare suddenly became much more plentiful.

That massive release, along with the sale in the 1970s of the Carson City Mint Morgans that had been found among those millions of coins in bags were sold by the General Services Administration, helped to spur the high level of interest in the coins that continues to exist today. Those Carson City coins also remain among the most popular coins of the Morgan dollar series.

Morgan Silver Dollars - One of The Most Collected Classic Coins

Morgan silver dollar mint marks

Morgan silver dollars were struck at five branches of the United States Mint. They include: coins produced at the main Mint facility in Philadelphia that did not contain a mint mark; coins struck at the San Francisco Mint that carry an “S” mint mark; those made at the famous Carson City Mint that feature the popular “CC” mint mark; those produced at the New Orleans Mint that have an “O” mint mark; and coins made at the Denver Mint only in 1921 that are the only Morgan dollars that have a “D” mint mark.

Generally, coins that were struck at the San Francisco and Carson City Mints are of much higher quality and have better strikes than Morgans that were produced at the Philadelphia and New Orleans Mints that tend to have weaker strikes.

1921-D Morgan dollars are the weakest strikes of all these coins. They also used a different die that was made for the 1921 dollars that is shallower because the original dies used from 1878 to 1904 had been destroyed by the Mint Director at the time and had to be recreated in 1921.

At least 270 million Morgan dollars, including some of dates that are today the rarest of the series such as the 1895 coins, were melted under the 1918 Pittman Act and sent to India. A couple years later Congress revived the program just for 1921.

Morgan dollars for sale:

We have a wide selection of Morgan silver dollars for sale on our website.

This includes everything from common to rarer dates available uncertified and graded and in rolls of circulated and uncirculated Morgan dollars.

There are the always popular Carson City Mint coins, for example, which we have in their original GSA holders and graded. We have the more common issues from 1882, 1883 and 1884 ungraded and in high-grade examples like the 1883-CC in MS66DMPL, which is very hard to find. We even have the very rare 1893-CC coin for serious Morgan dollar enthusiasts.

You might want to consider a 20-coin starter kit of the more common date Morgan dollars graded MS63.

We also have many of the final year of issue 1921 Morgan dollars, which got a boost from the 2021 coins.

For the more advanced Morgan dollar collector, there are certified examples of many better-date and rare Morgan dollars such as the 1892-S coin and high-grade examples of dates like 1900-0.

Finally, we also have an extensive selection of the new Morgan dollars issued so far in 2021 and 2023, including a complete set of the 2021 coins, first day of issue examples of the new 2023 Morgans and much more too!

2021 Morgan Silver dollar

In 2019 Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee members Thomas Uram, currently the President of the American Numismatic Association, and Michael Moran, an award-winning numismatic expert, began working to build support in Congress for legislation that would authorize coins to be struck in 2021 to mark the centennial of the release of the last Morgan dollar in 1921 and the very first Peace dollar issued that same year.

There was insufficient support in Congress for this program at the time, so Uram and Moran developed a new approach for an ongoing series of collector coins that would begin in 2021 and could continue indefinitely if the Mint decided to do so. It was basically modeled on the American Silver Eagle program with similar premiums compared to those of the numismatic versions of Silver Eagles.

That approach had strong bipartisan support in Congress, probably because it was estimated to generate substantial profits for the Mint and the taxpayer, and the program became law at the start of 2021.

The release of the 2021 Morgan dollars was a huge success with each of the five versions – one for each of those four famous mint marks plus coins for Philadelphia that lack a mint mark – selling out very quickly. The coins for Carson City and New Orleans were of course not actually made there since those mints no longer exist, so instead privy marks that resemble the old CC and O mint marks were used. The “S” and “D” coins were made at their respective Mints.

Each of those coins had a mintage limit of 175,000 – lower than that of many of the lowest mintage original Morgan dollars – and sold out instantly. Those coins have seen an impressive increase in their secondary market value.

As the first year of the modern revival of the Morgan dollar series, those 2021 Morgans should continue to remain in demand with collectors.

2022 Morgan Silver Dollar

The Mint sees the new Morgan silver dollars as a continuation of the original series, not a commemorative, as some collectors view the 2021 coins. Former Mint Director David J. Ryder, who played a key role in getting the program off the ground, had expressed interest in continuing the series, and his successor Ventris C. Gibson has done just that.

However, due to the high demand for silver bullion coins at the time and competition from other mints for a limited number of silver planchets, no 2022 Morgan dollars were issued. On March 14, 2022, Mint Director Gibson announced a suspension of the silver dollar program until 2023 for those reasons. Until then proof versions had been widely anticipated for 2022.

Proof examples of the original Morgans are pricey coins in any grade and beyond the reach of most average collectors. The new Proofs give collectors a chance to own their first examples of this iconic coin struck with ultra cameo surfaces.

Collectors who were not able to order the 2021 Morgans from the U.S. Mint said they thought the mintage level was too low for these coins. But Mint officials again pointed to the silver planchet shortage to explain why they could not make more of those coins.

The Mint took into account collector concerns about the release of those coins and made changes to the program for 2023, including higher mintages to satisfy anticipated demand for the coins and the ability to order them in advance with the Mint’s subscription program.

2023 Morgan Silver Dollar

In July 2022, the Mint began accepting subscription orders for its 2023 silver dollar program, which includes proof versions limited to 400,000 coins plus uncirculated examples that are like the 2021 coins which have a mintage limit of 275,000. Finally, a special Reverse Proof set will be issued too that will be limited to 250,000 sets (along with a Peace dollar in the same finish).

The uncirculated coins were released on July 13 by which time most of the coins had already been sold via subscriptions. The remaining coins sold out in less than an hour. By July 23 over 99% of the maximum mintage for those coins had been sold.

The proof coins were launched on August 10. With a much higher mintage than the uncirculated coins, the proofs have not yet sold out.

The Reverse Proof set will be issued during the fall.

The new Morgan silver dollars have helped stimulate even more widespread interest in these coins, which has been reflected in the hotter than usual market for the coins during the current boom the coin market is experiencing. And that has meant stronger prices for many of the original Morgan dollars from common to more scarce dates.