5 Key Date Morgan Silver Dollars

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  • 1884-S Morgan dollar

  • 1889-CC Morgan dollar

  • 1893-S Morgan dollar

  • 1895 Proof Morgan dollar

  • 1903-O Morgan dollar

The Morgan silver dollar set is one of the most collected series of coins ever produced by the U.S. Mint. Yet, for serious collectors finding a key date coin to complete their Morgan dollar set can be an elusive and difficult challenge. Key date coins represent a date or a date and a mintmark in a certain series. Key date coins are typically lower mintage, harder to find and more expensive than other dates in the series.

Morgan dollars are named after its designer, George T. Morgan. Numismatics love its large size, vast supply in many dates and handsome appearance—all which make it an affordable and desirable series to collect.

Key date Morgan silver dollars are the most difficult to attain. However, when a collector does acquire the rarest and most expensive coin in a series, the feeling of accomplishment is indescribable.

The U.S. Mint produced Morgan dollars from 1878 through 1904 and then again in 1921. The Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, Denver, and Carson City branches all produced Morgan dollars. Looking for the mintmark on a Morgan silver dollar? You can find it for all mints except Philadelphia on the reverse of the silver coins below the ribbon bow of the wreath.

Here are five key dates for Morgan silver dollars. These 90% silver dollars are needed by every collector who seeks to build a complete date and mint mark collection.

1. 1884-S Morgan dollar

1884-S Morgan dollar





In 1884, the San Francisco Mint produced 3.2 million Morgan silver dollars. Out of those 3.2 million coins, there are only 20 known survivors. This is a one of the most memorable silver dollars with the S-mint and only the 1893-S would be considered more difficult to find and expensive to own.

2. 1889-CC Morgan dollar

1889-CC Morgan dollar





Most collectors can only dream of only an 1889-CC Morgan Dollar. In 1889, the Carson City Mint resumed coin production after being shut down for four years. In 1889, the Carson City Mint produced 350,000 Morgan silver dollars. However, most of these coins met their fate in the melting pot, which makes them even rarer than the low mintage would suggest. On the open market, an 1889 CC Silver Dollars in pristine, uncirculated condition could command a selling price as high as $1,200,000.

3. 1893-S Morgan dollar

1893-S Morgan dollar





The San Francisco Mint only produced 100,000 Morgan silver dollars in 1893. Today, it is the rarest of all Morgan dollars in mint state, with only 18 survivors estimated in grade 65 or better. However, the 1893-S could still be an attainable coin for determined collectors given the survival rate in all grades at 9,948. This key date is a showpiece and considered the most desirable Morgan ever struck at a branch mint.

4. 1895 Proof Morgan dollar

1895 Proof Morgan dollar





Many collectors consider the 1895 Proof Morgan dollar to be the “King” of the Morgan silver dollar series. The reason this coin is so rare and in such high demand is that not one single business-strike 1895-P Morgan dollar is known to exist. According to Philadelphia Mint records, 12,000 mint state dollars were produced in 1895, however, none of them have ever surfaced. Many believe they were all melted and never even left the Mint. Because there are no known business strikes of the 1895 Morgan dollar, there is huge demand for the proof. Total mintage for the proof stood at 880 in 1895. However, due to the keen interest in owning one, collectors may need to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a specimen in any grade.

5. 1903-O Morgan dollar

1903-0 Morgan dollar





In 1903, the New Orleans Mint produced a whopping 4.5 million circulation strike Morgan silver dollars. At that time, however, the coins were not needed in circulation, so most of the coins just sat in a vault! Only a few were released to the public. After the 1918 Pittman Act millions of Morgan silver dollars were melted down. In 1929, the few survivors that remained at the New Orleans Mint were shipped in a sealed vault to the Philadelphia Mint, where they were stored until October 1962.

In November 1962, the numismatic community was shocked and surprised by the announcement that a great Treasury hoard of Morgan silver dollars had been found in long-sealed federal vaults! From late 1962 into 1962, dozens of 1903-O Morgan silver dollars were released and sold to the general public. How many? No one knows for sure, but guesses range from 60,000 to over 1 million. Out of all the Morgan dollars, the 1903-O is the most famous of as it sat squarely in the middle of the great 1962-1964 Treasury release of silver dollars.

Get Started on Your Own Collection

Are you interested in starting a Morgan silver dollar collection? Popular collecting approaches include high-grade date sets or complete sets from low to high grade. A Blanchard portfolio manager can discuss other set building options with you as well. Explore our Morgan Dollar inventory here or call Blanchard if there’s a coin you see that you’d like us to help source for you. Get started today!

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