Morgan silver dollars are one of the most recognized and popular United States coin types ever minted. The coins were minted from 1878 â€“ 1921 and contain 90% silver and 10% copper. They have consistently increased in value due to their popularity and precious metal content becoming one of the top United States coins for collecting and investing.
Morgan silver dollars were deigned by George T. Morgan and begun being issued in early 1878 as a result of the passage of the Bland-Allison Act. The weight of the coin was standardized to be 412.5 grams. During its production years, the Morgan silver dollars were issued at the Philadelphia, Carson City, Denver, New Orleans and San Francisco mints. In 1904, the coin production was halted as silver bullion became low, but was resumed for one last year of 1921 until the introduction of the Peace dollar.
Over the last few years, Morgan silver dollars have become increasingly popular for collectors and investors, especially high grade and lower mintage coins. Coins minted at the Carson City, Nevada mint were produced in much lower numbers than those at the Philadelphia and New Orleans mints and command a much higher premium even at lower grade condition. Coins at the Brilliant Uncirculated or MS-65 grades are highly desirable and great for investment as pieces with even high mintages command as much as $200 at retail price and have been consistently rising in the last decade. Coins which have low mintages and very high grades yield the highest prices. For example, in 2001, an 1893-S (San Francisco) dollar with an original mintage of 100,000 coins in Superb Gem Brilliant Uncirculated condition sold at auction for $414,000.
Finding coins like these are what coin collectors and investors seek after. You should however be careful before buying as there are plenty of counterfeit and fakes floating around out there claiming to be the real thing especially with higher grade, low mintage and error coins. Before purchasing higher value coins you should make some attempt to authenticate them. Obtaining the current edition of The Official Red Book, A Guide of United States Coins by R.S. Yeoman as well as other informative coin guide books will give you really good tips for identifying counterfeit and suspicious coins. Getting to know local coin dealers, collectors and others involved in numismatics is a great way to increase your knowledge so that you get the most out of collecting and investing in US coins.
Morgan silver dollars can be found in many different places including antique stores, flea markets, yard sales and even through online auctions. Of course coin shops and coin shows will usually offer the greatest selection and variety of coins you will probably find anywhere. Where ever you purchase coins from use caution and don't rush in the buying process, make sure you are getting what you want and what you're paying for. Check out this article for more information about finding old United States gold and silver coins.
Yeoman, R.S. (2010). The Official Red Book, A Guide Book Of United States Coins 2011. Bressett, Kenneth (Ed). Atlanta, GA: Whitman Publishing.