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HomeUS Coins1886-O Morgan Dollar : A Collector's Guide

1886-O Morgan Dollar : A Collector’s Guide

1886-O Morgan Dollar in PCGS MS-67DMPL. Image: Stack's Bowers.
1886-O Morgan Dollar in PCGS MS-67DMPL. Image: Stack’s Bowers.

Even though the New Orleans Mint struck a whopping 10,710,000 silver dollars that year, the 1886-O Morgan dollar is not as easy to find as one might think. Uncommon in circulated grades, the 1886-O is a scarce condition rarity in Gem Mint State (MS-65) and higher. As the Treasury Department released its surplus of Morgan dollars in the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s, and beyond, only a few bags of the date are known to have been discovered.

Historic Pricing Data

Coin dealer Harry W. Bason of New Hyde Park, New York, offered 74 different date/mintmark Morgan dollars in Brilliant Uncirculated in a February 1951 ad in The Numismatist, where he listed 1886-O Morgan dollars for sale for $7.50 a piece.

In the May 1980 issue of The Numismatist, New York dealer Charles M. Adkins advertised that he had an MS-65 fully struck “Gem BU” 1886-O for sale for $5,000. One wonders whether the coin Adkins offered might have been one of the coins that follows in our “Noteworthy Specimens” list.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Top Population: PCGS MS-67DMPL (1, 2/2024). NGC MS-64DMPL (1, 2/2024). CAC MS-67DMPL (1:0 stickered:graded, 2/2024).

This issue usually does not typically come lustrous or flashy. Gem examples are rare and most of the examples that have been graded MS-65 by PCGS are fully brilliant. Even MS-64 examples are hard to come by. High-end MS-64+ coins are attractive options at today’s market prices.

The finest known 1886-O Morgan dollar is clearly the Wayne Miller specimen, now graded MS-67DMPL by PCGS. Marketed as MS-69 in a 1986 Superior auction catalog, it was the crown jewel of Miller’s collection, and he was a stickler for quality.

  • PCGS MS-67DMPL CAC #4884183: John B. Love; Wayne Miller, 1977, via Dean Tavenner; As “MS-69”. “Wayne Miller Morgan and Peace Dollar Collection”, Superior, January 1986, Lot 1279 ; “Chris Schenkel Collection”, As NGC MS-67 DPL. Bowers and Merena, November 1990, Lot 400; “Jack Lee I Collection” ; The Larry H. Miller Collection”, Stack’s Bowers, November 12, 2020, Lot 6333 – $780,000. JACK LEE on insert.
  • PCGS MS65 CMQ #46959682: Stack’s Bowers, March 26, 2024, Lot 4186 – View. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS-65 #45525440: Heritage Auctions, August 24, 2022, Lot 3969 – $168,000. Brilliant. Thin hit on the cheek. On the reverse, long scratch below right wing. Die crack from rim over ES to O.
  • PCGS MS-65 #82418857: Heritage Auctions, February 24, 2022, lot 3102 – $156,000. Brilliant. Rim ding between B and U. Scattered chatter all over Liberty’s cheek. Die crack from rim over ES to OF, over the right wing tip to A. Die crack from D over left wing tip, over S to rim.
  • PCGS MS-65 CAC #25530374: As PCGS MS-65 CAC #03460108. “The Sanderson Family Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 9, 2009, Lot 4976 – $161,000. Jack Lee 2 on insert; Heritage Auctions, June 10, 2009, Lot 905 – $149,500; As PCGS MS-65 CAC #25530374. Heritage Auctions, January 9, 2014, Lot 5318 – $152,750. Re-graded. New certification number. Jack Lee 2 / Bella on insert. Light curved scuff on high cheek. Die crack from rim over ES to OF, over the right wing tip to A. Die crack at the top of TES. Bright attractive coin.
  • PCGS MS-65 #13663970: “E.S. Norris Collection”, S.H. and H. Chapman, May 17, 1894; J.M. Clapp; John H. Clapp; Clapp Estate, 1942; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; “Eliasberg Collection”, Bowers and Merena, April 1997, Lot 2273; “The Arno Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 9, 2009, Lot 4977 – $115,000. Eliasberg on insert. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS-64DMPL #05018654: Heritage Auctions, January 5, 2001, lot 7437 – $48,300; “The Medio/Da Costa Gomez Collections”, Stack’s Bowers, June 23, 2004, Lot 1202 – $46,000. Heritage Auctions, January 5, 2006, Lot 3296 – $51,750; Jack Lee 2 on insert.

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Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 1886
Denomination: One Dollar (USD)
Mint Mark: O (New Orleans)
Mintage: 10,710,000
Alloy: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Weight: 26.73 grams
Diameter: 38.10 mm
Edge Reeded
OBV Designer George T. Morgan
REV Designer George T. Morgan
Quality: Business Strike


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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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