GreatCollections.com by CoinWeek ….
On Sunday, June 21, bidding ends on GreatCollections.com for this toned 1895 Morgan silver dollar graded Proof 65 Deep Cameo (DCAM) by PCGS. It is one of the highlights of the Catskill Collection of US coins, a collection of 240 pieces certified by both NGC and PCGS and valued at over $6 million USD. Other great rarities represented in the collection include a 1792 half dime, a 1794 silver dollar, a $4 gold Stella, and one of the best 1907 High Relief Saint-Gaudens ever graded.
Of course, the 1895 Morgan dollar itself has a legendary reputation in American coin collecting circles. Known only as a Proof strike, the issue has a mintage of just 880 pieces. From a Proof standpoint, 880 is not the rarest of the Morgan dollars, but because owning one is essential to a complete set of Morgan dollars, demand has always far exceeded availability. It is likely that less than half of the 880 Proofs struck in 1895 have survived, and many extant examples have been mistreated or circulated alongside business strike issues.
Recent Market Performance of the 1895 Morgan
This naturally makes demand for Deep Cameo examples like the coin on offer even greater and surviving DCAM 1895s even rarer. PCGS lists only four pieces graded PR-65 with 20 graded higher, the top pop coin being a solitary 68+. And according to recent auction records, PCGS Proof 65s tend to be six-figure coins. 2019 saw an example sell for $174,000 in January, while a year earlier a specimen sold for $187,200. One PR-65 1895 Morgan sold in April for almost $200K ($199,750), while two pieces were offered in March of that year for $152,750 and $146,500, respectively.
As for the issue’s performance on GreatCollections.com, be sure to check out their Auction Archives of over 600,000 certified coins sold in the past seven years.
At the time of writing, the highest bid on this Proof 1895 Morgan silver dollar is $66,000 USD after 32 bids.
History of the Morgan Dollar from GreatCollections.com
The Morgan silver dollar was minted between 1878 and 1904, and then once more in 1921. It was the first standard silver dollar to be struck after the Seated Liberty dollar ceased production due to the Coinage Act of 1873 and the end of the free coining of silver.
The Morgan dollar gets its name from United States Mint engraver George T. Morgan, who designed the dollar coin in competition with then-Chief Engraver William Barber. Contrary to received numismatic wisdom, the two men had a cordial professional relationship.
The new dollar was authorized by the Bland–Allison Act. The effort by mining interests to lobby for the restoration of “free silver” started almost immediately once the 1873 coinage act was passed. Five years later, instead of requiring the Mint to accept all silver presented to it and return it in the form of coinage, the Bland–Allison Act required the Treasury to purchase between two and four million dollars’ worth of silver at market value to be coined into dollars each month.
In 1890, the Bland–Allison Act was repealed by the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, which required the Treasury to purchase 4,500,000 troy ounces (140,000 kg) of silver each month, but mandated further silver dollar production for only one more year. This law was repealed in 1893.
Always a popular coin with GreatCollections.com American collectors, the release of millions of Morgan dollars from Treasury Department vaults in the 1960s and ’70s radically reshaped what we knew about the condition and survival rates of these coins. And, as mentioned above, Morgan silver dollars struck in New Orleans tended to have a weak strike and see more wear than other branch mint coins. This was a fact through the entire run of the series – a fact that the Treasury’s GSA Hoard releases only reinforced.
Design of the 1895 Morgan Dollar
The obverse exhibits the left-facing Liberty Head motif seen on all issues of this classic dollar series. The central Liberty bust wears a Phrygian cap encircled with a ribbon adorned with the inscription LIBERTY. Miss Liberty also wears a crown of wheat and cotton, which were two of the nation’s most lucrative natural agricultural assets in the 19th century.
The phrase E PLURIBUS UNUM is inscribed along the upper half of the obverse rim, and the date 1895 is centered at the bottom of the obverse adjacent to the rim. Seven stars appear between the left side of the date and the inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM, while six stars fill the gap between the date and motto on the lower right side of the coin. In total, the 13 stars represent the 13 colonies that combined to form the original Union of the United States. At the base of Liberty’s neck is the “M” monogram representing Morgan’s initial.
Morgan designed the Liberty head bust after the likeness of Anna Willess Williams, a Philadelphia schoolteacher who modeled for the coin. Williams received significant public recognition after her face appeared on the Morgan dollar but she rejected it, refusing offers for acting roles and apparently marriage following her engagement to an unknown suitor.
The reverse is dominated by a heraldic eagle, influenced by Italian Renaissance designs, its wings spread across the upper half of the coin. Between the upper tips of the eagle’s wings appears the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. The eagle clutches an olive branch in its right claw representing peace and in its left claw are three arrows symbolizing the nation’s ability to defend itself. The central eagle design is partly encircled by a laurel wreath.
Along the rim of the upper two-thirds of the reverse is the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, with the tip of the eagle’s left wings, which virtually touch the coin’s rim, penetrating the space between UNITED and STATES; the right wing visually divides the words OF and AMERICA. The words ONE DOLLAR, seen at the bottom center of the reverse, are flanked by a single, six-sided star on either side of the denomination inscription.
The edge is reeded.