By Bullion Shark LLC ……
The Morgan silver dollar is a huge series (97 different coins) that most collectors can never complete because of super-rare key dates that are very expensive in any grade, or which they complete over the course of many years substituting lower-end circulated examples for the major rarities.
But putting aside the top-level key dates and the 30 or so most common coins that trade generically in most grades, there are many other coins in the series that are accessible to most collectors.
But which of those coins that can be had in circulated condition for between $100-$300 (USD) or are actually scarcer than their current prices would suggest?
Every specialist in the series will have his or her own list of undervalued coins, and here is one of them – along with some information on why each seems to be a good buy in today’s market.
1886-S Morgan Silver Dollar
This one is a semi-key with an original mintage of only 750,000, of which around half are believed to have been melted under the 1918 Pitman Act. Most of the surviving coins are estimated to be Mint State examples, so look for a nice XF for about $125 or an AU-55 for $215 or a BU coin for those who can afford it.
1888-S Morgan Silver Dollar
This coin is similar to the 1886-S and had an original mintage of 657,000. This one is scarcer in Mint State, where it runs at least $350 or more for a nicer one but can be had for $150 in XF to $200 in AU.
1892-S Morgan Silver Dollar
Prior to the dispersal of millions of Morgan dollars in Treasury Department bags in the 1960s, this date was not seen as rare. But when no significant quantities of the date were found in those bags, demand rose. In Mint State, this one is a major key today with only 10% of its original mintage of 1.2 million still in existence. Even in lower Mint State, an example runs almost $100,000. But in XF the coin can be had for $275, which seems cheap considering an AU runs about $4,000.
1894-O Morgan Silver Dollar
This is another date that is rare in Mint State that runs around $2,000 or more. Only about 10% of its original mintage of 1.7 million has survived in all grades. But an XF is only $110 and an AU is only $350.
1896-S Morgan Silver Dollar
This is another date for which 90% of the mintage was likely melted, with only 500,000 coins in existence, and Mint State pieces are scarce, running from several thousand in lower BU to $12,000 in MS65. Look for an XF for about $275.
1899 Morgan Silver Dollar
Only 330,000 of the 1899 Morgan dollar were struck in Philadelphia, but a substantial portion of them have survived, which is why the coin can be had in nice Mint State for around $375–far less than other coins with that low of a mintage might sell for. The 1899 did not circulate widely when issued, and as much as two-thirds of the mintage was found in Mint State in those famous canvas bags at the Treasury Department. If you’re on a budget, look for an XF-45 for $170 or an AU-55 for $200.
1902-S Morgan Silver Dollar
This is another issue that is fairly plentiful in Mint State due to the discovery of several hoards of the coin, such as the famous hoard of millions of silver dollars owned by Lavere Redfield that were discovered after he passed away. If you can’t afford an MS63 for $650, then you can get either an XF-45 for $190 or an AU-55 for $270. Circulated examples are actually scarcer than the Mint State coins because of their availability.
1903-S Morgan Silver Dollar
This is a semi-key and rare issue where a good portion of its original mintage of 1,241,000 was melted, with around 10% still in existence. And out of that number, perhaps no more than 1,500 are Mint State coins – which is why an MS63 is $7,750 and MS65 is $11,000. Even at AU-55 it is a $3,000 coin, so look for an XF-45 for about $350.
1904-S Morgan Silver Dollar
This is another scarce date where much of the mintage is believed to have been melted as only a few bags of Mint State coins have been reported over the years. Until interest in Morgan dollars exploded in the 1960s following the discovery of the Treasury hoard, those coins were enough for the market. But then this issue took off.
Mint State pieces start off around $3,000 at the low end of Uncirculated and rise from there to $7,250 for an MS65 and $85,000 for an MS67. An XF-40 for $250 is a good buy for the long-term, or $1,150 for an AU-55 if you can afford it.