Up for sale in GreatCollections’ current auction is a very high-quality 1895-O Morgan dollar. Graded MS65 by PCGS and certified by CAC, this is a relatively unusual opportunity for collectors to acquire a conditional rarity. Bidding ends on Sunday, July 17, 2022, at 6:43:08 PM Pacific Time (9:43 PM Eastern). At the time of publication, the highest of 51 bids stands at $72,600 USD and the auction has three days remaining.
As a conditional rarity, the 1895-O is quite scarce in all Mint State grades. While the New Orleans Mint struck a relatively low mintage of 450,000 pieces, this small mintage was compounded by two facts: very poor strike quality and a high rate of melting down. According to Q. David Bowers’ book Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia, the strike quality was some of the worst in the entire series with most coins featuring unattractive surfaces and very little luster. Additionally, many of the coins were stored in Treasury Department vaults until over 25% of the total issuance were melted. These factors make the 1895-O the rarest New Orleans Morgan dollar in Mint State grades.
While there are only eight pieces graded as MS 65 and only five pieces graded in either MS 66 or 67 by both PCGS and NGC, there is a combined population of only 333 pieces. When accounting for repeat submissions and duplicates, this is less than 2% of the total population of 15,891.
This particular example, however, was extremely well struck and has sharp details with very smooth surfaces accentuated by full cartwheel luster. With both faces boasting subtle toning with pale blues, purples, forest greens, and pale golds blending together (which complement the clean details), this is a remarkable specimen.
As part of the Coronet Collection of Morgan dollars sold in October 2015, this coin hammered for $211,500. The auction record for this grade of $258,500 was set a few years earlier in October 2014.
The leftward-facing bust of Miss Liberty is topped with a Phrygian cap encircled with a ribbon bearing the inscription LIBERTY. Miss Liberty wears a crown adorned with cotton and wheat, which, in the 19th century, were two of the nation’s top crops.
Along the rim on the upper half of the obverse is the phrase E PLURIBUS UNUM. At the bottom center of the obverse near the rim is the coin’s date, 1895. Thirteen stars are seen on the obverse – seven on the lower left and six on the lower right; collectively these symbolize the original 13 colonies that joined to form the United States. At the base of Liberty’s neck is an “M” to serve as Morgan’s initial.
A heraldic eagle claims the reverse of the 1895-O Morgan dollar. The eagle’s wings spread across much of the upper half of the reverse, with the tips of the wings virtually touching parts of the upper reverse rim of the coin. The eagle clutches an olive branch in its right claw to symbolize peace, while a bundle of three arrows in the left claw represents the nation’s ability to defend itself in war.
A laurel wreath encircles much of the central reverse design, and the motto IN GOD WE TRUST is centered in part of the field space between the eagles’ outstretched wings. The inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA rides along the upper portion of the reverse rim while the denomination ONE DOLLAR is centered at the bottom near the rim, with a single six-pointed star near either end of the denominational inscription. The coin’s “O” mintmark is centered above and between the “D” and “O” of “DOLLAR,” just under a bow at the bottom of the laurel wreath.
The edge of the 1895-O Morgan dollar is reeded.
Bidding ends on Sunday, July 17, 2022, at 6:43:08 PM Pacific Time (9:43 PM Eastern).
* * *
To search through GreatCollection’s archive of over 600,000 certified coins the company has sold over the past eight years, please visit the GreatCollections Auction Archives.