Currently for sale on GreatCollections.com is a spectacularly toned 1884 New Orleans Morgan dollar. Not only does this coin display luminous rainbow toning with textile patterning from the canvas mint bag but has earned a green CAC sticker as it is strong for its grade (MS 64). Collectors should note that while this piece does not represent a great rarity, it is a simply gorgeous example of the type. After some brief technical difficulties, bidding on this lot now ends Sunday December 11, 2022, at 6:25:44 PM Pacific Time (9:25 PM Eastern).
At the time of publication, the highest of 53 bids stands at $2,150 USD with three days remaining for additional bidding.
With a mintage of 9,730,000, the 1884 issuance stands as the ninth largest struck by the New Orleans Mint and the largest to date. Most of these coins were either released directly into circulation shortly after production, or later on in the large U.S. Treasury hoard discharges when a number of full bags were released in 1933, 1934, and 1938. Later, approximately 10 million Morgan dollars were released from a previously sealed Philadelphia Mint vault in 1962, of which most were thought to be 1883-O, 1884-O, and 1885-O. These later releases, in conjunction with the fact that only a very small percentage of the issuance was melted, means that the 1884 type is today relatively common in all grades.
Like many other late 19th-century Morgan dollars, strike quality for the 1884-O can vary to a large degree. Coins can be found with sharp details, or with few to none in the hair above Liberty’s ear and dramatic flatness on the Eagle’s chest feathers. This means that collectors should bide their time and find a particularly nice example with full luster and good eye appeal.
eBay sales for this type and grade, albeit without the toning, run from $75 to $100, while auction records sit dramatically higher. This particular coin, however, is very similar to a coin auctioned by David Lawrence Rare Coins in October 2022. That coin, with extremely similar toning, sold for $18,800! While the current piece may not bring such an inflated price, it is entirely problem-free. With only a few minor bag/contact marks that do not detract in any way from the eye appeal of the coin. It would be nearly impossible to find a prettier example in the same grade.
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 1884 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 symbolize 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 the initial of the coin’s designer George T. Morgan.
The reverse is dominated by a heraldic eagle, 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. The words ONE DOLLAR, seen at the bottom center of the reverse. The “O” mint mark is beneath the wreath’s bow.
The edge of the 1884-O Morgan dollar is reeded.
Bidding on this lot ends Sunday, October 30, 2022, at 7:33:42 PM Pacific Time (10:33 PM Eastern).
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