By Bullion Shark LLC ……
Like all coin series, each features certain coins–often referred to as key dates–that are worth substantially more than the others in their series.
But an important distinction must be made, especially for series that include a large number of coins like the Morgan and American Silver Eagle coins. Some dates are worth more in any grade due to their mintages and level of demand in the case of most modern coins whose populations are generally intact (with certain exceptions, like the $10 First Spouse series that saw considerable melting of some issues).
And for older coins like Morgan dollars, estimates of surviving populations, demand, and the number of certified examples generally determine what are the series keys. There are also what are known as condition rarities, such as the 1884-S Morgan dollar, that are rare mainly in the top grades but not necessarily in lower grades. Certain Silver Eagles in MS70 would be other good examples.
Morgan Silver Dollar Key Dates
The two main keys to the Morgan series are the 1889-CC, one of the lowest mintage issues struck at the Carson City Mint, and the 1893-S, the lowest overall mintage of the series.
1889-CC Morgan Silver Dollar
PCGS estimates that only about 25,000 of the original mintage of 350,000 of this issue still exist, with only seven coins that grade MS65 or higher.
A Good 4 coin can be had for $500, and an XF-40 coin can be had for $2,500. But an MS62 jumps to $35,000 while an MS64 goes as high as $100,000. An MS65 is valued at $350-400,000. Only two coins exist above this grade, with the top coin being an MS68 that sold for $881,250 in 2013.
1893-S Morgan Silver Dollar
Of an original mintage of 100,000, just under 10,000 are estimated to still exist in all grades. Those on a budget who want to complete their sets can purchase a Good 4 for $2,250, while an XF40 runs $9,000, an AU-55 runs $43,500, an MS63 jumps to $260,000 and an MS65 jumps up to $735,000. The sole MS67 once owned by Jack Lee is estimated by PCGS to be worth $1.2 million today and last sold for $735,000 in 2018.
Peace Dollar Key Dates
Based on their original mintages, the two main key dates in the Peace dollar series are the 1928 and 1934 coins. But most experts on the series also include the 1921 coin, which, though not as low in mintage as the previous two, is a coin that is always in demand and is a must-have for every collector of the series as the one and only high-relief silver dollar.
1928 Peace Dollar
The lowest mintage coin of the series at 360,649, the 1928 is hard to find in nice Uncirculated condition – especially without toning. A low-grade circulated piece can be had for $165 in Good 4, while an XF40 runs $260, an MS60 $400, and an MS63 runs $650. But MS65 jumps to $3,000 and the top grade of MS66 is worth $60,000, which shows how much scarcer the coin is at the highest Mint State grades in which it exists.
1934-S Peace Dollar
The main series key is 1934-S, which, despite an original mintage of 1,011,000 coins, has fewer examples in Mint State grades than any other issue. A total of 7,141 coins have been graded BU by PCGS, with most of those MS64 or lower as only 211 have graded MS65 and 36 have graded MS66. At NGC, the population is 76 MS65s, 14 MS66s, and one MS67.
Examples below AU55 at PCGS are plentiful and not very valuable, while at that grade a coin runs $500. In MS60 it is $2,000, a BU coin around MS62 is about $3,200, an MS63 runs $4,500 and MS65 goes for $10,000. MS66, the highest grade, is worth anywhere from $33,500 to $100,000. In 2019, one of those very scarce MS66 coins sold for over $79,000.
1921 Peace Dollar
About 10% of the original mintage of 1,006,473 coins is estimated to still exist. An AU55 runs $225, but for $285 one can purchase an MS60. $575 will get you an MS63, $900 will purchase an MS64, and $2,000 will get an MS65. The really scarce examples grade MS66 (about 350 total were graded by NGC and PCGS), worth between $6,500 and $35,000 and the top grade is MS67 that is valued at $140,000, with only seven coins each graded by NGC and PCGS.
American Silver Eagle Key Dates
Though issued for 34 years so far, there are today 97 different Silver Eagles in a complete set when including all Mint State and Proof coins in each of the finishes in which this popular coin has been issued (Mint State bullion, Burnished, Proof, Reverse Proof, Enhanced Reverse Proof, and Enhanced Uncirculated).
There are about a dozen issues that are worth more than most of the others, including some issued only in special sets, the first year of issue (1986) in Mint State, Proof, and others. But there are six major key date Silver Eagles with mintages below 100,000, which include:
2019-S Enhanced Reverse Proof with 29,910 sold. This coin has maintained its value since it was issued a year ago, with raw coins and PF69s selling for about $1,000, and PF70s bringing $1,600 and up.
1995-W Proof with 30,125 sold. This coin is currently valued at $3,275 in PF69 and at least $15,000 in PF70 with special labels worth more.
2008-W with Reverse of 2007 Burnished coin with 46,318 made but not all of them have been discovered so far. It is worth $450 in MS or SP69 and $1,150 in 70.
2020-W V75 Privy Mark coin with total sales of 74,856. Recent sales of raw and PF69 examples have been in the $600 range, while PF70 coins are more and vary depending on the label.
2011-S Mint State coin and 2011-P Reverse Proof – both sold only in the 25th anniversary set with sales of 99,882 each. The 2011-S is worth $160 in MS69 and $335 in MS70, while the 2011-P is valued at $240 in PF or RP69 and $375 in 70.
These Silver Eagles, especially the first four with mintages of 30,000 to 75,000, are likely to remain the series keys.