Spectacular 1886 Morgan Dollar Die Cap Error to be Auctioned by GreatCollections

Spectacular 1886 Morgan Dollar Die Cap Error to be Auctioned by GreatCollections

Famous coin one of Amon Carter’s personal favorites


One of the greatest error coins known, the 1886 Morgan Dollar Obverse Die Cap graded PCGS MS64, has been consigned to GreatCollections and will be sold without reserve in their January 9, 2022, auction.

Viewed at an angle, the coin has a high, curved rim that appears like an ashtray and is the finest of only two Morgan Dollars known with this type of error (the other is dated 1903 and graded PCGS AU50). It was likely struck four to six times, and the full reverse brockage shows an enlarged head on the reverse, in offset and facing right, is clear and defined.

A die cap is caused when a coin gets stuck in the upper hammer die. As more coins are struck, the reverse of the struck coin becomes the new die face and the multiple impressions of the coin spread the planchet with curled edges resembling a bowl.

“We are so privileged to be auctioning this important error coin,” said Ian Russell, president of GreatCollections. “Back when I first met preeminent error expert Fred Weinberg about 18 years ago, I had asked him what he considered the best U.S. error coins to be. Our hour-long conversation about the top few error coins included a discussion about this very coin. At the time, Fred had not seen the coin in over 35 years, yet he remembered it as if it was yesterday.”

Weinberg recalls seeing the error first at a Hollywood, California, coin show in 1967:

“The 1886 Die Cap Morgan Dollar is the first major error coin that I specifically remember from 1967 that I did not see again until the Portland American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in March 2015. At the 1967 Error-A-Rama Coin Show, a dealer by the name of Roy Gray priced the coin at $1,000 – a huge number for any type of error coin, including 1943 copper cents.”

“Mr. Carter owned some of the most revered coins and banknotes in numismatics, and for this 1886 Morgan Die Cap Error to be one of his personal favorites speaks volumes about the coin’s importance. Prior to Carter, it was also part of the Virgil Brand collection,” continued Russell.

This coin was the subject of an article in The Numismatist (August 2015) written by John Dannreuther, where he calls it the “king of the series” and “the most spectacular Morgan Dollar error of all time.”

CoinWeek featured this coin in our 2015 Portland ANA edition of Cool Coins!

Amon G. Carter, Jr. (1919-1982) assembled one of the finest and most complete collections of U.S. coins and banknotes ever assembled. His collection included major rarities, such as the 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar graded PCGS SP66, the first coin to sell for over $10 million USD in auction–not to mention an 1804 Draped Bust Dollar, 1870-S Liberty Seated Dollar, and 1884 and 1885 Proof Trade Dollars, among many other major rarities. GreatCollections recently sold another famous coin from the Carter Collection, the unique 1855 $20 Wass-Molitor Large Head graded PCGS AU50, which realized $568,125.

The 1886 Morgan Dollar Die Cap PCGS MS64 is being sold without reserve on Sunday, January 9, 2022. The detailed description with further background on the coin and professional images can be viewed at www.greatcollections.com. For more information, contact GreatCollections at 1-800-442-6467 or e-mail [email protected].

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About GreatCollections

GreatCollections is an auction house for certified coins and banknotes, handling transactions from start to finish. Since its founding in 2010, GreatCollections has successfully auctioned over 950,000 certified coins, making it one of the leading certified coin companies in the United States. Ian Russell, owner/president of GreatCollections, is a member of the prestigious Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) and a member of the National Auctioneers Association. For more information about GreatCollections, visit www.greatcollections.com or call 800-442-6467.

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  1. You have to start with its date and whether there’s a tiny mint mark letter above the “DO” in DOLLAR on the back. That information’s needed to estimate even a range of values.


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