If you ever watched the film ‘Godzilla’ as you grew up, you surely recall the dinosaurs. Godzilla was a sea monster that popped up at random, terrorized everyone, and would reduce the world into ashes within minutes. If the dinosaurs became extinct, the antique Morgan Silver Dollars are no exception.
The 1884 Morgan Silver Dollar was America’s first standard silver coin after the enactment of the 1873 Coinage Act. It had an obverse face of Anna Williams, a model used to represent Miss Liberty, a mythical lady.
Here you’ll discover the history of Morgan Silver Coins, some of its notable features, and how to grade the vintage coin that has since become a favorite of coin collectors.
What Is the 1884 Morgan Silver Dollar?
It is one of the dollar coins minted by the United States of America in 1878. It was struck in 1878 and used until 1904. It was later used for a year in 1921.
The dollar coin was also minted as a non-circulating currency in 2021. The Morgan Dollar coin was named after its sculptor, George Morgan.
History of Its Design
Before the enactment of the 1873 Coinage Act, silver owners were at liberty to gather as much silver and deliver it to mints for printing into legal tenders. This led to the production and circulation of excessive silver dollars into the market. Eventually, the silver dollar lost its value as inflation increased.
As a result, the 1873 Coinage Act was enacted to end the free coinage of silver and to demonetize silver bullions. So, in 1876, the mint director embarked on a journey to redesign all the silver coins circulating within the country.
The mint director began searching for skilled sculptors to help in the design and implementation of the new minting plans. George Morgan was then chosen as an assistant engraver at the Philadelphia mint to work on the project.
Morgan’s engravings turned out better than those done by the chief engraver at Philadelphia mint. In 1878, he made the first acceptable strike at the Philadelphia mint which was presented to the president, secretary of the treasury, and the mint director.
The iconic dollar was designed to signify the rapid development and industrialization of America towards the end of the 19th century.
Features of the 1884 Morgan Silver Dollar
George Morgan’s artistic creation is one of the famous dollar coins ever made. This is because of the coin’s beautiful impression, silver content, and size.
Below are some of the silver dollar’s distinct features:
The 1884 Morgan silver dollar measures 38.1 millimeters (1.5 inches) in diameter and weighs 26.73 grams. Like other dollar coins, it has a reeded edge all around its surface.
The Morgan Dollar consists of an ounce of pure silver extracted from Comstock Lode silver deposits. It is made up of 90 % silver and 10 % copper. The silver medal weighs approximately 0.858 troy oz.
The 1884 dollar consists of various mintmarks which form part of its distinct features. The mintmarks are found at the reverse side of the coin, above the lower rim. The main mintmarks are ‘D’ (Denver Mint), ‘S’ (San Francisco Mint), and ‘O’ (New Orleans Mint).
However, the ‘D’ mint mark is only found on the silver dollar minted in 1921. If a Morgan dollar has no mint mark, it was minted in Philadelphia. This is referred to as a ‘Plain’ and denoted by ‘P’.
Similar to the Peace Silver coin that features the Liberty Statue, the obverse of the iconic 1884 coin depicts liberty as well. Miss Liberty appears wearing a cap and an elegant crown bearing the word ‘LIBERTY’.
Her head is beautifully adorned, with the portrait surrounded by 13 stars on the lower front face and the back of her neck. Above her head is an inscription ‘E PLURIBUS UNUM’ This is a Greek word meaning ‘one from many.’
It was the first motto proposed as America’s great seal in 1776. The statement is highly regarded as a strong determinant of America’s ability to form a unified country out of all its multiple states. Below Miss Liberty’s neck is the date of issuance of the coin.
The reverse contains the image of the bald American eagle having its wing widely spread. The eagle carries a set of arrows symbolic of the country’s military might.
However, an olive branch clasped within the claws also signifies the reigning peace that comes after war. The eagle also has a wreath surrounding her.
Other notable inscriptions of the 1884 dollar are ‘UNITED STATES OF AMERICA’ which runs along the rim, at the top of the coin. Below it is another inscription ‘In God We Trust’ written in eye-catching calligraphy.
The denomination of the silver coin is clearly marked as ‘ONE DOLLAR’ and a small mintmark appears directly above it.
Value of the 1884 Morgan Silver Dollar
The 1884 Morgan dollar coin is valuable as both a coin and silver bullion. However, because of an increase in demand collection demand and bullion prices, its value is consistently increasing.
The current standard value stands at $ 22. At face value, Morgan’s silver coin has a denomination of $ 1 written on it.
Additional valuation is done as follows:
The Melt Value
The coin’s melt value is estimated based on the prevailing spot price of silver. The spot price is $23.56 for every ounce of silver.
Therefore, on August 26, 2021, the 1884 silver coin had a melt value of $18.23. According to coin experts and collectors, it is worth as much as its silver weight.
A dollar without Mint Mark
If a Morgan dollar has no mintmark, its value standards at $30 in its fine condition. An equivalent of the dollar without the mint is valued at $33 when in an extremely fine state. The price of an uncirculated MS 60 grade dollar is $55, while an uncirculated 65-grade dollar has a value of $260.
The CC Silver Dollar
The 1884 CC Dollar originated from the Carson City Mint. It is worth $ 155 when very fine and $ 160 if extremely fine. The prices of uncirculated grade 60 and 65 dollars are $ 265 and $ 365 respectively.
The O Silver Dollar
The 1884 O Silver was minted in New Orleans. Currently, you’ll part with $ 32 to have it in fine condition and $85 in extremely fine state. Uncirculated O Silver coins are of even higher value, ranging from $ 7,500 for the MS 60 grade to $ 225, 000 for the MS 65 grade.
The value of 1884 Morgan Silver Dollars as at August 23, 2021
Factors that Influence the Value of 1884 Morgan Silver Dollar
How worthy is your Morgan Silver coin? Well, this question often lingers in the mind of a coin collector. Grading companies and coin dealers usually attach value to a given coin due to several factors. The most common include:
The 1884 silver dollars were minted at four different locations namely; New Orleans, Carson City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. What distinguishes the mints is the mintmark located at the reverse of the coin.
The mark is a small letter near the lower rim between the word ‘DOLLAR’ and the ribbon that holds the wreath. The ‘CC’ mintmark, for instance, is a rare gem that is highly priced because Carson City only produced a few coins.
The general condition of your coin also plays a key role in determining its value. A valuable silver coin is well preserved, without obvious signs of tear or wears on its key features. For instance, an uncirculated 1884 silver dollar is highly valuable because it retains its original appearance.
Although many coin collectors fancy Morgan’s dollar, only a few collectors understand its design features. This is understandable because the last Morgan dollar was minted many years ago.
Below are some of the frequent questions asked about the coin series:
1. Which is the Rarest Morgan Silver Dollar?
Some of the rare Morgan dollars include 1892 S Morgan Dollar, 1896 O Dollar, 1901 P Dollar, among others. However, the rarest of them all is the 1893 S Morgan Silver Dollar.
It was minted in San Francisco to help control the California Gold Rush. This rare coin has an average value of $ 3,000 00.
2. Which is the Most Valuable Morgan Silver Dollar?
Some of the most valuable Morgan dollars include 1884 S Morgan Dollar, 1895 O Morgan Dollar, 1893 CC Morgan Silver Dollar, and 1896 O Morgan Dollar.
Among all these, the 1893 S Morgan Dollar is top-ranked. According to coin trackers, this dollar coin has an average value of $ 3,000. In its certified mint state, it could as well cost $ 550,000.
3. Are Morgan Dollars a Good Investment?
Incredibly, Morgan Dollars are now a popular investment for coin collectors and silver enthusiasts. This happens because of their aesthetic beauty and their good performance in the past as an investment.
One of the things that set Morgan Silver Dollars apart from other iconic currencies is their short time of minting. This lasted for only a few decades towards the end of the 1800s. Worst of all, America’s silver deposits were largely exploited and exhausted during the 1st world war.
To date, Morgan coins are limited in supply, a clear indication that you can never go wrong by investing in the trade.