The Morgan silver series is one of America’s most collected, highly abundant, and famous silver dollars. Thanks to its high silver content, small size, and unique design, it is the coin collectors’ favorite. If you are looking for a coin to trade, the Morgan silver will likely be a perfect match. The coin is one of the creations of George Morgan, struck from 1878-1904, and shortly in 1921.
The 1897 Morgan Silver Dollar value is $30 in fine condition and about $230 for the certified mint state (MS+) grades. The 90% silver and 10% copper coin has a melt value of $17.46.
The shiny silver luster coin derives its name from its designer, George T. Morgan. In 2021, it became a special, non-circulating coin after President Donald Trump’s approval.
Read on to learn the subtle features of the 1897 Morgan Silver and the history of its design. Plus, we have a review of the coin’s value based on current market trends.
What is the 1897 Morgan Silver Dollar?
It is one of the standard single dollar cents struck after the passing of the 1873 Coinage Act. The 1897 Morgan Silver Dollar bears the portrait of Miss Liberty on the obverse and a bald eagle on its reverse side.
1897 Morgan Silver Dollar Value Summary
- Main Features: A portrait of Liberty on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse.
- Denomination: One dollar ($1.00)
- Pawnshop Value: $31.00
- Metal Composition: 90% silver and 10% Copper
- Diameter: 38.1mm
- Mass / Weight: 26.73 grams
- Designer: George Thomas Morgan
- Mintage Number: 2,822,000 in Philadeplhia, New Orleans struck 4,004,000, San Francisco struck 5,825,000 coins
History of the 1897 Morgan Silver Dollar
The 1897 Morgan Silver Dollar has a rich history that connects to the passage of the coinage act. Previously, the free silver policy allowed the coinage of unlimited silver into currency on demand. There wasn’t strict adherence to regulations governing money supply and coinage.
Silver collectors and investors delivered bulk silver deposits to mints for processing into legal tenders at wish. The result was an oversupply of silver dollars, loss of silver value, and a spike in the inflation rate.
In response, the US Senate passed the Fourth Coinage Act of 1873 to demonetize silver and end its free coinage. The Bland-Allison Act followed suit and sealed the fate of silver coinage. The act required the US treasury to buy 2-4 million silver from local suppliers at market value.
The mints would then strike the silver into legal tenders every month. Following the act, US Mint director Henry Linderman embarked on a quest to find an assistant engraver for designing the coin. In 1878, the US mint produced the first specimen of the Morgan Silver Dollar.
Reason for Minting
The US mint desired a silver trade dollar that would compete fairly against the Mexican dollars amid inflation. The standard silver dollar in use had lost value due to a high, abnormal supply of silver in the market. So, in 1876, the US Mint director began searching for an artistic designer.
After a long search, the mint appointed George T. Morgan to design the coin at the main mint for a six-month trial period. He made stunning designs that even superseded the chief engraver’s design. He received the nod to continue his designs that later saw a series of Morgan silver dollars.
The 1897 Morgan Silver came out of three mints; Philadelphia, New Orleans, and San Francisco. The main mint at Philadelphia had the least mintage at 2,822,000. New Orleans struck 4,004,000 while San Francisco struck 5,825,000 Morgan silver dollars.
Features of the 1897 Morgan Dollar
The 1897 Morgan Dollar is an iconic coin with distinct features on both sides. It features the profile bust of the mythical Miss Liberty. Morgan used Anna Williams, a Philadelphia teacher, as the model for the profile bust.
In addition to the portrait, it has the following features:
The obverse features a left-facing Liberty at the center of the currency. She wears a good cap and a crown with the word LIBERTY on top of her head. Her hair weaves curl and stretches downward, partially covering the back of her neck. Above Liberty’s head is an inscription “E PLURIBUS UNUM” running clockwise along the upper margin.
Below the lady’s neck is the year of issue (1897) written in block letters. The obverse also features 13 conspicuous stars arranged along the lower margin.
The coin’s reverse features a bald eagle at the center of the coin, spreading its wings. The eagle perches on a bundle of arrows and an olive branch. A wreath surrounds the perched eagle, with some leaves almost touching the eagle’s wings.
Above the eagle’s head is an inscription “In God we trust” written in calligraphy and another motto “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” along the upper rim. The coin’s denominational value appears as ONE DOLLAR along the lower edge of the coin. The reverse also features two conspicuous stars which appear identical. On both sides of the coin are small lumps running along the entire margin.
Similar to other Morgan silvers, the 1897 version has popular slogans that are visible on both sides.
E PLURIBUS UNUM
The motto appears on many US coins following its official adoption in 1776. A Latin phrase stands for ‘out of many, one It expresses the nation’s determination and ability to form a country out of 50 states.
In God we trust
The slogan became the country’s national motto following the US Congress resolution in 1956. It signifies that the nation’s political and economic fortunes depend on the people’s trust in God.
Liberty is a mythical figure symbolic of the Liberty statue in New York. The word Liberty is an official slogan that denotes freedom, Liberty, and democracy in America.
The mint mark is a distinct identification feature that shows which mint struck Morgan silver. The 1897 Morgan Dollar has two mint marks; “O” (New Orleans) and “S” (San Francisco). However, the mother mint in Philadelphia struck Morgan silver without the mint mark.
Metal and dimensions
The three US mints struck the 1897 dollar using 90% silver and 10% copper. It is therefore highly sought after, owing to the high silver content. The dollar coin weighs 26.73 grams and has a diameter of 38.1 mm. In addition, it has a reeded edge with small lumps that run along the inner margin.
1897 Morgan Silver Dollar Value
The 1897 Morgan dollar has high value both as a coin and silver bullion. However, it would be best to have a specimen that coin collectors would find worth some price.
Below are some current values for the coin:
At face value, the coin is worth one dollar. This is the denominational value indicated on the reverse side of the currency.
How Much Is the Metal in 1897 Morgan Dollar Worth?
The coin has a dominant silver content, which attracts a value worth its weight in silver. The current spot price for silver stands at $22.53 per ounce. Based on the spot price, the 1897 Dollar has a melt value of $17.43. However, the melt value is not a standard price, as it depends on the current spot price.
How Much Is the Coin at the Pawnshop?
According to coin trackers, the 1897 Morgan dollar is worth $30 in average condition. In certified MS+ condition, pawnbrokers will award you $50 for MS60 grade and $240 or more for a Morgan dollar at MS 65 certified grade. A proof coin is worth $3,000+ in certified PR 63 state.
Comparison Table Showing the Value of the 1897 Morgan Silver Dollar:
|Condition||1897||1897 O||1897 S||Proof (PR 63)|
Factors that Determine the 1897 Morgan Silver Dollar Value
Remarkably, George Morgan’s 1897 dollar is 124 years old; hence, finding an uncirculated coin is not easy.
Below are the main factors that determine the value of an 1897 Morgan Silver Dollar:
The value of Morgan Silver largely depends on its condition, as high-grade coins fetch higher prices. Coin collectors will assess the overall condition of your coin before they purchase it. Therefore, it is worth knowing the condition and grade of your coin before you sell it.
Below is an outline of the different coin grades:
If a Morgan silver is uncirculated, it has never been in circulation, hence retains original luster and eye appeal. The coin is well-preserved with major features and fresh from the mint.
In this condition, the Morgan silver has a light and minimal wear from a slight contact. The coin was in circulation, but not for long. It has minor surface damage that is only visible through the aid of a magnifying lens.
A fine-grade coin circulated for a long time and has major worn-out parts, especially high features. It is smooth to touch, with visible wear on the images and letters used.
This marks the lowest grade of an 1897 Morgan silver. Because of the frequent and prolonged circulation, the coin has extensive damage on both the obverse and reverse sides. A coin in this condition is only worth its melt value.
The mintage refers to the number of coins struck by the US mints. The 1897 Morgan coins have unique mint marks denoting the origin of the mint. Morgan Dollar coins struck at Philadelphia in 1897 have the lowest mintage and the least number in circulation. Therefore, they have a higher value compared to those from San Francisco and New Orleans.
1. Where is the Mint mark on the 1897 Morgan Silver?
The mint mark appears on the reverse side of the silver dollar below the wreath.
2. What is the rarest Morgan Silver?
The 1895 Morgan silver dollar is the rarest and most valuable in the Morgan silver dollar series.
3. Is the 1897 Morgan silver a functional currency?
The 1897 Morgan silver was a functional currency during the period of the Morgan series. Today, the currency still exists, but as a commemorative coin.
Winding Up: Is the 1897 Morgan Silver Dollar Value Worth it?
The 1897 Morgan Silver was one of the earliest coins stuck with George Thomas Morgan as one dollar coin for the US. Morgan put a portrait of Liberty on the obverse, modeled by his girlfriend Anna Willess Williams. The 90% silver and 10% copper coin has an eagle at its obverse and costs between $17 and $30 at the pawnshop. Shoot us any questions regarding the prices of the 1897 morgan silver dollar.