Value of 1839 silver dollar

Value of 1839 silver dollar DEFAULT

Seated Liberty dollar

United States silver dollar coin minted from 1840–1873

The Seated Liberty dollar was a dollar coin struck by the United States Mint from 1840 to 1873 and designed by its chief engraver, Christian Gobrecht. It was the last silver coin of that denomination to be struck before passage of the Coinage Act of 1873, which temporarily ended production of the silver dollar for American commerce. The coin's obverse is based on that of the Gobrecht dollar, which had been minted experimentally from 1836 to 1839. However, the soaring eagle used on the reverse of the Gobrecht dollar was not used; instead, the United States Mint (Mint) used a heraldic eagle, based on a design by late Mint Chief Engraver John Reich first utilized on coins in 1807.

Seated Liberty dollars were initially struck only at the Philadelphia Mint; in 1846, production began at the New Orleans facility. In the late 1840s, the price of silver increased relative to gold because of an increase in supply of the latter caused by the California Gold Rush; this led to the hoarding, export, and melting of American silver coins. The Coinage Act of 1853 decreased the weight of all silver coins of five cents or higher, except for the dollar, but also required a supplemental payment from those wishing their bullion struck into dollar coins. As little silver was being presented to the US Mint at the time, production remained low. In the final years of the series, there was more silver produced in the US, and mintages increased.

In 1866, "In God We Trust" was added to the dollar following its introduction to United States coinage earlier in the decade. Seated Liberty dollar production was halted by the Coinage Act of 1873, which authorized the trade dollar for use in foreign commerce. Representatives of silver interests were unhappy when the metal's price dropped again in the mid-1870s; they advocated the resumption of the free coinage of silver into legal tender, and after the passage of the Bland–Allison Act in 1878, production resumed with the Morgan dollar.


The Mint Act of 1792 made both gold and silver legal tender; specified weights of each was equal to a dollar. The United States Mint struck gold and silver only when depositors supplied metal, which was returned in the form of coin. The fluctuation of market prices for commodities meant that either precious metal would likely be overvalued in terms of the other, leading to hoarding and melting; in the decades after 1792, it was usually silver coins which met that fate. In 1806, President Thomas Jefferson officially ordered all silver dollar mintage halted, though production had not occurred since 1804. This was done in part to prevent the coins from being exported to foreign nations for melting, causing a strain on the fledgling Mint for little gain. Over the next quarter century, the silver coin usually struck for bullion depositors was the half dollar. In 1831, Mint DirectorSamuel Moore requested that President Andrew Jackson lift the restriction against dollar coin production; the president obliged in April of that year. Despite the approval to strike the coins, no silver dollars were minted until 1836.

The Bureau of the Mint in the 1830s was undergoing a period of significant change, as new technologies were adopted. In 1828, the Mint, whose authorization had been subject to periodic renewal by Congress since its inception in 1792, was given permanent status. A new building to house the Philadelphia Mint was authorized by Congress, and opened in 1832. Congress adjusted the precious-metal content of US coins in 1834 and 1837, and was able to achieve a balance whereby US coins remained in circulation alongside those of foreign nations (mostly Spanish colonial pieces). In 1836, the first steam machinery was introduced at the Mint; previously coins had been struck by muscle power. Congress had in 1835 authorized branch mints at Dahlonega in Georgia, Charlotte in North Carolina, and at New Orleans in Louisiana. The Charlotte and Dahlonega mints only struck gold, catering to miners in the South who sought to deposit that metal, but the New Orleans facility would also strike silver coins, including the Seated Liberty dollar.

Gobrecht dollar[edit]

Main article: Gobrecht dollar

The flying eagle reverse of the Gobrecht dollar
The flying eagle reverse of the Gobrecht dollar

In mid-1835, newly appointed Mint DirectorRobert M. Patterson engaged artists Titian Peale and Thomas Sully to create new designs for American coinage. In an August 1, 1835, letter, Patterson proposed that Sully create an obverse design consisting of Liberty seated on a boulder, holding a "liberty pole" in her right hand topped by a pileus, the headgear given by the Romans to an emancipated slave. He also asked Sully to create a reverse design consisting of an "eagle flying, and rising in flight, amidst the constellation irregularly dispersed of twenty-four stars".[a] Patterson requested that the bird appear natural; he criticized the eagle designs then in use on the nation's coinage as being unnatural primarily because of the shield placed on the eagle's breast. Mint Chief Engraver William Kneass prepared a sketch based on Patterson's conception, but suffered a stroke, leaving him partially paralyzed. Later in 1835, Christian Gobrecht was hired at the Mint as a draftsman, die sinker, and assistant engraver to Kneass. Although nominally a subordinate, Gobrecht would perform much of the engraving work for the Mint until Kneass' death in 1840, when Gobrecht was appointed chief engraver.

Sully prepared sketches of the artwork, which Gobrecht used as a guide in engraving copper plates. The plates were approved by various government officials, and the production of trial strikes began. The design was not free from controversy; former Mint Director Samuel Moore had deprecated the use of the pileus. Quoting former president Thomas Jefferson, Moore had written to Secretary of the Treasury Levi Woodbury, "We are not emancipated slaves."

Following a series of trial strikes and modifications through 1836, the first of what would come to be known as the Gobrecht dollars were minted in December of that year. The dollars of 1836 were minted with a silver fineness of .892 (89.2%) silver, a specification set forth in the 1792 act. The mandated fineness of US silver coins was changed from .892 to .900 (90%) by the Coinage Act of 1837, passed on January 18, 1837; subsequent Gobrecht dollars were struck in .900 silver. Beginning in 1837, an adaptation of the obverse of the Gobrecht dollar, depicting a seated Liberty, was used on the smaller silver coins (from half dime to half dollar), with Gobrecht's modification of Reich's heraldic eagle on the reverse of the quarter and half dollar. Except on the half dime, abolished in 1873, the designs would remain on those coins for over 50 years.[b]

Coinage continued in small amounts until 1839, when official production of the Gobrecht dollar ceased. The coins had been struck as a trial to gauge public acceptance. The Mint acquired a portrait lathe in 1837, which allowed Gobrecht to work in large models for the later versions of the Gobrecht dollar, and for the Seated Liberty dollar. The lathe, a pantograph-like device, mechanically reduced the design from the model to a coin-size hub, from which working dies could be produced. Prior to 1837, the engraver had to cut the design onto the die face by hand.



Chief Engraver Christian Gobrecht created the Seated Liberty design.

Prior to full-scale production of a dollar coin in 1840, Patterson reviewed the designs then in use, including the Gobrecht dollar's. The director opted to replace Gobrecht's soaring eagle reverse with a left-facing bald eagle based on a design by former Mint engraver John Reich, a design first used on silver and gold coinage in 1807. Although the reverse for the dollar was probably selected to match that of the quarter and half dollar, it is not known why the flying eagle design was not used for the lower denominations in the first place. Numismatic historian Walter Breen speculates that a Treasury official might have preferred the Reich design.

The obverse of the Gobrecht dollar was in high relief, but Mint officials felt that this should be lowered for the new coin, which was to be struck in much larger quantities. Patterson hired Robert Ball Hughes, a Philadelphia artist, to modify the design. As part of Hughes' modifications, Liberty's head was enlarged, the drapery was thickened, and the relief was lowered overall. Thirteen stars were also included on the obverse. On the Gobrecht dollar, with its high relief, the depiction of Liberty appears like a statue on a plinth; the flatter Seated Liberty decreased relief appears more like an engraving.

Art historian Cornelius Vermeule tied the appearance of the obverse to neoclassicism, noting the resemblance of Gobrecht's Liberty to the marble statues of ancient Rome. The neoclassical school was popular in the first half of the 19th century, and not only among official artists; Vermeule noted, "it becomes almost painfully evident that similar sources were consulted both by the engravers of United States coins in Philadelphia and by the cutters of tombstones from Maine to Illinois". The reverse retained the shield upon the eagle's breast. Art historian Vermeule described it as "the same old unnatural, unartistic eagle with shield on his stomach, like a baseball umpire's protector ... to clutch branch and olives in one foot, arrows of war in the other oversized set of claws". According to numismatic historian David Lange, the Reich-Gobrecht reverse design is known among some coin collectors as the "sandwich-board eagle". Breen, in his comprehensive volume on US coins, complains of "the 'improvements' inflicted by [Hughes] on a hapless Ms. Liberty. Compared with the original Sully-Gobrecht conception of 1836–39, this is a sorry mess indeed."


A small production run of 12,500 was minted in July 1840 to allow bullion depositors to become familiar with the new coins before having their silver struck into dollars. The process of bringing the new coin to public hands was made easier by a congressional authorization in 1837 for a fund that allowed the Mint a "float", permitting it to give depositors payment in coin without waiting for their metal to go through the minting process. Bullion producers began depositing the silver required to initiate heavier production later in 1840; 41,000 pieces were minted in November, followed by a mintage of 7,505 in December. Deposits increased the following year, which saw a mintage of 173,000 pieces. All coins were produced at the Philadelphia Mint until 1846, when 59,000 were struck at the Mint at New Orleans.

Following the discovery of gold in California, a large amount of gold coins began appearing in American commercial channels. The influx caused the price of gold relative to silver to decrease, making silver coins worth more as bullion than as currency. They were exported abroad, or else melted locally for their bullion value. As it was profitable to export silver, little was presented at the Mint, which resulted in low mintage numbers for the silver dollar; 1,300 and 1,100 were struck in 1851 and 1852 respectively. The rarity of these dates was recognized by the late 1850s; Mint employees made surreptitious restrikes to sell to collectors.

Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1853 in February of that year. The act lowered the silver weight of the coins ranging from the half dime to half dollar by 6.9%, though the dollar remained unaffected. The 1853 act eliminated the practice of depositing silver bullion to be struck into coin, except into the dollar for which a coining charge of .5% was imposed. According to the Senate report filed with the bill which became the Coinage Act, these changes were intended as a temporary expedient, with the free coinage of silver to be restored when bullion prices became stable. Sources vary in their explanation as to why Congress chose to exempt the dollar from the silver coinage overhaul: numismatic historian R.W. Julian suggests that it was done due to its status as the "flagship" of American coins. According to Don Taxay in his history of the Mint and coinage, "the silver dollar, which it [the act] left unchanged to preserve a bi-metallic currency, continued to be exported and was rarely used in commerce. Without realizing it, the country had entered onto the gold standard." Julian agreed, noting that the act instituted a de facto gold standard in the United States, because it required silver coinage to be paid for in gold. The silver dollar continued to circulate little; quantities were sent west beginning in 1854 to serve as "small change" in California. Silver prices remained high into the 1860s, and little silver bullion was presented for striking into dollars. To serve collectors, individual specimens were made available to the public by the Mint at a cost of $1.08.

Later years[edit]

Numismatist and coin dealer Q. David Bowers believes that most Seated Liberty dollars produced after 1853 were shipped to China to pay for luxury goods, including tea and silk. R. W. Julian argued to the contrary, that continued production of the dollar had little to do with trade with the Orient (where goods were paid for in silver), suggesting instead that the coins were sent to the West for use there. However, although the Mint's Engraving Department sent dies for the dollar to the San Francisco facility repeatedly from 1858 on, the California mint used them only once before 1870, striking 20,000 dollars in 1859, a year in which 255,700 were struck at Philadelphia and 360,000 at New Orleans. Production at New Orleans was disrupted after 1860 by the Civil War; it did not strike silver dollars again until 1879, after the end of the Seated Liberty series. After the outbreak of the war in 1861, inflationary greenbacks were introduced, and precious-metal coins vanished from circulation. In April 1863, new Mint Director James Pollock argued that the silver dollar be eliminated, noting in a letter that the coin "no longer enters into our monetary system. The few pieces made are for Asiatic and other foreign trade and are not seen in circulation."

In November 1861, Reverend M. R. Watkinson suggested in a letter that some sort of religious motto should be placed on American coinage to reflect the increasing religiosity of United States citizens following the outbreak of the Civil War. In an October 21, 1863, report to Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, Pollock expressed his own desire to emblazon American coins with a religious motto. The Mint began producing patterns bearing various mottoes, including "God Our Trust" and "In God We Trust"; the latter was ultimately selected, and its first use was on the two-cent piece in 1864.The following year, a law was passed allowing the Treasury to place the motto upon any coin at its discretion. The motto was placed on the silver dollar, as well as various other silver, gold and base metal coins, in 1866.

The coin shortage continued after the end of the Civil War, due largely to the large war debt incurred by the federal government. As a result, silver coinage began to trade at a significant premium to the now ubiquitous greenbacks. Accordingly, the government was reluctant to issue silver coins. Nevertheless, the Mint continued striking silver, to be stored in vaults until such time as they could enter the marketplace. The Seated Liberty dollar was the first coin to be struck at the Carson City Mint; the first to be issued were 2,303 pieces paid to a Mr. A. Wright on February 11, 1870. The dollar was struck at Carson City from 1870 to 1873, with the largest mintage, 11,758, in 1870. The largest quantity struck at any mint was in 1872 at Philadelphia: 1,105,500, though the mintage in 1871 had also exceeded a million.

Abolition and aftermath[edit]

For further information about the 19th-century question of the legal tender-status of silver in the US, see Cross of Gold speech § Background.

Beginning in 1859, large quantities of silver were found in Nevada Territory and elsewhere in the American West. In 1869, Director of the Mint Henry Linderman began advocating the end of the acceptance of silver bullion deposits to be struck into dollars. Although silver dollars were not coined in large numbers, Linderman saw that mining in the West would increase after the completion of the transcontinental railroad,[c] which it did, as US silver production increased from 10 million troy ounces in 1867 to more than 22 million five years later. Linderman foresaw that these activities would increase the supply of silver, causing its price to drop below the $1.2929 per ounce at which the precious metal in the standard silver dollar is worth $1.00. He anticipated that silver suppliers would turn to the Mint to dispose of their product by striking it into dollars. The monetization of that cheap silver, Linderman feared, would inflate the currency and drive gold from commerce because of Gresham's law. Although silver advocates later called the resulting law the "Crime of '73" and claimed that it had been passed in a deceitful manner, the bill was discussed during five different sessions of Congress, read in full by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and printed in full on multiple occasions. Once it passed both houses of Congress, it was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on February 12, 1873.

Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryancampaign poster, 1900. The silver dollar illustrated below the portrait resembles a Seated Liberty dollar.

The Coinage Act of 1873 ended production of the standard silver dollar and authorized creation of the Trade dollar, thus concluding the Seated Liberty dollar series. The Trade dollar was slightly heavier than the standard dollar and was intended for use in payments in silver to merchants in China. Although not meant for use in the United States, a last-minute rider gave it legal tender status there up to $5. When silver prices plummeted in the mid-1870s, millions appeared in circulation, at first in the West and then throughout the United States, causing problems in commerce when banks insisted on the $5 legal tender limit. Other abuses followed, such as purchase by companies for bullion value (by then about $0.80) for use in pay packets. Workers had little option but to accept them as dollars. In response to complaints, Congress ended any status as legal tender in 1876, halted production of the Trade dollar (except for collectors) in 1878, and agreed to redeem any which had not been chopmarked in 1887.

The 1873 act eliminated the provisions allowing depositors of silver bullion to have their metal struck into standard silver dollars; they could now only receive Trade dollars, which were not legal tender beyond $5. As the price of silver then was about $1.30 per ounce, there was no outcry from silver producers. Beginning in 1874, however, the price dropped; silver would not again sell for $1.2929 or more on the open market in the United States until 1963. Advocates of silver both sought a market for the commodity and believed that "free silver" or bimetallism would boost the economy and make it easy for farmers to repay debts. Many in Congress agreed, and the first battle over the issue resulted in a partial victory for silver forces, as the 1878 Bland–Allison Act required the Mint to purchase large quantities of silver on the open market and strike the bullion into dollar coins. The Mint did so, using a new design by Assistant Engraver George T. Morgan,[d] which came to be known as the Morgan dollar. The issue of what monetary standard would be used occupied the nation for the rest of the 19th century, becoming most acute in the 1896 presidential election. In that election, the unsuccessful Democratic candidate, William Jennings Bryan, campaigned on "free silver", having electrified the Democratic National Convention with his Cross of Gold speech, decrying the gold standard. The issue was settled for the time by the Gold Standard Act of 1900, making that standard the law of the land.


Considerable private melting in the early years of the series makes many dates rare; more melting took place when large quantities that had accumulated at the New York Sub-Treasury were sent to Philadelphia in 1861 and 1862 for restriking into smaller denominations.R. S. Yeoman's 2014 edition of A Guide Book of United States Coins[e] lists no Seated Liberty dollar in collectable condition (very good or better) at less than $280.

The key dates of the series include the 1866 variety which lacks the motto "In God We Trust", of which only two are known; one sold at auction in 2005 for $1,207,500. Another rarity is the 1870 struck at San Francisco (1870-S), of which the mintage is not known as their striking was not recorded in that mint's records. Those records indicate that in May 1870, the San Francisco Mint returned two dollar reverse dies to Philadelphia as mistakenly sent without mint mark, and received two proper replacements. There is no record of any 1870-dated obverse dies for the dollar being sent to San Francisco; nevertheless, the coins exist. Breen, writing in 1988, lists twelve examples known, which he speculates may have been presentation pieces, meant to be inserted in a cornerstone. One sold at auction for $1,092,500 in 2003. A similar mystery attends the 1873-S, which despite the stated mintage of 700, is not known to exist. Two of the pieces were routinely sent to Philadelphia for examination at the 1874 meeting of the United States Assay Commission, but apparently were not preserved. Breen suggests that the remaining mintage may have been melted along with obsolete silver coins.


  1. ^The number of states at the time
  2. ^A wreathed "Half Dime" or "One Dime" was used on the reverse of those smaller denominations.
  3. ^Completed in 1869
  4. ^From 1917 until his death in 1925, chief engraver. See Coin World Almanac 1977, pp. 216–217.
  5. ^Commonly called the Red Book.



  • Breen, Walter (1988). Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins. New York: Doubleday. ISBN .
  • Coin World Almanac (3rd ed.). Sidney, Ohio: Amos Press. 1977. OCLC 4017981.
  • Julian, R.W. (1993). Bowers, Q. David (ed.). Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States. Wolfeboro, New Hampshire: Bowers and Merena Galleries. ISBN .
  • Lange, David W. (2006). History of the United States Mint and its Coinage. Atlanta, Ga.: Whitman Publishing. ISBN .
  • Peters, Richard, ed. (1845). The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America. Boston, Mass.: Charles C. Little and James Brown.
  • Taxay, Don (1983). The U.S. Mint and Coinage (reprint of 1966 ed.). New York: Sanford J. Durst Numismatic Publications. ISBN .
  • Van Allen, Leroy C.; Mallis, A. George (1991). Comprehensive Catalog and Encyclopedia of Morgan & Peace Dollars. Virginia Beach, Va.: DLRC Press. ISBN .
  • Vermeule, Cornelius (1971). Numismatic Art in America. Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN .
  • Yeoman, R.S. (2013). A Guide Book of United States Coins (The Official Red Book) (67th ed.). Atlanta, Ga.: Whitman Publishing. ISBN .

US Gobrecht Dollar (Fakes are possible) 1836 to 1839

US Gobrecht Dollar (Fakes are possible) 1836 to 1839

Wow, TDK1916, do you have a Gobrecht dollar? That is a major US coin. Congratulations! But watch out for fakes (see below).

The coin in our picture comes from Stack
's Bowers where it sold for $14394 during 2012. This gives you an idea what these coins are worth. It's big money ...


Accurate pricing of these amazing coins is well above CoinQuest's ken. If you would like to send a picture, we can probably give you a decent idea of value, but for a general page like this, suffice it to say that values between $10000 and $75000 US dollars apply. (To send a picture, start an e-mail exchange with CoinQuest using the Contact Us link.)

There are many nuance with Gobrecht dollars. Different varieties were minted, some with rotated dies, and restrikes were produced during the 1850s to 1870s. Take your coin to a knowledgeable collector or coin dealer for an in-person appraisal.

As always with valuable coins, be aware that counterfeits exist. Deal only with reputable firms and people you know to be honest. Check the weight of your coin using a jeweler's scale. Genuine coins weigh between 26.7 and 26.9 grams.

CoinQuest thanks Stack's Bowers for use of their coin image. It is a beauty!

Coin: 14087, Genre: United States, Timeline: World
Created (yyyymm): 201302, Last review: 201701
Appearance: Normal round coin Metallic gray Letters: Latin
Years: sort: 1836, filter: 1836 to 1839
Image: us_gobrecht_dollar.jpg
Original inquiry: lady liberty seated looking over right shoulder. 13 stars, 7 to her right, 6 to her left. right hand on liberty shield. reverse has united states of america and on the bottom one dollar. there are two small dots or circles, one dot before the one and one dot after dollar. eagle flying, head about at the t in united and highest wing pointed at the e in america. gobrecht? eagle liberty shield pole cap stick rod staff eagle hawk falcon arms shield crest

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Gold: $1791.17 $9.99

Silver: $24.34 $0.20

Platinum: $1037.33 $9.68

Palladium: $1960.16 $9.54

EUR: $1.16 $0.00

BTC: $60740.06 $1,804.94

ETH: $3975.53 $91.63

CAD: $0.81

AUD: $0.75

ADA: $2.16 $0.02

LTC: $192.11 $4.70

Gold: $1791.17 $9.99

Silver: $24.34 $0.20

Platinum: $1037.33 $9.68

Palladium: $1960.16 $9.54

EUR: $1.16 $0.00

BTC: $60740.06 $1,804.94

ETH: $3975.53 $91.63

CAD: $0.81

AUD: $0.75

ADA: $2.16 $0.02

LTC: $192.11 $4.70


How much are my U.S. Gobrecht Dollars (Proof) worth?




Liberty Seated Half Dollar. No Drapery 1839 ( MS-65 PCGS) - December 2020 Auction Sold $ 138,000

Morgan Silver Dollar Values

Coin Values Moving with Precious Metals: Up-Dated 10/18/2021: Gold $1762 | Silver $23.15

Popular and always in demand, minimum Morgan silver dollar values begin at $21.12 for a heavily worn example. Many date and mintmark combination are worth well above minimum value. A step by step approach identities key dates, mintmarks, and helps judge collector quality condition.

Morgan Silver Dollar Representing the Series

Steps Leading to Value:

  • Step 1: Date and Mintmark Variety - Many dates are common, many are scarce to rare, mintmarks are also identified.
  • Step 2: Grading Condition - Higher value follows higher condition. Images, video, and descriptions help narrow grade range.
  • Step 3: Special Qualities - Collector quality is highly prized. Separate coins trading at silver value from higher demand examples.

Collected today by date and mintmark, collectors form sets including each year and mint. Each combination is valued separately because of availability, many are highly valued. Further judgement of condition and surface preservation is needed to narrow how much a Morgan silver dollar is worth. Step 1 follows the value chart.

The above are wholesale Morgan Silver Dollar Values. Computed from dealer's price lists with various mark-up factors figured in. They reflect closely the value you would expect to receive when selling.

Variations in value do occur subject to subtle grading points, collector demands and dealer needs.

Although these are wholesale Morgan silver dollar values, realize your coins are very popular and in strong demand.

Step 1: | Date and Mintmark Variety are Identified

One of the features of the Morgan dollar is the fine detail throughout the design. Liberty is adorned with a Liberty cap and band with "Liberty" inscribed. Above the band are wheat heads with easily recognizable grains and leaves. Cotton bolls and cotton leaves within the design, are also well detailed. A standing eagle on the reverse with wings upright is a strong symbol of national pride and National bird. A preference for peace is represented by an olive branch and ability to defend is noted by the eagle holding three arrows.

Mints and Mintmarks of the Morgan Silver Dollar Series

Morgan silver dollars enjoy a large following of collectors. Sets of the coins typically include each date and mintmark variety. Five mints were involved in production of the series over the years 1878 to 1921. Each mint variety is valued by demand on supplies and condition of the coin. Mintmarks were used by the branch mints to indicate their production, and are key to Morgan silver dollar values.

"CC" Mintmark: Carson City Mint Struck the Coin

Carson City Mint Morgan Silver Dollar Variety

Carson City Morgan dollars are both very popular with collectors and are the scarce mintmark variety. Minted in only 13 years of the series, the mint's total production was 13.8 million coins, lowest of all mints. Each Carson City dollar is a premium coin in all grades. Lowest coinage years 1881, 1885, and 1889 are very scarce. High condition examples are closely judged and graded.

Carson City mint used a "CC" mintmark to identify its production. On the reverse under the bow tying the olive wreath a "CC" mintmark is a Carson City silver dollar.

"S" Mintmark: San Francisco Mint Struck the Coin

San Francisco Mint Morgan Silver Dollar Variety

San Francisco is the only mint that struck coins for circulation every year of the Morgan Dollar series. A complete date run of San Francisco variety dollars is a popular sub-collection. To complete the collection an 1893-S dollar is needed, the key high value coin to the series. 100,000 were minted, lowest mintage of any variety, all are highly sought.

San Francisco mint placed a small "S" mintmark on coins. On the reverse, under the bow a "S" mark confirms the San Francisco mint struck the coin.

"O" Mintmark: New Orleans Mint Struck the Coin

New Orleans Mint Morgan Silver Dollar Variety

New Orleans mint was also a great contributor to the Morgan dollar series. Striking coins in all but two years, its coinage total was second of the mints. Striking millions of silver dollars most years, just over 186 million coins were produced. Two dates standout as very scarce and valuable, 1893 a low of 300,000 coins minted and 1895 another unusually low 450,000 coined. Both are avidly sought and demand on the limited numbers show in premium values on the chart.

An "O" mintmark was used by the New Orleans mint on its coinage. This mintmark is found on the reverse, below the ribbon tying the wreath.

"D" Mintmark: Denver Mint Struck the Coin

Denver Mint Morgan Silver Dollar Variety

The Denver mint was called upon to strike silver dollars in one year of the series, 1921. Carson City and New Orleans mints were both closed and Denver contributed over 20 million 1921 silver dollars. These coins represent a unique one-year only variety with a strong demand. With the large supply, values are affordable, placing the coin on want lists of most collectors.

Denver mint used a "D" mintmark to indicate its production. On the reverse under the ribbon tying the wreath, look for the "D" mintmark of the Denver mint.

No Mintmark: Philadelphia Mint Struck the Coin

Philadelphia Mint Morgan Silver Dollar Variety

Philadelphia struck just over 305 million Morgan silver dollars of the total 657 million struck from all mints combined. These huge numbers are reflected in affordable values on the chart for most dates. Most years Philadelphia struck multi-million silver dollars, many years, tens of millions of coins. 1893, 1894, and 1899 are the scare issues matching low mintage years. Philadelphia issues are judge carefully to recognize high grade examples that break away from bullion value to collector premium values.

Philadelphia continued the trend of no mintmark on its coinage with the Morgan silver dollar series. In the space below the ribbons tying the bow, and just above the "DO" of "Dollar", no mintmark confirms the Philadelphia mint struck the coin.

Step 2: | Judging Condition | Identify Grade | Determine Value

These old dollars are inspected closely and evaluated for wear and overall condition. The process is known as "Grading" a coin. The condition of a coin and the resulting grade have a large impact on Morgan silver dollar values.

Morgan Silver Dollar Values are Conditional

Compare your coins to the grading images below. Inspect both obverse and reverse to judge an overall condition. For the obverse; focus on the hair above the forehead, wear presents there first. On the reverse feather details wear quickly and are a key factor to grade.

A single light source such as a table/desk lamp is ideal to help cast a light brining out subtle details. Along with a magnifying glass to get in close and recognize finer details separating grades.

Grading Set Morgan Silver Dollars Mint State, Extremely Fine, Fine, and Good Condition

Mint State Grade: Morgan Silver Dollar

Obverse View: Mint State Grade Morgan Silver Dollar

Obverse: Features Identifying Mint State Grade: Absence of wear to the surface defines the Mint State grade. Minting of coins imparts a luster to the surface and is what gives a Morgan dollar its shine. Rotating and tilting under a light causes the luster to move across the surface. Any breaks in luster - due to wear - causes a dullness to the surface.

Judge Liberty's cheek, a mint state coin is lustrous across all areas.

Just above her forehead, fine strands of hair are high in relief. These waves of hair remain fully covered in the fine texture imparted during the minting process. All parts of the hair remain without dulling to the high points.

Cotton leaves, blossoms, and wheat grains form a wreath above the hair and all fine edges of the design are without any signs of smoothing due to wear.

Reverse View: Mint State Grade Morgan Silver Dollar

Reverse: Features Identifying Mint State Grade: Delicate areas are inspected to identify absence of wear. Many small high relief points are part of the design of the eagle and leaves in the wreath, all are inspected.

Feathers on the Eagle's neck are centrally located, prone to first wear. Look close to confirm original mint luster and texture remains.

Tips of both wings on a mint state coin are rounded in profile with no flat spots, especially towards the ends.

Leaves in the wreath have fine edges and small contoured designs, forming high and low areas. All parts of the leaves are without any dulling and smooth spots.

Extremely Fine Grade: Morgan Silver Dollar

Obverse View: Extremely Fine Grade Morgan Silver Dollar

Obverse: Features Identifying Extremely Fine Grade: Wear has begun to smooth and flatten the very tops of design details. Most luster is gone.

Hair above Liberty's forehead is showing a few flat areas. Along the tops of the waves are areas where the fine lines have merged. Waves remain with a high profile.

Just in front of the ear, hair is raised and separated form cheek.

Cotton leaves are smooth along the edges but are well defined from the cap.

Reverse View: Extremely Fine Grade Morgan Silver Dollar

Reverse: Features Identifying Extremely Fine Grade: Light wear is causing small disconnected flat areas over the feathers and leaves.

Neck feathers are will defined. Flatness is on tops of feathers and little evidence of merging is noted.

Wing feathers are slightly flattened on upper edges only. Each feather is bold and separated form the next. View along the top edge of wings, feather detail show.

All leaves of the wreath are bold with central line detail. No merging of individual leaves, wear is confined to just upper edges.

Fine Grade: Morgan Silver Dollar

Obverse View: Fine Grade Morgan Silver Dollar

Obverse: Features Identifying the Fine Grade: Flat areas are beginning to dominate the surface of a Morgan dollar in Fine grade.

Above Liberty's forehead many of the waves of hair are flat with only a few fine inner lines remaining. Hair directly above eye is well raised and separate of forehead.

Her ear is still bold in detail, however just above is a large flat area. Flatness continues towards the temple with hair blending with the cheek and temple.

Outlines of the two cotton blossoms and all leaves remain. Very faint but visible are the two lower cotton leaves.

Reverse View: Fine Grade Morgan Silver Dollar

Reverse: Features Identifying the Fine Grade: A bold eagle remains on the reverse with most of the feather detail still clear.

Neck feathers are now smooth in the center from head to chest. Legs of the eagle are also smooth with only slight details to sides of legs.

Wing feathers are complete over most of both wings. Some blending of feather lines is seen on the left wing, confined towards the top.

Leaves of the wreath are well detailed, merging of edges is minimal. Lower leaves within the groups are very bold.

Good Grade: Morgan Silver Dollar

Obverse View: Good Grade Morgan Silver Dollar

Obverse: Features Identifying the Good Grade: Once a silver dollar is worn to a mostly flat surface lacking detail to Liberty, a Good grade is assigned to its condition.

Some detail remains in the hair above the date. Liberty's portrait is well outline and somewhat bold from the field of the coin.

Lettering of the legend is complete and readable. Additionally, all stars are visible, raised above the field and separate of the rim.

Two cotton blossoms just below the letters of "Liberty" are recognizable.

Reverse View: Good Grade Morgan Silver Dollar

Reverse: Features Identifying the Good Grade: All major designs on the reverse are recognizable. An eagle is complete, lettering is readable and the wreath remains boldly outlined.

Tips to the eagle's wing are outlined and free of the rim. The right wing is often just touching the rim.

Feather details remain visible on the lower parts of wings. Tail feathers are clearly defined.

Many of the leaves of the wreath are flattened into groups but the wreath is complete in outline, no merging with the field.

Tops of lettering is free of the rim along most of the Legend. One or two slight connections of the letters to the rim are the result of striking weakness in the area. Note: Wide spread fading of the legend into the rim indicates a lower condition coin.

How to Video: Grading Morgan Silver Dollars

An accurate grade of silver dollars is needed to place an accurate value on the coin. How to grade Morgan silver dollars follows a process judging the surface of the coin, comparing it to the video, images and descriptions.

Video | Grading Morgan Silver Dollars

Step 3: | Special Qualities Enhancing Value

Coins falling in the $21.12 to $23.24 range on the above value chart are bullion quality silver dollars. These are priced and traded based on silver content of the coin. When minted Morgan dollars contain .773 ounces of silver. Quality of preservation is what separates most silver dollars from bullion to collector appeal and premium value.

A few key elements are easily recognized to help judge a premium collector Morgan dollar. Date and mintmark quickly determine base value. Next, aesthetics often decide value. Aesthetics and eye appeal are the evaluation of surface qualities and overall "look" of the coin.

Morgan Silver Dollar Representing the Series

Both of the imaged coins are Extremely Fine grade, the technical amount of wear to the surface. Differences in the appearance and eye appeal are now judged. Many collectors favor the soft grey-tan toning over the dark, mottled colors of the second dollar. Aesthetics now determine marketability of the dark coin, often lessening its appeal.

Also, easily to recognize are eye distracting marks. If a mark, scratch, or rim bruise is noticeable, it immediately lowers eye appeal.

Morgan Silver Dollar Representing the Series

Placing yourself in the eye of a collector, both examples are the same date, mintmark, and grade. Looking closely at the chest of the eagle, on the second coin a noticeable deep mark is clearly visible. Marks of this type are the deciding factor in eye appeal to collectors. Recognizing coins with outstanding aesthetics separates bullion from collector quality.


US Mint. 1948 US Mint Annual Report.
US Mint. Catalogue of Coins of the United States.
US Mint. Symbols on Our Coins

Coin Values | CoinStudy Articles

Date by Date
In Depth Morgan Silver Dollar Value
1878 to 1921

Professional evaluation of many dates within the Morgan dollar series is important because of potential high value. If your coin is listed with a large value jump from one grade to the next, having the coin graded by a service leads to certainty of value.

Professional Coin Grading Services and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation are the top two services and both authenticate and grade your coin. Each place the coin in a special holder improving marketability. Coin Grading Services gives an insight to these services.

Coin Value Guide | How to Value a Coin Collection

A step by step method combined with the coin value online guide identifies how to value a coin collection. Discover how much your box of old coins is worth.

Visit...  Silver Dollar Values for Bust, Seated Liberty and Peace Silver Dollars

Silver Dollar Values | Remarkable

Coin values spanning 140 years. Discover the many rare dates, mintmarks and varieties. Next, "Grading" Images to evaluate the condition of your coins and find the true value of your silver dollars. From early dollars in 1794 to the Liberty Seated variety 1840-1873. Next the ever popular Morgan Dollar to the Peace Dollars ending in 1935.

Today's Minimum Silver Coin Values

Many of your old US silver coin values are tied closely to the price of silver. Pre 1965 silver dimes, quarters, half dollars and silver dollars are all heavy with 90% silver and worth many times their face value. With today's high value of silver; $23.15 per ounce as of 10/18/2021 your old silver dollars are becoming surprisingly valuable.

Selling Coins | How to Get the Best Value

Selling coins for the highest price is achieved with planning. Research and organize well, value your coins accurately, and then finding and selling to the right buyer equals excellent results.

★Coin Values Discovery finds Morgan Silver Dollar Values and...

All old US coin values. It is an excellent index with images and text links to all coin series, from Cents to Gold. Value charts, grading images and a step by step procedure uncovers how much your box of old coins is worth.

Print the Coin Values Worksheet to list your Morgan silver dollars and record their values. Should you decide to sell... use the worksheet as an invoice and packing slip when sending coins through the mail to dealers. It indicates you have done your coin values homework.


1839 value silver dollar of

Silver Dollar – How Much Is It Worth?

goldeneaglecoin • September 24, 2014

“I found a silver dollar, can you tell me how much it’s worth?” Believe it or not, this is a very common phone call we receive at Golden Eagle. We’ll usually oblige and play a little bit of I Spy and receive answers such as:

  • “It’s got an old, bald guy on one side.”
  • “The lady has like, spikes coming out of her head.”
  • “There’s a bird on the back.”

After identifying their coin we’ll direct that person to a local coin dealer or our website because there are many factors that contribute to the value of a coin and it’s nearly impossible to do it blind. If they want to sell their coin, most times they end up mailing it in to us and we assess the coin when it arrives.

What Kind Of Silver Dollar Do I Have?

If you have an older silver dollar, or if you come across one, the first thing you want to do is identify what type of coin it is. The easiest way to start is by breaking down the coin by its date. There are 3 main groups by time period:

  • 1794-1873: This covers the early dollars such as the Flowing Hair Dollar, Bust Dollar, Gobrecht Dollar, Seated Liberty Dollar, and also the Trade Dollar (although the Trade Dollar was minted until 1885 it’s usually lumped in with these coins).
  • 1878-1935: This is the meat and potatoes of the silver dollar era and also the most popular. This period comprises two coins, the Morgan Dollar (the most popular silver dollar – and arguably most popular U.S. coin) and the Peace Dollar.
  • 1971-1976: This period covers strictly Eisenhower Dollars (known as “Ikes” amongst avid coin collectors). Only a handful of specific dates were made in 40% silver composition, the rest of the circulating Eisenhowers were composed of copper-nickel clad and contain no silver.

All values listed below are derived from the Red Book, the definitive guide for U.S. coins. Please keep in mind many factors are involved such as the date of the coin, mintmark, variations, grade, etc. For the sake of the value below we are applying a grading range from Almost Good to Mint State. For a detailed guide, view our previous blog post on coin grading.

Flowing Hair Dollar (1794-1795)


The Flowing Hair Dollar is one of the earliest dollars minted by the United States. While there are many varieties that can be found, it is very difficult to keep track of their details because all of these early dies were made individually. Because modern technology was not available, no two dies were the same and as such, strike variations occurred. Not only were the dies different, but the silver blanks that were used prior to being stamped were weighed by hand as well and if a die was overweight it was filed down (again by hand) to achieve the correct weight. Conversely, if a blank was too light, a silver plug was inserted in the center of the blank planchet before the coin was struck.

Value: $1,100 – $750,000

Draped Bust Dollar (1795-1804)


Draped Bust Dollar

Very similar to the Flowing Hair Dollar, the Draped Bust Dollar has many variations when it comes to their uniformity (different thicknesses, off-center dies, etc.). There was also a design change in 1798 called the Heraldic Eagle Reverse where the eagle design was changed from an anemic-looking eagle (many in the industry call this bird sickly-looking) to a more patriotic eagle with a shield. Also, there is a very rare variation known as the 1804 Dollar.

Value: $825 – $108,000

Heraldic Eagle Reverse Bust Dollar (1798-1804)


Draped Bust Dollar Heraldic Eagle Reverse

Value: $900 – $450,000

Note: there are more expensive Heraldic Eagle Reverse Draped Bust Dollar coins, most notably 2 that are dated 1801 Proof Restrike dollars (reverse struck from first die of 1804 dollar) that are valued at $1,000,000.

1804 Dollars


1804 Silver Dollar

“The 1804 dollar is one of the most publicized rarities in the entire series of United State coins. There are specimens known as originals (first reverse), of which eight are known; and restrikes (second reverse), of which seven are known, one of which has a plain edge.

Numismatists have found that the 1804 original dollars were first struck at the Mint in the 1834 through 1835 period, for use in presentation Proof sets. The first coin to be owned by a collector, a Proof, was obtained from a Mint officer by Matthew Stickney on May 9, 1843, in exchange for an Immune Comumbia piece in gold. Later, beginning in 1859, the pieces known as restrikes and electrotypes were made at the Mint to supply the needs of collectors who wanted examples of these dollars.

Evidence that these pieces were struck during the later period is based on the fact that the 1804 dollars differ from issues of 1803 or earlier and conform more closely to those struck after 1836, their edges or borders having beaded segments and raised rims, not elongated denticles such as are found on the earlier dates.

Although the Mint record states that 19,570 dollars were coined in 1804, in no place does it mention that they were dated 1804. It was the practice in those days to use the old dies as long as they were serviceable with no regard in the annual reports for the dating of the coins. It is probable that the 1804 total for dollars actually covered coins that were dated 1803.” (Yeoman, 213)

Value: $2,300,000 – $4,140,000 (Total of 19 known coins)

Gobrecht Dollars (1836-1839)


Gobrecht Silver Dollar

“Suspension of silver dollar coinage was lifted in 1831, but it was not until 1835 that steps were taken to resume coinage. Late in that year the Mint director, R.M. Patterson, ordered engraver Christian Gobrecht to prepare a pair of dies, based on designed by Thomas Sully and Titian Peale. The first obverse die, dated, 1836, bore the seated figure of Liberty on the obverse with the inscription C. GOBRECT F. (“F” is an abbreviation for the Latin word Fecit, or “made it”) in the field above the date. On the reverse was a large eagle flying left, surrounded by 26 stars and the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA * ONE DOLLAR *. It is not known whether coins from these dies were struck at that time. A new obverse die with Gobrecht’s name on the base of Liberty was prepared, and in December 1836, 1,000 coins were struck for circulation. These coins weighed 416 grams, which was the standard enacted in 1792.” (Yeoman, 214)

Value: $11,646 – $35,754 (Though, many Gobrecht Dollars can be found on eBay for much less)

Liberty Seated Dollars (1840-1873)


Seated Liberty Dollar

“Starting again in 1840, silver dollars were issued for general circulation. The seated figure of Liberty was adopted for the obverse, but the flying eagle design was rejected in favor of the more familiar form with olive branch and arrows used for certain other silver denominations. By the early 1850’s the silver content of these pieces was worth more than their face value, and later issues were not seen in circulation but were used mainly in export trade. This situation continued through 1873.” (Yeoman, 216)

Value: $260 – $70,000 (Raw, ungraded Seated Liberty Dollars can be purchased for less)

Trade Dollars (1873-1885)


Trade Dollar

“This coin was issued for circulation in Asia to compete with dollar-sized coins of other countries. They were legal tender in the United States, but when silver prices declined, Congress repealed the provision and authorized the Treasury to limit coinage to export demand. Many pieces that circulated in the Orient were counterstamped with Oriental characters, known as chop marks. In 1887, the Treasury redeemed all trade dollars that were not mutilated. The law authorizing trade dollars was repealed in February 1887.” (Yeoman, 218)

Value: $130 – $1,565,000

Morgan Dollars (1878 – 1921)


Morgan Dollars

“The coinage law of 1873 made no provision for the standard silver dollar. During the lapse in coinage of this denomination, the gold dollar became the unit coin, and the trade dollar was used for commercial transactions with the Orient.

Resumption of coinage of the silver dollar was authorized by the Act of February 28, 1878, known as the Bland-Allison Act. The weight (412-1/2 grains) and fineness (.900) were to conform with the Act of January 18, 1837.

George T Morgan, formerly a pupil of William Wyon in the Royal Mint in London, designed the new dollar. His initial M is found at the truncation of the neck, at the last tress. It also appears on the reverse on the left-hand loop of the ribbon.

Coinage of the silver dollar was suspended after 1904, when demand was low and the bullion supply became exhausted. Under provision of the Pittman Act of 1918, 270,232,722 silver dollars were melted, and later, in 1921, coinage of the silver dollar was resumed. The Morgan dollar design, with some slight refinements, was employed until the new Peace design was adopted later in that year.” (Yeoman, 219-220)

Value: $20 – $575,000

Peace Dollars (1921-1935)


Peace Dollar

“The dollars of new design issued from December 1921 through 1935 was a commemorative peace coin. The Peace dollar was issued without congressional sanction, under the terms of the Pittman Act, which referred to the bullion and in no way affected the design. Anthony de Francisci, a medalist, designed this dollar. His monogram is located in the field of the coin under the neck of Liberty.

This new Peace dollar was placed in circulation on January 3, 1922; 1,000,473 pieces had been struck in December 1921.

The high relief of the 1921 design was found impractical for coinage and was modified to low or shallow relief in 1922, after 35,401 coins had been made and most of them melted at the mint. The rare Matte and Satin Finish Proofs of 1922 are of both the high-relief style of 921 and the normal-relief style.

Legislation dated August 3, 1964, authorized the coinage of 45 million silver dollars, and 316,076 dollars of the Peace design dated 1964 were struck at the Denver Mint in 1965. Plans for completing this coinage were subsequently abandoned and all of these coins were melted. None were preserved or released for circulation.” (Yeoman, 224)

Value: $18 – $100,000

Eisenhower Dollars (1971-1978)


Eisenhower Dollar

“Honoring both President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the first landing of man on the moon, this design is the work of Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro, whose initials are on the truncation and below the eagle. The reverse is an adaptation of the official Apollo 11 insignia. Collectors’ coins were struck in 40% silver composition, and the circulation issue in copper-nickel.” (Yeoman, 225)

Value: $2 – $40 (Most Eisenhower dollars you find in circulation will be copper clad, not silver.)


Yeoman, R.S. The Official Red Book – A Guide Book Of United States Coins. Atlanta: Whitman Publishing, 2010.

Filed in: Informative, Tutorial


How Much Is A Silver Dollar Worth?

The value of a silver dollar depends on several factors, including:

  • its age;
  • its condition;
  • its origins; and
  • whether or not it's an unusual variety or error coin.

While the values of your specific silver dollars can only really be determined by a sight-seen evaluation by a professional coin dealer, you can at least become more educated about what your silver dollars may be worth by knowing some of the basics about them and how these coins are numismatically valued.

Peace dollar

Peace dollar

P.S. -- Want to listen to this post?

What Type of Silver Dollar Do You Have?

This is one of the most important questions you need to answer before you can even begin to have a grasp on what your coins are worth. It will save you money next time you decide to sell or buy silver dollars.

As many numismatists know, there isn’t “a” single type of silver dollar, but in fact many types. Here’s a rundown on the various major types of silver dollars that have been struck since the United States Mint began making them in 1794:

Flowing Hair Dollar (1794–95)

Value: $1,787–$1,555,005

Draped Bust Dollar (1795–1804)

Value: $1,537–$1,238,926

Gobrecht Dollar (1836–1839)

Value: $12,895–$73,561

Liberty Seated Dollar (1840–1873)

Value: $267–$73,563

Trade Dollar (1873–1885)

Value: $106–$31,507

Morgan Dollar (1878–1921)

Value: $22–$614,348

Peace Dollar (1921–1935)

Value: $24–$130,940

Eisenhower Dollar (1971–1978)

Value: $1–$104

Commemorative Dollars (1983–present)


Note: Commemorative silver dollar coins come in a variety of designs. Image source: CoinUpdate

Value: $20–$400

American Silver Eagle One Dollar (1986–present)

Value: $25–$3,443

Chances are, if you have any silver dollars, they’re probably among the last five on this list.

While those last five types are the most common of all silver dollars, that doesn’t mean if you have any of those that they are not worth anything. In fact, all dollar coins containing silver are worth multiples over their face value. But by how much? Read on!

Four Keys to Silver Dollar Values

There’s a lot more to determining the value of a silver dollar than simply looking up the date online at a few websites or eBay and simply assuming yours is worth the highest—or lowest—price. There are several important factors to determining how much your silver dollar is worth. These include:

  • The date – Yes, the date is an important factor in knowing how much your silver dollar is worth. But it's not the only thing to look for. . .
  • Its mintmark – Where the coin was minted makes or breaks everything about the value of your silver dollar, and the mintmark indicates the coin's origin.
  • Errors and varieties – Does your coin look unusual? It may be due to an error or neat die variety, and these can be worth big bucks.
  • The grade & overall condition – An uncirculated silver dollar never used as money will be worth much more than one of the same date and mintmark combination that is nearly worn smooth. Don't forget, cleaned or otherwise damaged silver dollars are worth only a fraction of the values you see in the books or online.

Getting the Date

Look on your silver dollar. . . You’ll find the date on the obverse, or “head’s side,” of the coin.

While it may make sense to some to think that the older dates are worth more than more recent dates, this isn’t always true. Yes, the 1804 dollar brings millions, but not necessarily because it’s old. Rather, it’s because just 15 were minted and therefore are quite rare.

Some dates have higher numbers of survivors than others. The relatively high-mintage 1879 Philadelphia Mint Morgan dollar is worth perhaps $15 to $30 in well-circulated grades, while the low-mintage 1928 Philly-minted Peace dollar can take $200 or more in the same condition. Value really has nothing to do with relative age—it’s about the rarity of the date.

Bottom Line:
The date on a silver dollar is important because it will generally tell you how rare the coin is.


Sometimes, folks who don’t really know what to look for on silver dollars will understandably examine the date alone and say they have “the” so-and-such date silver dollar. The problem is there is another major equation to identifying a silver dollar, and it’s not just looking at the date but also the mintmark, if any is on the coin, indicating where that silver dollar was made.

S mintmark on 1973-S Ike dollar

Close-up of the 'S' mintmark below the neck on a 1973-S Ike dollar

Before the 1840s, all silver dollars were minted at the Philadelphia Mint and did not have mintmarks—a single letter or sometimes two letters indicating where the coin was made.

Silver dollars have been made at the following mints:

  • Carson City – Denoted by a "CC"
  • Denver – Indicated by a "D"
  • New Orleans – Bearing the single letter "O"
  • Philadelphia – No mintmark on dollar coins until 1979, when the "P" mintmark was used
  • San Francisco – Carries an "S" mintmark
  • West Point – Accompanied by a "W" mintmark

Every type of silver dollar will have the mintmark in a different place, but generally on all silver dollars made before the Eisenhower dollar it appears on the reverse (“tail’s side”). On Eisenhower dollars and other dollar coins made since, it will be found on the obverse—with the exception of some modern small-size golden dollars, on which the mintmark sometimes appears on the edge of the coin.

Bottom Line:
The mintmark tells us where a silver dollar coin was made. This can have an impact on the coin's value.

Errors and Varieties

Before you go bananas looking for coins that have unusual markings or other odd things about them, bear this in mind: many, if not most, things often thought by non-expert numismatists to be errors or varieties are simply post-mint damage.

It’s surely understandable to get excited about weird dents, strange-looking gouges, or even odd markings (such as Masonic symbols) on your coins, but these are virtually always caused by someone or something outside the mint and in most cases will reduce the value of the coin, not increase it.

There are, however, many types of errors and die varieties that can increase the value of your silver dollars and it would behoove you to research these and learn how to spot them on your coins.

Bottom Line:
You should do research about a coin in order to determine if it is an error coin or a rare variety.

The Grade & Overall Condition

New collectors, here’s your first piece of advice on anything having to do with the condition of your coins: do not clean them under any circumstances! Cleaning your coins will not make them look any better and, unless done by a professional coin conservation firm, will always reduce its value—perhaps by 50% or even more.

Coin dealers and seasoned numismatists prefer their coins original, not cleaned, in part because cleaning your coins removes all of the acquired patina and even a very thin layer of metal that can never be repaired or restored. So, be sure to leave your coins as you found them!

Peace Dollar reverse designed by Anthony de Francisci

Peace Dollar (reverse)

There are many other aspects of a coin’s condition that are important to know as you determine the value of your silver dollar, including its wear-based grade.

Coin grading is a very complex area of numismatics, one that takes years to really learn and understand like the back of your hands. It surely can’t be taught here in a couple paragraphs.

But, what’s important to know is that coins are graded on a 70-point scale, with “1” indicating a coin in poor condition—worn nearly smooth—and “70” denoting a coin that’s never been spent as money and is virtually perfect, with no visible nicks, scratches, or other marks.

A coin that’s never been spent as money and has all of its details intact is known to be in uncirculated grade, and this is generally the most valuable condition in which a coin is found. Grading coins based on the amount of wear is a nuanced part of numismatic knowledge and something with which you should familiarize yourself.

Bottom Line:
The more wear and tear on a coin, the lower its grade. Don't attempt to clean a coin yourself.

So, How Much Is a Silver Dollar Worth?

That’s the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question, isn’t it?

There are so many value guides both online and in print, it can sometimes be confusing to figure out precisely how much your coin is worth. Sure, you may have seen that a 1922 silver dollar much like yours sold for $3,000 on eBay, but is that what yours is worth?

Maybe you recently saw a story about the 1804 silver dollar going for millions of dollars. . . So, if that coin took $5 million, does that mean your old silver dollars from the 1880s or 1890s are worth, say, a tenth of that amount because they’re not quite as old? The older the silver dollar, the more it’s worth—right?

These are all legitimate questions, especially for someone who may be completely unaware of the intricacies of the complex and ever-changing coin marketplace.

Bottom Line:
The marketplace for coins is always changing. The value of a silver dollar depends on many factors.

1893-S MS Morgan

1893-S Morgan dollar

Morgan and Peace Dollars

If you own any common Morgan or Peace silver dollars that are in worn condition, these are usually worth very close to the current price of an ounce of silver. Rarities or those in exceptionally good condition can be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

If any of your Morgan dollars bear a “CC” mintmark under the eagle on the reverse, then they’re worth at least $50 to $100 each, maybe more. And while all 1921 Morgan dollars are common, the 1921 Peace dollar is scarce, with most worth at least $50 or more.

Again, there are many circumstances like these in which one or two variations between coins of the same date can mean a piece that might buy you lunch versus one that will help pay off your mortgage.

Bottom Line:
The mintmark and condition of a Morgan silver dollar or Peace silver dollar will determine how much it is worth.

Eisenhower Dollars

Got a bunch of Eisenhower silver dollars you want to sell? Unfortunately, most Eisenhower dollars aren’t even silver at all but rather made from a base-metal composition containing copper and nickel. When worn, these are worth only face value, so it’s safe to simply spend them or maybe give them to some children who might find these large dollar coins fascinating novelties.

Aside from extremely rare errors, all Eisenhower dollars with silver must contain an “S” mintmark, and even then only a portion of those are actually made from silver. Unless you know your Eisenhower silver dollars well, you may want to take your S-mint Eisenhower dollars to a numismatic professional who can tell you which are made from a silver composition.

Bottom Line:
All Eisenhower dollars made of silver will have an "S" mintmark; BUT not all Eisenhower dollars with an "S" mintmark will be made of silver.

Other Dollar Coins

Have any Susan B. Anthony dollars (seen above)? Virtually all that are worn are worth only face value, so it’s generally safe to spend those, too.

And those “golden” dollars (seen below) aren’t made from gold, nor are they rare. They can be spent along with your worn Susan B. Anthony dollars and Eisenhower dollars.

The American Silver Eagle dollars contain a full ounce of silver and are worth roughly the current value of one ounce of silver; these are worth selling if you wish to let go of the ones you have.

For a better idea of what Silver Eagles are worth, view the product listings on our American Silver Eagles category page.

All commemorative silver dollars made since 1983 contain very close to an ounce of silver and are also worth selling if you don’t wish to keep them.

Have any of the really old silver dollars listed above, such as the Flowing Hair, Draped Bust, Gobrecht, Liberty Seated, or Trade dollars? These coins are worth significantly more than most Morgan or Peace dollars and are worthy of taking to your local coin dealer so you can find out what those specific pieces are worth.

Bottom Line:
There have been many different dollar coins throughout American history. Be sure you know what kind you have before jumping to conclusions about its value.

Collecting Silver Dollars Can Become a Hobby

Whether your silver dollars are worth a little or a lot, hopefully they bring you joy and perhaps inspire you to collect more coins.

Even if you inherited your silver dollars from a loved one, perhaps your introduction to coins may inspire you to further build upon the collection you now have.

Coin collecting is a fantastic hobby that can be enjoyed for a lifetime, bringing you great financial and personal fulfillment along your numismatic journey.

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez is a journalist, editor, and blogger who has won multiple awards from the Numismatic Literary Guild. He has also authored numerous books, including works profiling the history of the United States Mint and United States coinage.

More from the author:

How Valuable Are Eisenhower Silver Dollars?

Silver Eagle Values - Complete Pricing Guide

Susan B. Anthony Dollar: Values and Series Rundown

What Is a Silver Certificate?

Silver Coins vs. Silver Bars

Posted In: blog


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