For decades, the Morgan Silver Dollar has remained a massively popular investment-grade coin due to its exquisite design, rich history, and scarcity. These numismatic coins were minted to the tune of more than 650 million over the years which is why the majority of surviving versions never made it into circulation. All investments require research, but these uncirculated Morgan Dollars demand a bit more scrutiny owing to their unique history and scale of production.
What are uncirculated Morgan Dollars?
Uncirculated Morgan Silver Dollars are those coins that remain in exceptional condition because they never entered the money supply. They’re free of any nicks, scrapes, and blemishes indicative of normal wear and tear. The term “uncirculated” is the highest classification of the standard coin grading system used to determine a coin’s overall quality. There are uncirculated Morgan Dollars from various years of minting, although some are rarer than others. In contrast, circulated versions of the Morgan Dollar were used in day-to-day transactions which is why these coins are usually in worse condition.
The History of Uncirculated Morgan Dollars
The production of Morgan Silver Dollars kicked off in 1878 which proved to be a highly active year for mints across the US. Within just a few months, more Morgan Dollars had been produced than all other US silver coins combined up to that point. Even after producing 20 million Morgan Dollars, the mints kept their foot on the gas. The combination of federal mandates requiring further coin production and a steady stream of silver flooding the mints resulted in a years-long boom in production.
The sheer quantity of coinage was more than commerce could absorb which led to hundreds of millions of uncirculated Morgan Silver Dollars being stored across the country. Fast-forward to today where an abundance of pristine Morgan Dollars are available to investors. Because these coins were placed in vaults immediately after minting, a large portion remained in uncirculated condition.
What percentage of Morgan Dollars are uncirculated?
According to US Mint estimates, around 657 million Morgan Dollars have been produced. That includes circulated and uncirculated versions. Under the 1918 Pittman Act, a whopping 272,232,722 Morgan Dollars were melted. Together, PCGS & NGC estimate there being 7,801,918 uncirculated Morgan Dollars today which represents around 2% of surviving coins.
The Value of Uncirculated Morgan Dollars
Despite the intriguing backstory and impressive coin grades, most uncirculated Morgan Dollars are only worth their weight in silver. The combination of tremendous production volume and immediate storage in secure vaults has resulted in a plethora of surviving uncirculated versions. However, some sellers will intentionally hike up the perceived value of these coins to convince investors to spend more than their worth. The truth about modern, graded bullion coins is that high grades alone don’t give coins value beyond their purity rating.
Factors That Determine an Uncirculated Coin’s Value
It’s important to note that a high coin grade doesn’t automatically confer a high value. While some have sold for $900,000 (more on this later), the overwhelming majority of uncirculated Morgan Silver Dollars are only worth their melt value. Understanding what contributes to an uncirculated coin’s value can lead to wiser investment decisions. Various factors beyond quality impact a coin’s final sale price such as:
The scarcity of a coin can significantly increase its value as supply pales in comparison to demand. For example, if only a few uncirculated versions of a particular coin exist, it stands to reason that concentrated demand from investors will drive up prices. On the other hand, as is the case with uncirculated Morgan dollars, widespread availability can reduce demand which ultimately decreases prices.
Coin collectors often placed a premium on the age of uncirculated coins because of their historical significance and numismatic appeal. As a result, older coins generally fetch higher values than their newer counterparts. This is especially true for coins in pristine condition considering their age makes it harder to find versions in an uncirculated state.
The mint location of an uncirculated Morgan Silver Dollar can drastically impact the coin’s value. Although this historic coin was produced at four US mints, coinage from some mint locations receives higher demand. For example, a pristine Morgan Dollar produced at the historic Carson City Mint sold for just under $900,000. Typically, Morgan Dollars bearing the iconic “CC” mintmark drive higher prices.
Note: This doesn’t apply to 2021 Morgan Silver Dollars some of which feature a commemorative “CC” mint mark despite not actually being produced at the Carson City mint.
How can you tell if a Morgan Silver Dollar is uncirculated?
The only surefire way to determine if you have an uncirculated Morgan Dollar is to have your coin professionally graded by a reputable provider such as PSCG or NGC. However, there are some indicators that might suggest you have a Morgan Dollar worth getting graded.
The design elements on uncirculated coins are defined and clear which indicates a clean and precise strike during the minting process. Any loss in detail on the obverse or reverse side of a Morgan Silver Dollar immediately disqualifies it from this high rating.
It’s standard for uncirculated coins to have a radiant sheen caused by light hitting the surface. As you turn the coin around, keep an eye out for a “cartwheel” effect of colors. Dull surfaces generally mean the coin has seen circulation.
If you can dig up the history of a coin, you might be able to gain a better understanding of its potential condition. Morgan Silver Dollars that come directly from a US mint or from uncirculated hoards have a good chance of maintaining uncirculated condition.
Are uncirculated Morgan Dollars a good investment?
It depends on your unique investment goals. If you’re looking for a secure and stable asset that’s resistant to economic instability, an uncirculated Morgan Dollar can be a good choice. These coins have a proven track record of success when held for long periods of time. If you’d like to learn more about investing in these iconic coins, contact a precious metals advisor at SBC Gold by calling toll-free at 888-812-9892 or through our live chat function.