Earlier this year, we offered an unusual group of four-date MS66 Peace Dollar sets. These...
An Instant Collection of Morgan Dollars
The Morgan Silver Dollar is arguably the most popular item in American numismatics and it's been a while since we've offered a way to add them to your collection. These big, beautiful coins are historically intriguing and visually impressive. Holding one in your hands evokes images of the Wild West, old-time saloons and gambling halls of a bygone era. Indeed, the Morgan Dollar owes its existence to Nevada mining interests – and the coin saw its heaviest use in the West. Whereas Americans on the East Coast were more likely to embrace the $1 paper note, Westerners preferred to hold real money in the form of Silver Dollars.
Today, we're offering 20-coin sets in multiple high grades. But why does the silver Morgan Dollar represent such a fascinating role in U.S. numismatics?
History, Value, Significance
For most of the 19th century, Silver Dollars saw limited use compared to other denominations. These hefty coins were deemed too cumbersome to carry around on a day-to-day basis. In fact, the Silver Dollar experienced a few major gaps in production: one from 1805-1835 and another from 1873-1877. Interestingly, during these Silver Dollar hiatuses, the U.S. Mint was belting out huge quantities of smaller silver coins. It’s not that there was a lack of demand for coinage in general; the public simply wanted more conveniently-sized money.
This all changed in the 1870s, when powerful Nevada mining interests began lobbying Congress. Enormous amounts of silver had been extracted from the earth and miners were looking for a place to sell the metal. Although the California Gold Rush might enjoy greater fame and notoriety, it could be argued that the discovery of silver in Nevada was an even more significant event. It created vast fortunes, employed more people, and affected a larger geographic region. Nevada’s silver output was absolutely massive during the mid-late 19th century. In fact, the state continues to produce the grey metal to this day.
In 1878, the Bland-Allison Act was passed by Congress. In essence, this piece of legislation required the U.S. government to acquire between 2,000,000 to 4,000,000 ounces of silver monthly. President Hayes actually vetoed the bill, but Congress pushed it through with huge majorities voting in factor of the legislation. Once the ink was dry on the new act, the U.S. Mint started working on a new Silver Dollar coin. The task fell to George T. Morgan, a young but talented engraver who was already experimenting with new motifs for America’s silver coins. Morgan’s pattern coins of 1877 and 1878 are beautiful and highly prized pieces; they’re among the most valuable of all silver pattern coins.
The subject matter of Morgan’s Silver Dollar design wasn’t groundbreaking, but it was superbly executed. Sticking with tradition, Morgan had a female figure of Liberty on the obverse and an outstretched eagle on the reverse. This general theme had existed since the 1790s, but Morgan’s rendition was extraordinarily beautiful. The coin shows exquisite and intricate design detail, especially with regard to Liberty’s flowing hair curls and the eagle’s feathers.
It’s not just the design that makes Morgan Dollars beautiful; one cannot ignore their booming luster too. Morgan’s design was superbly proportioned and formatted. As a result, most Uncirculated Morgan Dollars exhibit outstanding “cartwheel” luster. They have a type of radiant flash the likes of which is rarely seen on any other U.S. coin. This is especially true on San Francisco issues; dates like 1879-S and 1880-S are renowned for their intense booming luster.
After enormous production levels in 1921, the Morgan Dollar was discontinued. Giant stockpiles of the coin would remain for decades; the surplus was not fully depleted until the 1960s. Since then, however, the Morgan Dollar has become an avidly sought collectible.
However, the available supply of high-grade Morgans has dwindled considerably in recent years. This is especially true for coins graded MS63 or higher. Morgan Dollars are large, heavy coins that were usually stored in canvas bags. This resulted in the coins becoming heavily abraded and laden with contact marks. Most Uncirculated Morgans will only grade MS60-62; they become tougher to find above that range.
It’s important to mention that in 2011, when silver marched to nearly $50 an oz., high-grade Morgan Dollars spiked in value too. In just six months, the coin doubled in value thanks to intense interest in silver. Just as pre-1933 vintage gold coins appreciate when the spot price climbs, graded Silver Dollars do the same when silver rallies. During the 2011 bull market, a $20 jump in the price of silver resulted in MS63 Morgans surging by more than $50 per coin!
For maximum enjoyment and investment upside, we recommend owning a wide variety of Morgan dates. This is why we’re particularly excited about the present offering. We have secured a small quantity of MS63, MS64, and MS65 Morgan Dollar sets and every set contains a variety of mintmarks and dates. We can guarantee each set will contain at least one coin from Philadelphia, San Francisco, and New Orleans. These three facilities struck the lion’s share of Morgans over the decades – and all three will be represented in your collection. The ability to own 20 historic, high-grade, certified and storied Morgan Dollars at this price is truly remarkable.
- MS63 20-coin Morgan Dollar sets at just $2,099 set
- MS64 20-coin Morgan Dollar sets at just $2,399 set
- MS65 20-coin Morgan Dollar sets at just $4,299 set
- FREE shipping on all orders
Each coin is graded by PCGS or NGC and will have been picked by our numismatists for quality. In addition, each set will be delivered in a hard plastic slab box for easy storage and presentation. These coins are more than just a store of value – they’re fantastic conversation pieces and a pleasure to study. That’s why we want to include a convenient way to view and display your collection.
We have just ten of each of these Morgan sets available today in each grade, a total of thirty sets. Finding high-grade Morgans is a challenge in and of itself, but assembling 20-date sets is even tougher. Rarely, if ever, have we been able to offer so many vintage coins at such a low price point. If you’re interested in reserving one of these 20-date sets, we encourage you to reserve your coins early.