Monday, February 06, 2006

American Silver Dollar

The American Silver Dollar is probably one of the most well known coins in the world. Much has been written about the history of the silver dollar and how it came to be.

Here we shall look at what silver dollars to search for and buy.

Although many millions of silver dollars have been minted since the late 1800s there have been times where production has been low or coins have been melted down and the silver content reused. This occurred, for example in 1918 when the Pitman
Act legislated that silver coins be melted down
and converted to silver bars. This meant that 270 million Morgan dollars were melted down and there are now some rare dated coins as a result. In 1921 Morgan coins were again minted but replaced that year by the Peace Dollar making further Morgan Silver Coins of that date rare also.

In 1960, when the price of silver rapidly rose, more silver Morgan coins were melted and it has recently been estimated that only 17 or 18 percent of the total number of silver Morgan coins remain today.

Silver dollars often have a mint mark to indicate which mint they were struck.

All the silver dollars were minted at the following mints.
Philadelphia 1793-present - Flowing Hair, Capped Bust, Sitting Liberty, Trade, Morgan, Peace, Eisenhower, Silver Eagle (no mint mark or 'P')
New Orleans 1846-1904 - Sitting Liberty, Morgan ('O' mint mark)
Carson City 1870-1893 - Sitting Liberty, Trade, Morgan ('CC' mint mark)
San Francisco 1859-1992 - Sitting Liberty, Trade, Morgan, Peace, Eisenhower, Silver Eagle ('S' mint mark)
Denver 1921-1934 - Morgan, Peace ('D' mint mark)
West Point 1995, 2001-present - Silver Eagle ('W' mint mark)
The most popular collectable silver dollars are the Morgan 1878-1921, Peace 1921-1935, and Silver Eagles 1986-present.

When looking for silver dollars there are a few important dates to look out for. These coins command the best prices and have the most value.
Carson City 1889 and 1893
New Orleans 1893, 1895, and 1903
San Francisco 1893, 1894, and 1895
Philadelphia 1893, 1894, 1895, 1899, 1921 and 1928
West Point 1995
Three of these coins that are particularly difficult to find and of high value are the 1893 'S', the 1895 'P' and the 1995 'W'. Of these, the 1895 'P' is rare enough to fetch an impressive eleven thousand US dollars in fine condition. A excellent quality condition 1893 'S', if you ever find one, is worth around $250,000. big money for any collector.

This is an area of coin collecting that demands a lot of study. The rewards, however, of collecting rare silver dollar coins can be most satisfying!

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