Morgan Silver Dollar Values: The Key Is The Mint Mark
by: Christina Goldman
Having a Morgan silver dollar is to possess a coin with a history that can be traced back more than 100 years as this popular collector's item started circulating in 1878. A handful mints across the US produced this silver coin until 1904, with a one-year edition issued in 1921. Morgan Silver Dollar values today are more or less so based on where the coin was minted. Those that came out from the Carson City, Nevada, mint would be more valued because the mintages there were usually low.
The coin's tails side featuring the bald eagle contains the code on the mint source, and hence provide the hint at the Morgan Silver Dollar Values. The letter codes are between the letters "D" and "O" in "DOLLAR". The mintmark "P" would indicate the Philadelphia Mint in Pennsylvania, "CC" for Carson City mint, "D" for the Denver, Colorado mint, "O" for coins from New Orleans, Louisiana, and "S" for those of San Francisco, California, make.
These coins were minted with the passage of the Bland-Allison Act in 1878 requiring US Treasury purchase of silver for general circulation as dollars. The initial coin issues were named after George T. Morgan, then the US Mint's designer, who rendered Lady Liberty on the obverse side bearing his monogram. The silver content of this coin totals 0.77344 troy ounces or 24.057 grams with .900 fineness. The Philadelphia mint exclusively produced all proofs of the Morgan silver dollar, although there are also 1921 proof coins known to have come from the San Francisco mint.
The many varieties of these coins has been included in an extensive research undertaken and published by Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Allis about 50 years ago to establish the variations in the dies used to mint US silver dollars. This led to having the Morgan Silver Dollar Values indicated in its variety classified under the so-called VAMs (for Van Allen-Mallis).