Collecting coins has been a popular and exclusive hobby for centuries. All around the world, passionate collectors are hunting for the most spectacular and valuable coin types. People that have the hobby of collecting coins (called numismatics) usually gain an interest due to the rich history of the coins, the material, the grading system, and how well other collectors have preserved their money.
Let’s look at today’s topic – the 1880 Morgan silver dollar. This particular coin is a high-end silver variety, a coin most people want in their collection.
On average, a 1880 silver dollars will fetch around $180. However, the price depends greatly on the coin’s grading, condition and rarity. For instance, worn coins with damage will be worth only around $30.
Without further ado, let’s see what defines the final price of an 1880 Morgan silver dollar and how you can evaluate these silver coins yourself.
Morgan Silver Dollar History
By the end of the 19th century, the US economy had fallen dangerously. During the Depression, the money commonly used was Spanish Pieces of Eight. The government addressed the issue by introducing a new currency. This economic move was a strategical one, as the government wanted to boost the economy through encouraging people to spend more using the new coin.
Shortly after an historical moment called the Bland-Allison Act (1878), the US Treasury bought huge amounts of silver (equivalent to around $2 million to $4 million USD at the time) and began minting brand new US dollars. At one point, the process stopped due to low stocks of silver. However, the government restarted minting the coins again in 1921. As you can imagine, it was nearly impossible for a single mint to strike all the silver coins by itself.
Consequently, multiple mints around the US started to produce these coins. This decision affected the silver dollar’s values and characteristics as well. Here is a chart displaying the number of Morgan Silver dollars minted (mintage) in different parts of the country, as well as their equivalent value today:
|Mint Location||Mint Mark||Mintage||Value|
|Philadelphia||1880||More than 2 million||$23.4|
|San Francisco||1880S||Almost 9 million||$23|
|New Orleans||1880 O||5,3 million pieces||$24.85|
|Carson City||1880 CC||495,000 pieces||$98|
1880 Morgan Silver Dollar Design and Characteristics
Regarding the design, you should know that it was George T Morgan, the mint engraver, who designed the silver dollar.
Although the coins were minted in different parts of the country, there are still some similar characteristics in every 1880 Morgan Silver dollar:
- The face value of 1880 Morgan dollars is $1
- The weight of one coin is 26.73 grams
- All the coins are made of silver, and copper (90% and 10% respectively)
- The coins are 38.1 mm in diameter, and 2.4 mm thick
The obverse design includes the Lady Liberty portrait facing left. Right below the neck, the date is written, while the words E PLURIBUS UNUNM are engraved above Liberty’s head.
The Reverse Side
The reverse side displays an eagle with its wings open and an olive branch around it. You can also read ONE DOLLAR, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, around the edges of the coin, and IN GOD WE TRUST between the eagle’s wings.
Most coins have a mint mark engraved under the wreath on the coin’s reverse side. If you are wondering what the meaning of the mint mark is, you should know that the letter/s stands for the mint that produced the specific coin.
The Main Types Of 1880 Morgan Silver Dollars
Considering all mints produced different amounts of coins during the same year, you can expect their value to be distinct from one another. Therefore, it would be wise to know how to recognize the four main types of 1880 Morgan silver dollars.
1880 Morgan Silver Dollar Without Mint Mark
The 1880 Morgan silver dollar with no mint were produced in almost 28 million units. As you might expect, this relatively small number of coins produced has affected the coin’s value, making them more precious than other specimens. The auction record for a standard 1880 Morgan silver dollar with no mint mark was $27,917 in 2006!
However, it is actually a minting error that makes the 1880 Morgan dollar even more desirable. This characteristic was made on purpose so the government could save some money. Since it was too expensive to produce new coins for the following year, all mints overprinted a number of 1879 Morgan silver dollars with 1880.
Identifying these coins is quite easy. You just have to look at the last two digits that indicate the minting year. What you need to see is a 7 beneath the second 8 and a 9 under the 0 . These traces are usually easy to notice and give the error coin the name 1880 $1 8/7 Overdate.
This specimen is highly collectible and represents a small part of American history.
The 1880 S Morgan Silver Dollar
Even though the San Francisco mint has produced over 8 million 1880 silver dollars, most of them are now gone or in awful condition. Their survival rate was lower than any other minted 1880 silver dollars, as the silver price in the day influenced the production rate.
Therefore, you can buy an 1880 S Morgan Silver dollar for under $30. But that is only if the coin is still in good condition. Nevertheless, the auction record for this variety of 1880-S silver dollar was $162,000 in 2020!
Be Aware! The 1880 S Silver Dollar is one of the most faked American coins.
So double-check the selling source, like the certified online auctions.
1880 O Morgan Silver Dollar
The New Orleans mint produced over 5 million pieces of Morgan Silver Dollars. 1880 O Morgan dollars in MS 65 grade are rare and more challenging to find.
If they have a high usage level, passionate collectors may find coins worth under $30. But this is not a general case. On the other hand, the MS 65 coins that are in good condition can go up to $22,000.
Interesting fact! The auction record for an 1880-O Morgan Silver Dollar reached $41,125 in 2014.
1880 CC Morgan Silver Dollar
Last but not least, the 1880 CC Morgan silver dollar is maybe the easiest one to find on the market, considering there are 13 different types of 1880 CC Morgan silver dollars. There were around 495,000 CC Morgan coins minted in 1880, maybe one of them can be yours?
A set of 1880 CC silver dollars will cost you less than $15,000. However, be aware that the final price depends greatly on the coin’s condition. For instance, if an 1880 CC Morgan silver dollar is in good condition it may go up to $159. Furthermore, you should expect to get $1300 for an MS 65 1880 Morgan silver dollar.
The auction record for a 1880-CC Morgan silver dollar was $47,000 in 2012!
1880 Morgan Silver Dollar Value
If you are an experienced coin collector or a novice when it comes to numismatics, you should know that the final value depends a lot on the coin’s grade and condition. The well-preserved silver dollars are much more valuable than those that have been used and passed through millions of hands.
The uncirculated coins are the most desirable ones. The reason for that is their often mint condition and their flawlessness.
Lastly, when talking about fine 1880 Morgan Silver Dollars, the Liberty’s hair must be strongly prominent with all details easily distinguishable. Let’s understand the grading system a little better, and how it influences the final value of an antique coin.
Very Fine Condition
1880 Morgan silver dollars in very fine condition are easy to spot, based on the prominence of the detail on Lady Liberty’s hair lines. If you don’t know where to start, look above her forehead as there the hair lines have to be very sharp without wear.
Extremely Fine Condition
1880 Morgan silver dollar in excellent condition is easy to spot due to the Liberty’s strong hair lines and ear mark. Look for sharp details, even crisper than coins in very fine condition.
MS 60 (Uncirculated Condition)
The MS 60 silver dollars should show no signs of wear and tear. On the contrary, the coin should have a strong luster and quite a shiny surface. However, some MS 60 Morgan Silver Dollars can have abrasions, stains, and even some surface marks.
MS 65 (Uncirculated state)
MS 65 Silver Dollars is appealing to the eye and has a strong luster. The easiest way to spot this type of coin is light contact marks that are often barely noticeable.
PR 63 proof
These beautiful silver coins have a shiny surface with reflective spots. Depending on their storage, some coins may have a few blemishes away from the essential focal points. Expect to find no major flaws.
1880 Morgan Silver Dollar Value Chart
|COIN TYPE⬇\QUALITY➜||Good||Very Good||Fine||Very Fine||Extra Fine||About Uncirculated||M60||M65||Proof 63|
Important Note! Please be aware that these values are correct at the time of writing and should be used only as a rough guide. To ensure you find accurate prices, we recommend checking the current auction values. eBay is an excellent source to find unique and rare 1880 Morgan silver dollars, like this one.
Morgan Silver Dollars Melting Process
In 1918, according to the Pittman Act, the Government ordered the melting of 350 million silver dollars. This tactic was meant to help Great Britain reverse their economic crisis and avoid bankruptcy and riots in India.
After the Big Melting, the US government sold silver to Britain for just $1 per 3,11 grams. However, the repercussions were huge, and the mass melting made these silver dollars much more difficult to find nowadays.
Consequently, the prices for Morgan silver dollars have risen over time, and these coins are harder and harder to find in collector circles.
Q: Where is the mint mark placed on the 1880 Morgan Silver Dollar?
A: When it comes to the 1880 O Morgan silver dollar, for instance, the “O” mint mark can be found right below the eagle.
Q: Where does the “King Of Collectors” name come from?
A: Maybe you have heard people talking about “King Of Collectors” when referring to the 1880 Morgan silver dollars. The name actually reflects the rarity and high value of the entire Morgan Dollar series.
Q: What is the rarest ever silver dollar?
A: The “holy grail” of silver dollars is the 1794 Flowing Hair. Professional collectors believe this coin was the first-ever silver dollar struck by the USA. An example of this coin was bought in 2013 for the insane amount of $10 million!
Q: Is it worth collecting 1880 Morgan Silver Dollars?
A: You should consider collecting 1880 Morgan Silver Dollars for multiple reasons. First of all, they can be more affordable than other collectible coins. Secondly, they perform excellently in terms of rising market prices over time. And last but not least, they are a beautiful addition to a coin collection.