Considering today’s silver dollar value, it is no wonder so many coin collectors are hunting these precious coins. Their excellent minimum value, along with their iconic design, coin condition, and top-quality silver, greatly interests enthusiasts.
Even though today’s current silver bullion value is around $18, you can expect to get much more money for the precious coins you own. The 1881 Morgan silver dollar value is always higher compared to other similar pieces, considering the significant American history they carry.
Long story short, the 1881 Morgan silver dollar value ranges from $17.91 to $19.02 for the most circulated specimens. Therefore, expect those coins in excellent condition and rare varieties to be worth much more.
If you are interested in adding them to your collection, we will help you to learn how to estimate their value, starting by checking their surfaces, mint marks, and condition.
1881 Morgan Silver Dollar History
The Morgan dollar is an American coin minted from 1878 to 1904. As a matter of fact, this coin type was the first ever typical silver dollar minted after the Coinage Act of 1873. The 1881 silver dollar is made of 90% pure silver, and the remaining 10% is copper.
As the name suggests, the coin inherited the name of its designer, George T. Morgan, who created the designs for both the obverse and reverse of the silver dollars. While the obverse depicts the profile of Lady Liberty, modelled by school teacher Anna Willess Williams, the reverse displays an eagle with its outstretched wings.
Mint Mark Specifications
The mint mark is engraved on the reverse, between the D and O letters in “Dollar.” There were four mints that produced Morgan Silver dollars during 1881 including San Francisco, Philadelphia, Carson City, and New Orleans.
The total weight of one coin is 26.73 grams and the diameter measures 38.1 mm. The edges are reeded. Here is an overview of the mintage and “average” value of 1881 silver dollars…
|Location||Year||Mintage (number of coins minted)||Value|
|Philadelphia||1881||Over 9 million pieces||$35|
|Philadelphia||1881 proof||984 pieces||$500|
|San Francisco||1881 S||Over 12 million pieces||$35|
|New Orleans||1881 O||Over 5.5 million pieces||$35|
|Carson City||1881 CC||Almost 300 thousand pieces||$3,250|
All the values mentioned above are purely intended as a guide and are correct at the time of writing. These prices can vary based on condition, rarity, mint marks, provenance, and supply and demand.
The 1881 Silver Dollar Value
The value of 1881 silver dollars varies based on several factors (check out a great example of this coin here!). Keep reading to know how to check the value of your precious coins…
Thanks to their historical value, you can usually expect to get at least $30 for an 1881 silver dollar. However, this price can change based on their condition. Expect a silver dollar in excellent condition to be worth more than one in good condition. By judging the different stages of wear, you will be able to guess their price in the first instance. Professional grading may be needed to accurately grade your coins and receive the right price for them at auction. Grading services are available online or through specialist dealers – ensure you choose a reputable service and bear in mind that these services will cost.
Uncirculated 1881 Silver Dollars
1881 silver dollars in uncirculated condition are among the most precious ones. These specimens have never been in circulation; therefore, they have almost no sign of wear and retain the original luster of brand-new coins.
Expect these coins to have the natural bright toning that appears on well-preserved silver coins. Look closer to find delicate signs of abrasion that appear due to wear. These almost unseen flaws appear on the highest raised areas of Liberty’s cheek, right below the eye.
Extremely Fine Condition
1881 silver dollars in extremely fine condition have slight signs of wear limited to only at the most raised points. The loss of detail is minor, with the merging of little strands of hair noticeable above Liberty’s forehead and right below the cap.
The folds in the cap might also have tiny amounts of rubbing and loss of roundness. Despite this, the coin still has a pleasing sharpness and is appealing to the eye.
The specific features of the Liberty portrait, once distinct and quite sharp, are now slightly reduced, defining the “fine” condition of 1881 silver dollars. On the reverse, the leaves around the cotton blossoms may also lack all these fine details.
You may also notice many finer strands of hair combining into larger flattened areas. In a nutshell, this 1881 silver dollar may give the impression of wear. However, the flaws are not very visible.
Now, we can talk about noticeable flaws due to heavy wear that, in time, have reduced the sharpness entire design or a few of the elements. A silver dollar with significant wear signs is in good condition.
Over the years, wear has removed most details, leaving the word LIBERTY like an outline in shallow relief. The last remaining details are a few flattened hair curls, still visible behind the ear.
Things can change in terms of final value too. So expect an 1881 silver dollar in good condition to be closely tied to today’s silver value.
1881 Morgan Silver Dollar Types
1881 Morgan Silver Dollar With No Mint Mark
These coins are pretty common nowadays due to the fact that over 9 million of Morgan dollars were produced in Philadelphia during 1881. Therefore, expect to find lots of these coins in decent condition and pay less than $30 for them.
On the other hand, 1881 Morgan silver dollars with no mint mark in excellent condition are very attractive to coin collectors. A coin with MS 65 grade may value at around $800 as a rough guide.
The auction record for an 1881 Morgan silver dollar with no mint mark was $28,200 in 2018!
1881 Proof Morgan Silver Dollar
The Philadelphia mint produced only 984 proof Morgan silver dollars during 1881. Consequently, these proof versions are considered scarce, so you can expect these silver dollars to be quite expensive. Especially those with what is described as a “Deep Cameo” – the absolute auction record for a 1881-Proof Deep Cameo Morgan silver dollar was a stunning $105,000 in 2018!
A typical 1881-proof silver dollar in uncirculated condition can go up to around $3000 dollars, while the high-graded ones can be worth a small fortune.
The auction record for a regular 1881-proof Morgan silver dollar was $83,950 in 2005, while the record for an 1881-proof Cameo Morgan silver dollar was $46,000 in 2011!
1881 S Morgan Silver Dollar
Almost 13 million Morgan silver dollars were produced in the San Francisco mint. Consequently, expect to find many of these pieces on the market today. These coins should have a beautiful luster, as well as sharp strikes.
Technically speaking, a coin in a typical uncirculated state can value at thousands of dollars at auction. You may find some special pieces in MS 65 condition for more than $200. However, the auction record for an 1881-S Morgan silver dollar was $48,875 in 2009!
1881 O Morgan Silver Dollar
Due to the events during the Panic of 1873, and the following economic recovery, the demand for new currency greatly increased. Hence, the New Orleans mint had to raise its production of silver dollars. Nowadays, the value of 1881-O Morgan silver dollars depends on their condition, survival rate, and certifications.
Expect the average 1881-O Morgan silver dollar in good condition to cost less than $30. The auction record for an 1881-O Morgan silver dollar was $39,950 in 2015!
1881 CC Morgan Silver Dollar
Due to the local silver bullion shortage, the mint in Carson City was forced to produce only 296,000 Morgan silver dollars during the year 1881. The main issue was the transportation price; consequently, all the precious coinage was sent to San Francisco that year.
Despite this, you can find plenty of 1881-CC Morgan silver dollars, mainly because of the safe storage in Treasury Department vaults.
Since most 1881 CC Morgan Silver dollars have been kept in uncirculated condition (nearly 147,000 coins), you can find them most commonly in MS 66 state. They are much scarcer above this grade. 1881 CC Morgan silver dollars in fine condition may value around $450. However, the auction record for an 1881-CC Morgan silver dollar was $67,563 in 2015!
1881 Silver Dollar Value Chart
Check the table below to find more about the value of 1881 silver dollars, based on the condition and mint marks. Please note the prices are accurate at the time of writing, according to USA Coin Book.
|COIN QUALITY⬇\TYPE➜||1881 Silver Dollar
No mint mark
|1881 S Silver Dollar||1881 O Silver Dollar||1881 CC Silver dollar|
|Mint State 60||$63||$60||$60||$551|
|Mint State 65||$772||$200||$1,497||$1,010|
The values in the chart above are purely provided as a guide. They can vary based on factors like auction rules, sellers, coin particularities, rarity, and supply and demand. Ensure you conduct thorough research to get an accurate gauge of the value of a particular silver dollar.
1881 Silver Dollar Errors And Rarity
There is no particular error regarding the 1881 silver dollars. However, we can talk about rare pieces, like the Morgan-proof variety that were minted only in 984 pieces.
Since they were produced in such a small number, they are considered scarce nowadays, and passionate collectors are eager to get their hands on them. When these pieces include a Deep Cameo, particularly in mint state, you are lucky to own a genuine treasure.
This video provides more information about silver dollar rarity.
Q: Are 1881 silver dollars worth anything?
A: Not only do they have a beautiful design and high silver content, this coin has great historical value. You can always get at least $30 for an 1881 silver dollar in fine condition. If you are fortunate enough to own an 1881 CC Morgan Silver dollar in the same grade, you may get up to $450. Coins in uncirculated or mint condition and rare proof varieties are worth thousands of dollars.
Q: Does the mint mark affect the 1881 silver dollar’s value?
A: Yes. The type of mint mark can usually affect the final price you pay or ask for. However, there is no exact rule because each coin has its own particularities. In a few cases, a no-mint-mark error can increase the value of a coin. In general, 1881 silver dollars with CC or O mint marks will reach higher values.
Q: What is the rarest Morgan Silver Dollar?
A: If you want to own a real treasure, look for the 1895 Morgan silver dollar. Also popular as the “King of the Morgan Dollars”, this is by far the rarest and most valuable coin from the entire Morgan Dollar family.