It is said that the best things in life are short-lived. Similarly, Morgan Silver Dollars do not come as any exception to being the best thing. The one-dollar coins lasted only from 1878 to 1904 and another year in 1921.
The beautifully designed silver coins have an enormous yet elegant size because of which it is also known as the “Cartwheel” or “King of America’s Coins.”
If you happen to own any silver dollars from these years, you might have hit the jackpot. Who knows, you might be sitting on a gold mine. A single 1884 Morgan Silver Dollar can be between $30.00 to $250.00 and can even fetch more in some instances.
1884 Morgan Silver Dollar Brief History
Before we discover more about the features, characteristics, and actual value of the 1884 Morgan Silver Dollar, let’s understand why the silver dollar came into being in the first place.
Before the silver dollar coins came into existence, silver was mined and delivered to mints for converting it into legal tenders. Those who extracted silver were free to collect as much as possible and send it down the supply chain. Soon, silver became too abundant, and it experienced what anything in such large quantity eventually would – a drastic fall in value.
Remember, this was also when more than 8,000 tons of silver were dumped on the open market by Germany – a unified country that had just adopted the gold standard. Consequently, the value of silver decreased to less than $1.29 per ounce.
So in 1873, the Coinage Act was enacted to control the supply of silver coins and demonetize silver bullions. Those with explicit silver mining interests also called the act the “The Crime of 1873”.
Naturally, the act paved the way for U.S. adoption of the gold standard by omitting silver dollars from coinage. Also, it ordered mints all over the country to halt silver dollar production.
Moreover, the act specifically stated the exact silver coins and respective weights to be struck in the future without mentioning silver dollar coins. Hence, the silver dollar coins were no longer legal tender.
This resulted in a huge uproar, particularly among people left with large heaps of worthless silver. As a result, the “Free Silver Movement” started, which resulted in the 1878’s Bland-Allison Act. In short, the act reintroduced silver coins as legal tender and made it mandatory for the U.S. treasury to purchase between $2,000,000 and $4,000,000 worth of silver bullion each month for minting silver dollar coins.
The time was perfect and most suitable for a new silver coin to come into existence. Enter Silver Morgan Dollar.
What Is The 1884 Morgan Silver Dollar?
1884 Morgan Silver Dollar coins were one of the silver dollar coins minted between 1878 to 1904, and 1921 by the United States of America.
Soon after the Bland-Allison Act (1878), the U.S. mint felt a dire need to renew the outdated Seated Liberty silver dollar coin of 1840. What better moment to recapitalize on its newly formed zeal for silver coins than this moment? As a result, an assistant engraver named George T. Morgan at the U.S. mint was tasked with creating a new design for the silver dollar coin.
It was Morgan who designed the complete profiles for new silver dollar coins, hence the name “Morgan Silver Dollars.”
Let’s look at the complete profile of 1884 Morgan Silver Dollar coins.
Designs – Classifications & Features
Highlights of 1884 Morgan Silver Dollar Coins
- Year: 1884
- Melt Value: $15.32
- Price: $30.00 – $250.00+
- Contents: Silver 90% (0.7735 oz.) & Copper 10%
- Face Value: $1 (USD)
- Minted at: Carson City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and New Orleans
- Mintage: 28,136,875
The 1884 Morgan Silver Dollar coin was originally struck in four mints – Philadelphia, Carson City, New Orleans, and San Francisco. The table below shows how the value of Morgan Dollars increases as the mintage figures go down. For instance, the 1884 silver dollars minted at Carson City (CC) have the highest value because the U.S. produced only approximately one million.
Besides rarity, the silver dollar coins can vary in real value depending on other factors, which we will discuss shortly in the post. But before that, let’s have a look at its main features.
Shape and Size
The 1884 Morgan Silver Dollar weighs 26.73 grams with a relatively (to other Peace Dollars) large diameter of 1.5 inches and thickness of 2.4 mm. Like other coins, the coin’s edges are reeded with tiny smooth grooves. Moreover, having a relatively larger size, it has also been called a “cartwheel.”
The Obverse Side
George T. Morgan had done an impeccable job designing the silver dollar coin by including a side-pose of a young woman named Anna Williams’ face as the face of “Lady Liberty.”
The lady Liberty can be seen on the obverse side of Morgan Dollars crowned with an elegant ribbon creatively inscribed with the word “LIBERTY .”The ribbon rests peacefully on lady liberty’s head with two cotton blossoms and wheat heads packed beneath it, representing America’s agriculture.
Just around the corners of the coin, you can see three other features – the year of striking, thirteen stars, and a Latin phrase.
The thirteen stars on the bottom half of Morgan Dollar’s Obverse face represent the original thirteen colonies during the American Revolution. While the top half of the coin’s corners include a Latin phrase reading “E Pluribus Unum,” meaning “one from many.” The term represents how many states have come together to form the United States of America.
The Reverse Side
The reverse side of the Morgan Silver Dollar shows an American Eagle stretching its wing to the corners of the coin while holding an olive branch in one talon and a couple of arrows in the other.
The American eagle represents America’s strength, and the olive branch and arrows show how peaceful the United States is. At the same time, it has all the capacity to defend itself if need be. The eagle stretches its wings while being within laurel wreath, representing a symbol of triumph.
The dollar coin has also been known as the “Buzzard Dollar” because the bird appears more like a buzzard than the American eagle.
The reverse side also has the American motto “In God We Trust” inscribed on the eagle’s head. And the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” rest on top of the slogan, while the bottom of the reverse side includes the words “ONE DOLLAR.”
Another essential thing to note on the reverse side of the Morgan Dollar is the mint mark between the middle of the laurel wreath and the words “ONE DOLLAR.”More specifically, you can see the mint marks just above the mid-point of the letters “D” and “O” of “ONE DOLLAR.”
As the 1884 Silver Morgan Dollar coins were minted at Philadelphia, Carson City, New Orleans, and San Francisco, each of the different branches of the U.S. mint have other mint marks.
For instance, the coins minted at Carson City have mint marks “CC,” New Orleans has “O” marked, San Francisco has “S” marked, while those minted at Philadelphia have no mint marks.
1884 Morgan Silver Dollar: Are They Valuable?
In short – yes. The 1884 Morgan Silver coin can fetch you a handsome amount between $30.00 to $250.00. Sometimes, the value can go up to more than $3,000. So the variation depends on some factors, primarily the overall grade or condition of the coin.
The table below summarizes the grades of coins with their respective values:
|Grade/Condition||Value in $ (USD)|
|Very Good V.G. (8)||31|
|Very Fine V.F. (20)||43|
|Extremely Fine E.F. (40)||46|
|About Uncirculated A.U. (50)||48|
|Brilliant Uncirculated MS(65)||403|
- Good: The condition “good’ on any silver dollar value has flattened lady liberty on its obverse side with minimal features. Moreover, the letters can also be seen flattened due to high wear. On the reverse side, however, relatively more features can be seen on the American eagle’s feathers just at the bottom of the coin close to the rim.
- Fine: The finer details can now be seen, including fine lines that show lady liberty’s hair just below the ribbon. Moreover, you can also see fine lines that separate the feathers on the eagle’s neck on the reverse side. However, stretched-out wings have yet to find any more detail as they are still flat. Overall if there is moderate wear on your coin, it can be safely assumed to be in a fine condition.
- Extremely Fine: Liberty’s ears and hair have more refined details. On the reverse side of the coin, feathers close to the breast, neck, and the wings’ corners become more evident with fine lines and marks. Overall, the extremely fine 1884 Morgan dollar will have light wear marks.
- Uncirculated: The coins that have never been circulated throughout the economy have no wear on their surface. The coin looks as new as it has just been minted. The only deficiency remains due to the luster that disappears from the coin. With refined luster, the silver dollar can be labeled as “uncirculated.”
1884 Silver Dollar Value Chart
Besides the coin’s condition, the 1884 Morgan Dollar coin can result in different values owing to its rarity. The mint marks show how much rare the coin is. For instance, 1884 dollars that were minted at Carson City with mint marks “CC” are regarded with high value by most collectors. This is because the U.S. treasury struck only a million of them that year.
In some rare cases, the 1884 Silver Dollars minted at San Francisco marked “S” have the highest value if available in uncirculated condition. For instance, an 1884 Silver Morgan Dollar with MS68 grade was auctioned at $750,000.00 in November 2020.
The table below summarizes 1884 Morgan dollar values against the minted locations:
|1884 Morgan Dollar Values|
|1884||$19.41 – $22.00||$19.41 – $22.00||$21.55 – 24.42||$39.49 – 44.74|
|1884 CC||$60.00 – $107.00||$76.00 – $126.00||$103.00 – $133.00||$159.00 – $276.00|
|1884 O||$20.61 – $23.35||$20.61 – $23.50||$22.58 – $25.58||$39.49 – $44.74|
|1884 S||$19.41 – $22.00||$22.58 – $25.80||$39.00 – 44.19||Rare|
Now that we know how the silver dollar’s value varies depending on multiple conditions, let’s look at some real cases to better understand the extent to which 1884 Morgan Silver Dollar’s value changes.
- 1884 No Mint Marks – Philadelphia: The lowest it was auctioned was around January, 1945. At that time, it was only priced at $6.00. However, currently, the Morgan Silver Dollar has been auctioned for a price of $66,000.00 in February, 2022.
- 1884 CC: Auctioned first in June, 1941, for just under $3.00., the same Silver Dollar was priced at $85,188 in January, 2015. Another Silver Dollar minted at Carson City in 1984 has been auctioned in January, 2009, for $184,000., while another has been priced at $163,850.00. This series of silver dollars has been fortunate enough to see a drastic rise in its value in a short period of time.
- 1884 O: This series of 1884 Silver Dollars has seen a dollar coin value at the lowest for just $2.00 in June, 1941. However, the same coin has gone up in value to $9,694.00 in May, 2019. The maximum value this category of silver coins has experienced is for the coin auctioned in February, 2005, for $31,625.00. graded at MS68.
- 1884 S: This series of Morgan Silver Dollars is known as one of the rarest series of all. The price for a single silver dollar graded MS61+ can vary from $13,500 to $900,000. Hence, this can be considered as one of the most volatile series. Another one can be seen priced at $950,000.00.
Besides the rare cases where Morgan Silver Dollars minted from specific locations attracted highest values, there are some other cases where the value of coin jumped just because of some marks that made them peculiar.
Let’s have a look at how the marks ended up increasing (or decreasing) value of 1884 Silver Morgan Dollar coins.
1884 Silver Dollars – Errors
Morgan Silver Dollars were formed through a process of striking hardened dies over metal blank sheets in a way so the mirror image of the desired pattern was left on the metal blank. At times, the dies left slight marks or created differences in the design owing to how the die was created or maintained.
Researchers have found these variations to help identify specific dies that created the differences in the first place. Almost half a century ago, detailed research was published by Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Mallis. The study centered on identifying and recording all the Silver Morgan Dollar errors according to die variety and mint marks.
The term VAM (an acronym for Van Allen – Mallis) is used to identify the errors left by die varieties.
Below we have identified the 1884 Silver Morgan Dollar VAMs:
- 1884-P VAM-3: Both sides of the coin include a large dot after the initials “m” of the engraver. Also, the obverse side shows the date aligned more to the right side. MS-63 grade coin was auctioned for $325.00 in January 2022.
- 1884-P VAM-4: Similar to VAM-3, a dot appears on both sides of the coin after the engraver’s initials. However, this time, the dot is relatively smaller than the one on VAM-3. Moreover, the position of the dot is also different. It was recently auctioned for $449.00 in May 2019.
- 1884-O VAM-6: The mint mark appears to be re-punched, doubling the “O.” The re-punched “O” seems to have moved toward the left and bottom, showing a curved shape on the left side of the original mint mark. An MS-66 grade VAM-6 coin was auctioned for $3,250 in May 2018. Another example of a the doubling error priced at $650.00.
Besides VAMs, there are other silver coins that are currently priced a bit higher than the original value just because of mint errors, including Reverse and Obverse Struck-thru errors. Both the errors are priced at $750.00 and $655.00, respectively.
Furthermore, a 15% struck off-center is also another valued 1884 Silver Morgan Dollar. A similar case graded at MS64+ can go up to $19,000. In this video, several errors can be identified that can fetch you a good amount for your silver dollar.
Having such distinct marks can multiply your coin’s worth. However, this doesn’t mean that every mark can only affect the value positively. Some marks are left due to wear and use of the coin. For instance, an 1884 Morgan Silver Coin (possibly graded at MS-58) shows a mild rub on its obverse side on the Lady Liberty’s cheeks. Such marks can have a negative impact on your silver coin’s worth.
How much value does an 1884 Morgan Silver Dollar have?
Morgan Silver Dollars have become popular, especially among collectors. The values of coins can vary according to the coin’s overall condition, the M.S. grade level, mint state, and any distinguishing marks or errors.
On average, the value of 1884 Morgan Silver Coins can fall anywhere between $30.00 to $250.00. However, the value can quickly reach six figures in certain rare cases.
Which is the most valuable 1884 Silver Morgan Dollar?
1884-S with a grade MS-60+ can fetch a good amount every time. 1884-S Morgan Silver Dollar with MS-68 has been auctioned at $900,000.00.
Moreover, 1884-CC with grade MS-68 is valued at $98,000.
Morgan Silver Dollars were minted only for a few decades. As a result, a limited amount of coins exist today. The Morgan Dollars are in high demand due to their popularity, high value, and unique designs.
Particularly, collectors have a keen eye for identifying if they see something of value just by looking at the coin. However, we have identified various characteristics and features for a layman to understand how to pick a Morgan Silver Dollar that can offer the best value.
The rarer the coin with better condition, the greater its value.