Morgan silver dollars are very popular among coin collectors, especially those in America. However, most of these coins are rare and a challenge to find and complete the collection at a reasonable cost.
The regular 1886 silver dollar with no mint mark has a value of around $42 when in excellent condition. On the other hand, in very good condition, the value can increase. Not to mention the coins in MS 60 grade that may value around $60.
An unusual thing about these silver coins is the fact that their value can change dramatically based on their different classes. While they can be affordable in lower grades, the coins are often highly expensive if they go up to mint states.
We will tell you everything there is to know about 1886 silver dollars, from their history to their finest errors, design details, and price chart based on mint marks and quality.
Morgan Silver Dollar History
The master of the Morgan silver dollars’ design was George T. Morgan. He designed the Liberty bust on the obverse in the likeness of Anna Willess Williams, who was a school teacher from Philadelphia.
Like all other Morgan dollars, the 1886 dollar has a reeded edge, contains 90% silver, and is 38.1 mm in diameter. Here is everything to know about the 1886 silver dollar’s specifications:
- Type: Morgan Silver Dollar
- Year of production: 1886
- Face Value: $1.00
- Silver Weight: 0.77344 oz.
- Composition: 90% silver and 10% copper
- Total Weight: 26.73 grams
Three mints produced the Morgan Silver Dollars in 1886:
|Mint Location||Production Year & Version||Minted Quantity||“Average” Value|
|Philadelphia||1886||Almost 20 million pieces||$35|
|Philadelphia||1886 proof||Around 800 pieces||$3,000+|
|San Francisco||1886 S||750,000 pieces||$100+|
|New Orleans||1886 O||Over 10 million pieces||$35+|
|Total Amount||–||Almost 31,5 million pieces||–|
- All silver dollars with no mint marks that were minted in Philadelphia
- Proof dollars were also minted in Philadelphia
- Dollars with O mint mark are from New Orleans
- Dollars with S mint mark are from San Francisco
These three mints produced almost 31,5 million Morgan silver dollars during the year 1886. Even though most of the silver dollars in circulation were melted down according to the Pittman Act of 1918, the 1886 Morgen silver dollars are still some of the most common pieces you can find on the collectible coin market.
Interesting fact! The only proof coins were minted in Philadelphia. These are the rarest versions and the most expensive you can find at online auctions.
1886 Morgan Silver Dollar Design
The obverse side of the 1886 silver dollar exhibits the head of Lady Liberty facing left, with all the characteristics present in the classic Morgan dollar series. Liberty is wearing a Phrygian cap with a ribbon with the word LIBERTY inscribed onto it.
Another essential detail is the crown of wheat and cotton. These two crops were the nation’s most important agricultural assets during the 19th century. Inscribed on the upper half of the obverse side of the coin is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM, while the 1886 year is centered at the bottom. Last but not least, the “M” monogram marking the surname of the coin designer Morgan is present at the base of Liberty’s neck.
The reverse side of the 1886 Morgan silver dollar is dominated by the heraldic eagle, spreading its wings on the upper half. On the reverse side, you can see the IN GOD WE TRUST motto and the UNITED STATES inscription.
This video includes a thorough presentation of 1886 silver dollars.
1886 Silver Dollar Value: Features To Look For
A silver dollar in circulated condition should be worth at least the weight in silver. However, many other factors influence the final value. For instance, the visual appeal will add appreciation, rare errors will certainly raise the cost, while a stunning shine will be a great feature to increase the final price.
With such a diversity in appearance, many specialized collectors will look for different varieties and top grades of 1886 silver dollars for their collection.
Here are the factors that impact the 1886 Morgan silver dollar value:
One of the critical aspects collectors are looking for is the condition of their old coins. Determining the silver dollar’s condition is manageable only by closely looking at the surface with a magnifying glass and judging the damage and signs of wear.
Little flaws reflect the “grade” of these coins. Here is an overview of the subtle details that play a significant role in the final value…
Coins in an uncirculated state are considered premium, as they come with virtually no wear signs on their surfaces. The mint luster is still stunningly present. When rotating the coin by holding its edges, you should notice unbroken bands of shine radiating from one edge to another. Any possible sign of wear is most likely to appear on Liberty’s cheek.
Extremely Fine Condition
Silver dollars in extremely fine condition might have small details of wear on the locks of Lady Liberty’s hair. On the reverse side of the coin, you will notice visible signs of wear on the eagle’s wings, breast feathers, and neck.
In a nutshell, silver dollars in an excellent state will have very light marks of wear.
Morgan silver dollars in fine condition have moderate signs of wear on the leaves surrounding the cotton blossoms. You may also notice finer strands of Liberty’s hair with little signs of wear but no excessive flaws.
Morgan silver dollars in good condition have almost all the raised points of the design removed. For instance, the cheek and forehead of Lady Liberty are sometimes blended into one connecting surface. The rim is worn down. However, the stars and lettering are still visible and separated.
1886 Morgan Silver Dollar Types
Another critical feature influencing the final value of the 1886 Morgan silver dollars is their type which is dictated by the mint mark.
No Mint Mark 1886 Morgan Silver Dollars
All the 1886 Morgan silver dollars with no mint marks were produced in Philadelphia. Most come in good condition; nevertheless, some might have some flow lines when in a mint state as a result of die overuse.
As a consequence, the dull luster will affect the final value. Here is a nice specimen of this coin.
The auction record for a 1886 Morgan silver dollar with no mintmark was $27,025 in 2015!
1886 S Morgan Silver Dollar
These silver dollars produced in San Francisco were only struck in 750,000 pieces, making them the rarest variety. Most have an excellent appeal, with sharp strikes which makes them more more costly.
The auction record for a 1886-S Morgan silver dollar was an amazing $66,000 in 2020!
Keep in mind! Expect some collectors to pay thousands of dollars for a San Francisco Morgan silver dollar in uncirculated condition.
1886 O Morgan Silver Dollar
Silver dollars with an O mintmark are a genuine challenge to find, while those in mint state are considered a near impossibility! These coins were minted in New Orleans; however, a great quantity was melted down. Take a look at this precious Morgan silver dollar with an O mint mark.
The auction record for an 1886-O Morgan silver dollar was a whopping $235,000 in 2015!
1886 Proof Morgan Silver Dollar
The proof version of 1886 Morgan silver dollars were struck in the Philadelphia mint. These are very rare to find and hence can fetch a very high price. The auction record for an 1886 Proof Morgan silver dollar was $18,000 in 2021!
1886 Silver Dollar Value Chart
We have gathered the essential information about the 1886 silver dollar value in the following chart. Please bear in mind that these values are only intended as a guide and are correct at the time of writing according to the USA Coin Book. Coin values are subject to change depending on supply and demand, collector interest, condition, and rarity. Ensure you conduct thorough research on the particular coin you are looking to buy or sell including the grade, provenance, mintmark and rare features.
|COIN QUALITY⬇\TYPE➜||1886 Silver Dollar
No mint mark
|1886 S Silver Dollar||1886 O Silver Dollar|
|Mint State 60||$60||$396||$1,009|
|Mint State 65||$200||$3,415||$204,915|
While you can find most of these dollars on the market at affordable prices, others will have a tremendous jump in price, especially if they are in uncirculated condition or mint state. Have a look at this rare specimen.
1886 Silver Dollar Errors
One of the most significant errors regarding the 1886 silver dollars is the obverse die cap error. Viewed from a specific angle, the coin has this curved, high rim, which appears similar to an ashtray, and is by far the finest error. It appears as if the coin was struck 4-6 times. The reverse side shows an amplified head, facing right, and offset.
This die cap error appears if a coin gets stuck in the superior hammer die. When more and more coins are struck, the reverse becomes the new die face. Therefore, expect to see different impressions of the designs spreading across the planchet, giving the coin curled edges like a bowl.
Q: Where is the mint mark on 1886 silver dollars?
A: The mint mark (when it is present) appears on the reverse side of the silver dollar, above the word DOLLAR, between the D and O.
Q: How much does the mint mark affect the final value of a silver dollar?
A: Actually, there is no specific rule in this case, as each coin is different. For instance, the O mint mark can increase the value, but a no-mint mark error can increase the value in other examples even though the no mint mark dollars are the most common.
Q: How do I buy or sell silver dollars?
A: The easiest and most convenient way to sell and buy coins is by tracking down a trustworthy dealer.
These specialists will generally offer a wholesale price instead of retail ones. However, you might not have access to physical dealers; therefore, eBay is an excellent place to trade collection coins. Online auctions via trustworthy auction sites are also a wise method to find scarce coins.
Make sure you go for listings from reputable sellers with plenty of important details (or include these details in your own advert if selling coins). Ensure you conduct thorough research to find similar coins and pay the right amount (or set the right price) for your particular coin.