Due to their significant silver content, as well as their historical value, the 1888 silver dollars are a great starting point for collectors who are the beginning of the road. However, they are also valuable pieces for experienced ones. This coinage has excellent potential to increase its value, mainly because most Morgan dollars that have their origins between 1878 and 1904 were melted before going into circulation.
As you might already guess, the 1888 Morgan silver dollars are in high demand, especially those minted in San Francisco. On the other hand, if you are looking for pretty cheap specimens, 1888 silver dollars in mint condition are the best option. Only very few types of silver dollars from 1888 have the potential for a much higher value.
Luckily, you will get all the information you need to identify the value of each 1888 silver dollar based on their mint marks, condition, and rarity. Have a close look at the pictures, charts, and other essential data to improve your knowledge as a passionate collector of coinage.
The History of 1888 Silver Dollars
The history of 1888 silver dollars is strongly connected to two significant legislations in the US dating back to that era:
As the name suggests, the Morgan silver dollars took the name from their designer, George T. Morgan, the artist who had as a model for Lady Liberty a teacher from Philadelphia, called Anna Willess Williams.
The Morgan silver dollars were minted starting in 1879 to 1921. This was the most extended period in the US mint history for a coin to stay in circulation.
Although their generous silver content (90%) might indicate a high value, it is almost impossible to determine the actual price of an 1888 Morgan silver dollar without looking at its particularities. Unlike other coins, many factors influence the price you will have to pay for such a piece. So let’s discover all these features and understand their impact.
Determining The 1888 Morgan Silver Dollar Value
It’s pretty challenging to tell the value of an 1888 Morgan silver dollar without looking at the most critical factors that impact the price. The first one?
Mint Marks On 1888 Morgan Silver Dollars
There were almost 40 million Morgan silver dollars minted back in 1888. What this means is that these coins are quite common on the market today. The easiest way to recognize the three types of marks is by looking on the reverse side and checking where the coins were produced in:
- Philadelphia Mint (these coins have no mint mark)
- San Francisco (you can notice the S mint mark)
- New Orleans (the O mint mark is the first sign)
Remember! Always keep in mind that, besides the mint mark, the quality of these dollars is also crucial.
Therefore, you should look for the mint mark at the bottom of the coin’s reverse first of all and then check the possible flaws or errors that can influence the overall price.
Condition or The Quality Of 1888 Morgan Silver Dollars
Normally, there is no need to fight for 1888 Morgan silver dollars. Why? Because there are generous options on the market to choose from.
However, prices are different based on the grades of the coins. Expect those flawless silver dollars to reach impressive prices; thus, a passionate collector must know how to judge different stages of wear.
Ready? Let’s explain all of them:
An 1888 Morgan silver dollar in uncirculated condition should keep all the details in its original state. Therefore, none of these particularities should be missing due to constant wear. Nevertheless, you can expect to find some fine abrasions. That is because of direct contact with other coins, which is perfectly acceptable.
To confirm the uncirculated condition, I suggest you look at the luster and make sure it is present on the entire surface. Look at the chin in particular, but also at the highest parts of the coin. These areas usually have the first signs of wear and own the specific smooth texture of circulated coins.
Here is a beautiful example of an uncirculated 1888 Morgan silver dollar.
Extremely Fine Condition
In this situation, you may see tiny design removals, but not anything too noticeable. When in extremely fine condition, Morgan silver dollars may have the mint luster a bit gone, especially on the front of Liberty and her face areas.
Expect small details in her hair to miss as well; however, the most noticeable flaws appear on the neck and forehead. The secret is to look at the highest parts. In extra fine condition, the no mint mark Morgan Dollar can value almost $50.
Most of the fine details are now reduced, and you may notice clear signs of wear. This is what describes the silver dollar in “fine” condition. Multiple wear flaws are easy to see above and below the ear. Furthermore, you should expect some serious wide flat spots.
The fine lines are almost inexistent, while the leaves on the reverse are now very flat. Despite all these signs of wear, an 1888-S Morgan silver dollar in fine condition is rare and can cost more than $100. Just check for the “S” mintmark first.
Things change a bit when it comes to the 1888 Morgan silver dollars in only “good” condition. Expect to find lots of flat areas, as well as details separations missing out. Nevertheless, the ear is still visible, while the hair above it is smooth and connects to the cheek. The Liberty portrait is quite visible; yet, multiple details are now lost, like the cotton blossoms.
1888 Morgan Silver Dollar Value Chart
This chart will help you check the value of your 1888 Morgan silver dollars based on the condition and type. Be aware that these values are orientation, so it’s advised to check the prices from multiple sources.
|COIN QUALITY⬇\TYPE➜||1888 Silver Dollar
No mint mark
|1888 S Silver Dollar||1888 O Silver Dollar||1888 Double Die Obverse|
|Mint State 60||$59||$351||$59||$21,898|
|Mint State 65||$273||$3,414||$647||–|
The value of a 1888 Morgan dollar is strongly connected to its quality. Therefore, the greater the details on the silver coin, the greater your Morgan dollar value will be.
The Errors On 1888 Morgan Silver Dollars
If you are looking for unique pieces of 1888 Morgan silver dollars, check these VAMs specimens. These particular Morgan dollar varieties have precious irregularities, which makes them even more valuable and special.
However, only some VAMs are visible to the naked eye, so expect the majority to need magnification to become noticeable.
Now, let’s explain the VAM term a bit. It comes from Van Allen Mallis, the last name of the experts documenting and discovering these coin diversities. The background of most VAMs is connected to the dies used for the coins’ strikes. These are the most popular VAM of the Morgan silver dollars:
- The first one is the 1888 O Scarface, an error that appeared due to a die fracture. This type of error appears as a visible raised line all over Liberty’s left cheek. Those who own this type of coin with Scarface error are the luckiest, as this type of Morgan dollar can reach the unbelievable price of $18,000.
- The second particularity is the 1888 O Hot Lips, a type of VAM caused by a mint error. The double die was the main cause of the overlapped parts. In this special case of coin error, you can notice unusually enlarged lips on the Liberty portrait.
Sometimes, you may notice multiple chins, lips, and noses on Liberty’s profile. This is due to disordered strikes. Nevertheless, these error varieties are quite rare, and most collectors are hunting for these types of specimens.
One of the most requested 1888 Morgan silver dollars is the one with double die error. Passionate collectors will pay almost $300 for one in extra fine condition.
- PL Designation. Another particularity of 1888 Morgan silver dollars is given by the proof-like coins. If they have this mark, the silver dollars become even more expensive and collectible. Even though people did not always appreciate the mirror-like surface, today, these coins are overly desired.
This video is the analysis of a precious silver dollar.
Don’t worry if you still have questions about today’s topic. I have even more answers. So let’s check them out.
Q: What is the most appreciated and rare quality of these silver coins?
A: Any collector would like to have a Morgan silver dollar that is stunning. This is the rarity condition, and any coin with this quality is considered scarce. Carefully preserved and sheltered silver coins are a rarity nowadays.
Q: How much is a no-mint mark Morgan silver dollar worth?
A: The 1888 Morgan silver dollar with no mint mark was produced in Philadelphia, and its current value is $30. However, if you are lucky enough to own an MS 65 piece, you can own more than $300 on this piece.
Q: Which 1888 Silver Dollar are the most worthy?
Q: How can you tell a Morgan silver dollar is genuine?
A: There are some easy ways to tell a Morgan silver dollar is fake:
- Check the weight: the normal one is 26.73 grams;
- Use a magnet: if the Morgan dollars stick, they are fake;
- Ding the coin: there is a special ding once tapping the Morgan silver dollar;
- Make the measurements: the 1888 Morgan Dollar is 38.1 mm
Long story short
Keep in mind that if you want a precious Morgan silver dollar, you need to look for those with special provenance. If you are a passionate collector, choose the scarce 1888 Morgan silver dollars and make a wise investment.