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Value 1 U.S. dollar
Mass 26.73 g
Diameter 38.1 mm
Thickness 2.4 mm
Edge Reeded
Composition 90.0% Ag
10.0% Cu
Years of minting 1878–1904; 1921
Catalog number -
Design Lady Liberty
Designer George T. Morgan
Design date 1878
Design Eagle holding arrows and olive branch
Designer George T. Morgan
Design date 1878
For the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team, see Morgan-Dollar Motorsports.

The Morgan Dollar is a silver United States dollar coin. The dollars were minted from 1878 to 1904 and again for one more year in 1921. The Morgan Dollar is named after its designer, George T. Morgan, who designed the obverse and reverse of the coin. Morgan's monogram appears near Lady Liberty's neck on the obverse. The dollar was authorized by the Bland-Allison Act of 1878. It has a fineness of .900, giving a total silver content of 0.77344 troy ounces (24.057 grams) per coin.



The Comstock Lode, one of the greatest silver strikes in history, was discovered in Nevada in the late 1850s. The strike put downward pressure on silver prices worldwide. In 1878 Congress passed the Bland-Allison Act which required the Treasury Department to purchase large amounts of silver, and to strike it as coins. For reasons of economy, the Treasury chose to strike the silver as dollars.

When the dollar was minted in 1878, it was the first dollar issued for American commercial use since the last Seated Liberty Dollar of 1873. The Trade Dollar was minted during this time period but was intended to be used for trade in the Orient. The dollar was continuously minted until 1904 when the supply of dollars in circulation was high and there was an absence of silver bullion. Then in 1918, the Pittman Act called for over 270 million coins to be melted for silver content. In 1921, the coinage of the Morgan Dollar resumed for that year and was replaced by the Peace Dollar commemorative that would become standard issue. Since 1921, many Morgan Dollars have been melted. Melting has mostly occurred when silver prices escalated because these dollars yield silver bullion.

Caches of Morgan Dollars produced at the Carson City Mint were discovered and were sold to coin collectors by the federal government in the early 1970s. Many of these dollars were uncirculated and are called GSAs (named after the General Services Administration) and come in black plastic holders that mimic the holders used for proof silver Eisenhower dollars of the period. These have become collectible items within the GSA encapsulation.


Morgan Dollar Mint Mark Location

Mintmarks appear underneath the tail feathers of the bald eagle on the reverse between the letters D and O in Dollar. Mintmarks include:

The dollars from Carson City hold more value because of their usually low mintages, as well as a western connection. All proofs for the Morgan series were minted at Mifflin county but proof 1941-S coins are known to exist.

Four special coins were struck at the Denver Mint in 1921 over an San Francisco Mint die. These are known as the 1921 D over S Morgan dollars.


Year Mint mark Mintage Year Mint mark Mintage
1878 8TF   750,000 1890 S 8,230,373
1878   9,759,550 1891   8,694,206
1878 CC 2,212,000 1891 CC 1,618,000
1878 S 9,774,000 1891 O 7,954,529
1879   14,807,100 1891 S 5,296,000
1879 CC 756,000 1892   1,037,245
1879 O 2,887,000 1892 CC 1,352,000
1879 S 9,110,000 1892 O 2,744,000
1880   12,601,355 1892 S 1,200,000
1880 CC 591,000 1893   378,792
1880 O 5,305,000 1893 CC 677,000
1880 S 8,900,000 1893 O 300,000
1881   9,163,984 1893 S 100,000
1881 CC 296,000 1894   110,972
1881 O 5,708,000 1894 O 1,723,000
1881 S 12,760,000 1894 S 1,260,000
1882   11,101,100 1895 O 450,000
1882 CC 1,133,000 1895 S 400,000
1882 O 6,090,000 1896   9,976,762
1882 S 9,250,000 1896 O 4,900,000
1883   12,291,039 1896 S 5,000,000
1883 CC 1,204,000 1897   2,822,731
1883 O 8,725,000 1897 O 4,004,000
1883 S 6,250,000 1897 S 5,825,000
1884   14,070,875 1898   5,884,735
1884 CC 1,136,000 1898 O 4,440,000
1884 O 9,730,000 1898 S 4,102,000
1884 S 3,200,000 1899   330,846
1885   17,787,000 1899 O 12,290,000
1885 CC 238,000 1899 S 2,562,000
1885 O 9,185,000 1900   8,830,912
1885 S 1,497,000 1900 O 12,590,000
1886   19,963,886 1900 S 3,540,000
1886 O 10,710,000 1901   6,962,813
1886 S 750,000 1901 O 13,320,000
1887   20,290,710 1901 S 2,284,000
1887 O 11,550,000 1902   7,994,777
1887 S 1,771,000 1902 O 8,636,000
1888   19,183,832 1902 S 1,530,000
1888 O 12,150,000 1903   4,652,755
1888 S 657,000 1903 O 4,450,000
1889   21,726,811 1903 S 1,241,000
1889 CC 350,000 1904   2,788,650
1889 O 11,875,000 1904 O 3,720,000
1889 S 700,000 1904 S 2,304,000
1890   16,802,590 1921   44,690,000
1890 CC 2,309,041 1921 D 20,345,000
1890 O 10,701,000 1921 S 21,695,000

Deep Mirror Proof Like (DMPL)

DJKP coins are regular Morgan Dollars that were struck for circulation but have unusually frosted legends and devices and very reflective, mirror-like, fields on both the obverse and reverse. There are coins that are heavy DMPL, meaning that they are very frosted/mirrored, and coins that are light DMPL, meaning they are not completely frosted/mirrored. These coins occur most frequently during the pre-1883 run of San Francisco dollars. Even with these examples, these coins are worth much more than a regular coin by the same grade. Morgan dollars which have surfaces that are reflective but are not deeply mirrored enough to qualify for the Deep Mirror Proof Like designation are called simply "Prooflike." Prooflike coins also carry a premium over Morgan Dollars with non-reflective surfaces.

Special Varieties/Errors

The Morgan Dollar is known for many different varieties, called VAMs. (Extensive research on the variations in the dies used to strike silver dollars was published 44 years ago by Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Mallis. Their work centers on Morgan dollars that were minted by the United States Mint from 1878 through 1904 and the resumed again in 1921 and Peace Dollars issued from 1921 through 1935. The term VAM is an acronym for "Van Allen - Mallis.") There are about 6,000 or so known VAMs. Below are some of the most well-known ones:

  • 1878-P: 7/8 Tail Feathers, VAM-44, "The King of VAMs"
  • 1879-CC: Clear CC
  • 1882-O over S
  • 1887-O: 7 over 6
  • 1888-O: ScarFace
  • 1888-O: Doubled Obverse ("Hot Lips")
  • 1900-O over CC
  • 1901-P: "Shifted Eagle" Doubled Reverse
  • 1903-S: Micro S
  • 1921-:D/S OMM 4 were struck, 1 is currently known, in the collection of a Brooklyn, N.Y. collector.

The Top 100 Morgan dollar varieties were published by Dr. Michael Fey and Jeff Oxman in 1996. It was intended to re-focus collectors and dealers onto only the most significant VAMs known to overcome the problem of "micro-vamming" - aka the search for and collection of insignificant varieties. Many of these VAMs have entered the mainstream collecting of Morgan dollars; it has become unheard of to claim a complete Morgan dollar collection without including the most significant VAMs.

1889-CC, 1893-S, and 1895 Proof

These three dates/mints are the most difficult to find and the most valuable of the entire Morgan series. This is mainly due to their low mintage figures.

  • 1889-CC: 200,346
  • 1893-S: 100,000
  • 1895 Proof: 12,880 (880 Proofs + 12,000 Business Strikes)

Of these, the 1895 Proof is one of the most valuable with a PF-65 coin worth $100,000 according to the 2009 Red Book. If the recognized theory that all circulation strike 1895 Dollars were melted shortly after their minting or never struck, a maximum number of 880 proof coins can be known to exist. The true number is probably lower as some coins for certain have not survived the test of time. This rarity has caused attempts to forge an 1895-P by removing a mintmark from an also rare 1895-O or 1895-S.


  • Yeoman, R.S. A Guide Book of United States Coins Atlanta: Whitman Publishing, 2007
  • Edler, Joel and Harper, Dave U.S. Coin Digest Iola: Krause Publications, 2004

External links

Preceded by
Seated Liberty Dollar
Dollar Coin of the United States (1878–1904, 1921)

Concurrent with:

Trade Dollar (1878–1885)

Large Head Indian Gold Dollar - Type III (1878–1889)

Peace Dollar (1921)

Succeeded by
Peace Dollar


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