Updated: Nov 12, 2022
From 1878 to 1904 and again in 1921 Morgan Dollars were struck at the Denver, New Orleans, Carson City, San Francisco and Philadelphia Mints. Some mints were better than others when it came to striking coins with the correct pressure creating exceptional sharpness. Of these, we consider the 1879-S, 1880-S and 1881-S as some of the finest Morgans a collector can acquire. The Millyard Team consider these common date Morgan Dollars as some of the best examples for sharpness, luster, mint frost and details on the inscriptions, legends, denticles and devices. As a result, these three silver dollars can be used as a visual compass when comparing other dates and mints when adding to a collection. By doing so a collector will have the advantage of compiling a quality collection instead of an average collection.
The 1879-S (SAF slanted arrow feather and convex breast on the eagle) is an exceptional example of a strong strike with fine details on the high points of the profile and again on the eagles breast. Since this is considered a common date (mintage 8,600,000) it is easily available in ungraded and certified condition. There are so many available in Mint State condition very few that were circulated are even considered by collectors. You can expect when selecting this coin a fully original mint luster, pronounced and even deep mint frost, with occasional proof like fields on the obverse and reverse. The price point allows for easy entry into collecting this coin for all budgets.The optimal collection grade is MS65 with most having exceptional eye appeal.
The 1880-S is quite common with a mintage of 8,900,000. Many in Mint State condition were released from 1962 - 1964 with the Treasury Hoard. Most have a strong strike with well defined details on the obverse and the reverse. Those of an inferior condition should be ignored as there are many that are sharp with a gorgeous mint frost luster. As with the 1879-S the mint frost luster is deep with occasional proof like fields. Again the price point allows for easy entry into collecting this coin for all budgets. The optimal collection grade is MS64 with exceptional eye appeal.
The 1881-S Morgan Dollar is the most available in mint state condition with a mintage of 12,760,00. Q. David Bowers suggest that around 6,000,000 exist in Mint State condition which means that any coin less than MS60 grade should be ignored. Once again the San Francisco Mint has provided collectors with an outstanding example of Morgan Dollar with sharpness and fully original mint luster and frosted appearance. Most have a strong strike with clean details on the obverse and reverse. Many have proof like fields, but only on one side which prevents the coin from receiving a PL grade on certified coins. Look for sharp details in the hair strands above the ear and breast feathers. The price point allows for easy entry collecting this coin for all budgets. Optimal collection grade is MS65 with exceptional eye appeal.
The Mint Mark "S" San Francisco is located on the reverse side under the center of the laurel wreath and over the letters "D" and "O" in the word dollar. Furthermore, look closely on the inside of the left loop of the ribbon above the mint mark. There you will find the initial "M" for the designer George Morgan. There is also his initial located on the obverse.
Regardless of the high mintage issues of Morgan Dollars the San Francisco Mint has provided the collector with a number of quality coins that will be enjoyed for many years. We at the Millyard Team hope you enjoy beginning the journey of collecting Morgan Dollars as you embark on a rewarding and satisfying hobby. Should you have any questions concerning the content of this article please contact us at email@example.com . #numismatics #coins #silver #AmericanNumismaticAssociation