Morgan Silver Dollars – a 101
In recent years, Morgan silver dollars have become popular among investors. They don’t cost the Earth and they perform pretty well for their owners; plus, they’re very good-looking. However, all investors have to do their homework before buying anything as you have to learn how to work with (or against) the dealer’s profit aims, inflation and the rare coin market itself. You also have to know your stuff when it comes to the coins themselves.
The lowdown on the Morgans
The first thing you need to know is that common date Morgan silver dollars that are graded below AU-50 only attract their bullion value. There’s a few exceptions – the coins minted at Carson City, for example – but almost all the Morgans didn’t make it into circulation because the US Mint made millions more coins than were actually needed in the 1800s.
The US Mint also made more than half a billion Morgans between 1878 and 1904 and almost 75% of these were melted down before hitting circulation. Most Morgans didn’t even get out of the Treasury vaults before 1960. If you’re planning to buy Morgan Silver Dollars from Golden Eagle Coins, you can always call to find out more about these dollars, as they do have an interesting story. In short, though, Uncirculated-grade Morgans are very common, so do watch out for them.
Read the book before buying
There are unscrupulous dealers out there who’ll tell you that a Mint State Morgan Dollar from the 1950s or thereabouts is very valuable because it’s in Mint State. You shouldn’t fall for this, as most Morgans in this date range go for no more than $70 each. Of course, if you’re new to coins, they could be a good starting point; ultimately, it’s up to you.
Go for the highest grades you can
As most Morgans are in higher grades than other coin series, you’re best advised to aim for the higher specimens. If you can afford Proof coins, then buy them because these are very good performers. If Proof specimens are outside your budget, then look for very high-grade MS-65 specimens as these perform well. They are very rare, though.
Think about the source
A major thing you have to think about when you’re looking to invest in rare coins is who has done the grading. Not all dealers and grading providers have the same criteria and standards, and even a slight difference in grade could mean hundreds of dollars. You should look out for coins graded by the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) or the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), as they have strict and very objective criteria. These coins will be more expensive, but the grading is very reliable.
Store your Morgans in a vault that you control
Once you’ve done your research and bought your coins, collect them or have them delivered right to you. Don’t let your dealer store them for you, no matter how secure they say the vault is. Ideally your vault should be built-in and fireproof; if you can’t provide this, then a bank’s safety deposit box is the next best thing. These coins are your comfortable retirement or the kids’ inheritance, so look after them!