1879 Morgan Dollar: Do You Need This in Your Collection?

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Written By Natasha Jones
I'm Natasha Jones, an avid collector of coins, stamps, and paper money. My passion drives me to seek unique finds, from antique shops to international exchanges. I enjoy connecting with fellow collectors through forums and meet-ups, sharing discoveries and insights. Collecting, for me, is about preserving history and building a community around this shared interest.

The 1879 Morgan Dollar is one of the most popular coins among collectors and investors alike. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at this magnificent coin, its history, and how much it is worth today! Let’s dive right in!

Key Takeaways:

1. The 1879 Morgan Dollar was by George T. Morgan and was minted from 1878-1904 and in 1921.
2. The coin was created to replace the Seated Liberty Dollar and quickly became popular among collectors and investors.
3. The 1879 Morgan Dollar is made of 90% silver and 10% copper, weighs 26.73 grams, and features the head of Lady Liberty on the obverse and a bald eagle on the reverse.

The Origin of the 1879 Morgan Dollar

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The 1879 Morgan Dollar is a piece of American history.

It’s a silver coin that rolled off the presses in the United States during two distinct periods: from 1878 to 1904 and then once more in 1921. 

The artist behind this iconic coin was George T. Morgan, who, interestingly, served as an assistant engraver at the United States Mint during that era.

In honor of his creative contributions, the coin came to be known as the Morgan Dollar.

The coin was first authorized by the Bland-Allison Act of 1878, which required the U.S. Treasury to purchase between 2-4 million dollars worth of silver each month.

The silver was then used to mint silver dollars, including the Morgan Dollar.

The 1879 Morgan Dollar was struck at three active U.S. mints in 1879: Philadelphia, New Orleans, and San Francisco.

The Philadelphia Mint produced the highest mintage for the date, with 14,806,000 coins minted.

The New Orleans mint produced 2,887,000 coins, and the San Francisco mint produced 9,110,000 coins.

The Morgan Dollar was minted in response to the need for a new silver dollar design.

The previous design, the Seated Liberty Dollar, had been in use since 1840 and was considered outdated.

The Morgan Dollar was designed to be more modern and to reflect the spirit of the American West.

The Morgan Dollar was also designed to be more difficult to counterfeit than previous silver dollars.

The coin’s design includes a number of anti-counterfeiting measures, including raised lettering and a unique reeded edge.

Today, the 1879 Morgan Dollar is a popular collectible coin among numismatists and coin collectors.

The coin’s historical significance, as well as its beauty and rarity, make it a valuable addition to any coin collection.

Key Features of the 1879 Morgan Dollar

The 1879 Morgan Dollar is one of the most popular and widely collected coins among numismatists.

It was minted from 1878-1904, with a brief resumption in 1921. Here are some key features of the 1879 Morgan Dollar:

Design

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On the front side of the coin, you’ll find a left-facing profile of Lady Liberty.

Just above her head, the word “Liberty” is elegantly inscribed, while the year of issue graces the lower part of the design.

Flipping the coin over, the reverse side showcases a powerful bald eagle with its wings outstretched.

It clutches arrows and an olive branch in its talons, symbolizing the nation’s strength and desire for peace.

Encircling the majestic eagle, you’ll find the words “United States of America” and “One Dollar,” completing the coin’s distinctive design.

Mint Marks

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The 1879 Morgan Dollar was produced at four different U.S. Mint facilities: Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Carson City. 

The mint mark can be found on the reverse of the coin, near the bottom, just above the word “Dollar.”

The mint mark is a small letter indicating the mint where the coin was produced: “O” for New Orleans, “S” for San Francisco, “CC” for Carson City, and no mint mark for Philadelphia.

Rarity

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While the 1879 Morgan Dollar was minted in large numbers, certain varieties are considered rare and highly sought after by collectors. 

For example, the 1879-CC (Carson City) variety is particularly rare, with only a few thousand coins known to exist.

Other rare varieties include the 1879-O (New Orleans) and the 1879-S (San Francisco) with the Reverse of 1879.

Metal Content

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The 1879 Morgan Dollar is composed of silver (90%) and copper (10%), with a total weight of 26.73 g and a diameter of 38.1 mm.

The silver content alone is worth more than the face value of the coin, making it a valuable addition to any collection.

Overall, the 1879 Morgan Dollar is a highly collectible coin with a rich history and unique features that make it a must-have for any serious numismatist.

Understanding the Value of the 1879 Morgan Dollar

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The 1879 Morgan Dollar is a popular coin among collectors and investors due to its historical significance and high silver content.

Understanding the value of this coin can be a bit complex, as it depends on several factors.

One of the most important factors in determining the value of an 1879 Morgan Dollar is its condition.

Coins that are in excellent condition, with minimal wear and no damage, are more valuable than those that are heavily worn or damaged.

The mint mark and the rarity of the coin also play a significant role in determining its value.

Another important factor is the current market demand for the coin.

As with any collectible item, the value of the 1879 Morgan Dollar can fluctuate based on supply and demand.

The Importance of Condition in Valuing the 1879 Morgan Dollar

The condition of an 1879 Morgan Dollar is one of the most important factors in determining its value.

The condition of a coin is often expressed in terms of its grade, which ranges from Poor (P-1) to Perfect Uncirculated (MS-70).

Coins in better condition are usually worth more than coins in poorer condition.

This is because coins in better condition are rarer and more desirable to collectors.

Even small differences in condition can have a big impact on a coin’s value.

The table below shows the approximate value of an 1879 Morgan Dollar based on its grade:

GradesPrice as of October 2023
Good (G-4)$41
Very Good (VG-8)$46
Fine (F-12)$52
Very Fine (VF-20)$58
Extremely Fine (EF-40)$62
About Uncirculated (AU-50)$70
Uncirculated (MS-60)$91
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS-65)$652
Proof (PR-63)$4,368

As you can see, the value of an 1879 Morgan Dollar can vary greatly depending on its grade.

On an average condition, it can go for $41 up to $70 depending on the condition.

For uncirculated versions, it can go for $91 up to $652 for MS-65 grades!

For proof coins, a proof coin with a grade of PR-63 can go for as much as $4,368!

It is important to note that the grade of a coin is not the only factor that determines its value.

Other factors, such as rarity and historical significance, can also play a role.

However, the condition of a coin is one of the most important factors to consider when valuing an 1879 Morgan Dollar.

Before you go…

Overall, the 1879 Morgan Dollar is an excellent addition to any coin collection, and collectors should take the time to research and assess the value of each coin before making a purchase.

Check out my next article: “How Much is the 1948 Franklin Half Dollar Worth Today?

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