1921 Morgan Silver Dollar: Value & Complete Price Chart
This is the story of the 1921 Morgan dollar, the last coin of the 19th century. It was an old design nobody expected to see again.
Example of a 1921 Morgan silver dollar from Philadelphia. Image: USA CoinBook
What Is a 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar Worth?
How Much Is a 1921 (P) Morgan Dollar Worth?
A total of 44,690,000 Morgan dollars were minted in Philadelphia in 1921. They are the most common issue of that year-date you will find. We refer to them here as 1921 (P) because these coins bear no mintmark.
Most 1921 (P) Morgans in circulated condition trade for under $30. Values jump in grades of MS65 and above.
How Much Is a 1921-D Morgan Dollar Worth?
1921-D Morgan silver dollar. Image: USA CoinBook
The 1921-D Morgan saw a mintage of 20,345,000 silver dollars at the Denver Mint. They are less common than their counterparts made in Philly, and this is reflected in their prices.
Once you get into uncirculated (i.e. mint state) grades, the 1921-S Morgan sees prices rise considerably. The auction record for this coin, graded Mint State 68, garnered over $44,000.
How Much Is a 1921-S Morgan Dollar Worth?
1921-S Morgan silver dollar. Image: USA CoinBook
The San Francisco Mint struck 21,695,000 Morgan dollars in 1921. This was only slightly more than the number produced at the other branch mint in Denver.
1921-S Morgan dollars grading in the low mint state range are very desirable. Like the 1921 (P), the auction record for this issue sold for more than $19,000.
Where Is the Mintmark on a 1921 Silver Dollar?
It's important to know whether or not your coin has a mintmark. On both the Morgan silver dollar and Peace silver dollar, the mintmark is found on the reverse.
For the Morgan dollar, this location is centered at the bottom of the design. It is placed just below the tail feathers of the eagle.
Mintmark location on a Morgan dollar from Carson City, which stopped production in 1893.
This also raises the question of fakes. The Red Book warns that collectors should be wary of altered mintmarks. How can you tell if a 1921 silver dollar is real?
Our guide to spotting counterfeit coins will give you some useful tips for identifying real silver dollars. For a modest fee, you can always submit your coin to third-party grading services such as NGC and PCGS to have the coin authenticated, as well.
Buying Morgan Silver Dollars From Gainesville Coins
We also have Morgan silver dollars for sale that are either "raw" or already certified by the leading third-party graders:
What Makes The 1921 Morgan Dollar Special?
The 1921 Morgan dollar was the last year for the design. It was also the last U.S. coin design of the 19th century to be struck. 1921 Morgan dollar mintages at all three U.S. Mint locations (Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco) were the highest of the series. Plentiful mintages and a low, flat strike means that the 1921 Morgan dollar is one of the least popular coins in the series.
By contrast, the 1895 issue is the rarest Morgan dollar. Only proofs were minted that year, and just 880 of them were produced.
Why Did the U.S. Make Silver Dollars In 1921?
The Morgan dollar was never that popular with the public. It was invented by Congress as a subsidy for the politically powerful silver mining industry in 1878. No one had ever expected to see new Morgan dollars after the last ones were struck in 1904. In fact, the master hubs were destroyed in 1910, when the U.S. Mint cleared out the hubs and dies that were no longer used.
Events in WWI in 1918 led to the resumption of Morgan dollar production in 1921. The British were suffering a silver shortage that jeopardized the entire Allied side in WWI. They had issued more silver certificates in India than they had silver to back them. If India revolted, the British would have to make peace with Germany. The British government appealed to the U.S. to sell them silver.
A pile of Morgan dollars.
Even though it risked losing the war, the “silverite” faction in Congress refused to back the melting of silver dollars. This faction had forced the creation of the Morgan dollar in the first place. They demanded that every silver dollar melted was replaced after the war in return for their support. (See “The 1918 Pittman Act: Boondoggle Or Necessary Morgan Dollar Massacre?” for the full story.)
The 1918 Pittman Act forced the U.S. Mint to buy silver at $1 per ounce after the war to replace the 270 million silver dollars that were melted down. As long as silver prices were above a dollar, the silver miners preferred to sell their ore on the open market. Once it dropped below that, they clamored for the government to buy their silver. That moment came in 1920.
The 1921 Morgan Dollar: Falling Flat
The 1918 “deal with the silver devil” had come due. The government was once again buying silver for more than the market price. (Silver prices would hit a low of 53 cents an ounce in March 1921.)
Since the master Morgan dollar coin hubs had been destroyed in 1910, Chief Engraver of the Mint George Morgan made new low relief hubs from scratch. His emphasis was on getting maximum use out of the coin dies, instead of making pretty coins.
This resulted in a coin that looked flat and lifeless, even when fully struck. This would be the last-ever year for the Morgan dollar (for real, this time, as the Peace dollar would replace it in December). The emphasis at the Mint was not to commemorate this, but to shove them out the door as quickly as possible. They would never see the light of day, anyway.
Silver dollars were stored in Treasury Department vaults to back the paper silver certificates that circulated. Theoretically, you could ask to exchange your certificate for actual silver dollars, but this was rarely done. The big silver coins just sat stacked in canvas bags inside locked vaults.
A published writer, Steven's coverage of precious metals goes beyond the daily news to explain how ancillary factors affect the market.
Steven specializes in market analysis with an emphasis on stocks, corporate bonds, and government debt.
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