1878 (7TF) Morgan Dollar Value | Gainesville Coins ®
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1878 (7TF) Morgan Dollar Value

Mintage: 9,759,300

Finest Known: MS67 (NGC) MS66+ (PCGS)

Auction Record: $43,475 (MS66+)

The 1878 7TF Rev. of 78 (1878 Morgan dollar with 7 tail feathers, reverse of 1878) is the second, and most plentiful, of the three major varieties of 1878 Morgans struck in Philadelphia.

This second Morgan dollar reverse was created after public feedback on the original, eight tail feather design. Many people wrote in, saying that the bald eagle had an old number of tail feathers. In response, Mint Engraver George Morgan reworked the reverse die to give the eagle 7 tail feathers.

Major 1878 Morgan Dollar Varieties

  • 8 Tail Feathers, flat breast on eagle (Reverse 1)
  • 7 Tail Feathers, flat breast on eagle (Reverse 2 / Reverse of 1878)
  • 7 Tail Feathers, convex breast on eagle (Reverse 3 / Reverse of 1879)

Reverse 3 would be the standard Morgan dollar reverse from 1879 to 1904.

How Many Tail Feathers Does a Bald Eagle Have, Anyway?

Despite the often-repeated myth about the Morgan dollar, the bald eagle does not have seven tail feathers. Nor does it have an odd number of tail feathers. It actually has 12 tail feathers. It took the U.S. Mint until 1986 to finally get it right.

The American Silver Eagle one troy oz bullion coin was the first U.S. coin with the denomination of $1 to present a bald eagle with the correct dozen tail feathers. The 2000 Sacagawea dollar was the first circulating dollar to have the correct number of tail feathers.

The Value of an 1878 (7TF, Rev. of 78) Morgan Dollar

The 1878 Morgan dollar Reverse of 1878 is the most common 1878 Morgan dollar, as well as a common date coin in general. It is readily available in grades up to MS65. It has an average strike, but numerous bag marks restrict uncirculated examples to the lower Mint State grades.

1878 (7TF, Rev. of 78) Morgan Dollar Price Guide

Circulated Grades

Very Fine Extremely Fine About Uncirculated
$54 $59 $72

Uncirculated (Mint State) Grades

Mint State 61Mint State 63Mint State 65Auction Record (MS66+)
$115$162$780$43,475

The 7/8TF Morgan Dollar: A Transitional Variety

The authorities at the Philadelphia Mint decided to rehub existing 8 Tail Feather Morgan dies with the new dies with seven tail feathers while new replacement dies were cut. This led to a transition variety called the 7 over 8 tail feathers reverse.

These coins became collectible in their own right, as many show an attractive layered effect of the seven tail feathers on top of the original eight. The best examples clearly show the middle five of the eight tail feathers protruding from under the seven feathers.

The Value of An 1878 7/8TF Morgan Dollar

The strong 7/8TF is perhaps the most popular variety of the 7 Tail Feather 1878 Morgan dollars in circulated grades. It is still easily found up to MS64. The variety with five tail feathers showing under the seven that were overstamped is prized, and commands a premium.

1878 7/8TF Morgan Dollar Price Guide

Circulated Grades

Very Fine Extremely Fine About Uncirculated
$54 $68 $92

Uncirculated (Mint State) Grades

Mint State 61Mint State 63Mint State 65Auction Record (MS66)
$266$370$1,940$15,010

1878 (7TF, Rev. of 79) Morgan Dollar

Finest Known: MS67 (NGC) MS67 (PCGS)

Auction Record: $37,600 (MS67)

The main difference on 1878 Morgan dollars using the 7TF reverse of 1878 compared to the reverse of 1879 is the shape of the eagle's breast.

The eagle on the "reverse of 1878" (Second Reverse) is flat, almost concave. This can give the appearance of a soft center on a fully-struck coin. The eagle on the "reverse of 1879" (Third Reverse) has a rounded breast.

Another easy telltale is the topmost arrow in the clutch of arrows in the eagle's left talon. The outside edge of the top arrow on the reverse of 1878 is parallel with the arrow shaft. The arrow feather on the reverse of 1879 flares from front to back.

Estimates put the number of 1878 7 Tail Feathers Morgan dollars using the reverse of 1879 between 1.5 and 2 million coins (out of the 9,759,300 total mintage for the date).

The Value of an 1878 (7TF, Rev. of 79) Morgan Dollar

The 1878 Morgan dollar with the reverse of 1879 (Third Reverse) is much scarcer than the ones with the Second (1878) Reverse. It's still fairly easy to find, but is a bit more expensive than the reverse of 78 in Mint State and better circulated grades.

Strike quality is adequate. Searching will eventually turn up an example with fewer bag marks and abrasions than the usual heavily damaged coins.

1878 (7TF, Rev. of 79) Morgan Dollar Price Guide

Circulated Grades

Very Fine Extremely Fine About Uncirculated
$54 $58 $70

Uncirculated (Mint State) Grades

Mint State 61Mint State 63Mint State 65Auction Record (MS67)
$273$390$1,970$37,600

The information on this page does not constitute an offer to buy or sell the coin(s) referred to. Statistics are for Mint State coins only. Proof and prooflike examples of this issue may have greater or lesser "finest known" and different record auction prices.

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