1895 Morgan Silver Dollar Value

Mintage: 880 (proofs only); 12,000 business strikes?

Finest Known:
PR68+ (NGC) • PR68 (PCGS)

Auction Record:
$150,000 • PR66
$120,000 • PR66 CAM
$269,500 • PR67+ DCAM

1895 o morgan proof

1895 Morgan dollar

The 1895 Morgan dollar from the Philadelphia Mint may be the most famous US silver dollar in the world. Only the 1804 silver dollar has a greater reputation. That's because, even though the records show that a tiny 12,000 Morgan dollars were struck in 1895, no one has ever seen one.

The only 1895 Morgan dollars that are known to have actually been released are 880 proof versions. It is estimated that roughly half of these coins still exist. This means there are approximately 400 coins that every Morgan dollar collector must compete for, if they want a complete date set.

The Value of an 1895 Morgan Dollar

The 1895 Morgan dollar is one of the most expensive Morgan dollars in circulated grades. The worst-known 1895 Morgan dollar is graded "Good 06" on a scale from 1 to 70. This coin, which is worn almost beyond recognition, sells for $30,000. Prices rise from there. Since all 1895 Morgan dollars are proofs, relatively more have survived in Mint State condition. This means some Morgan dollar dates are more expensive than an 1895 in Mint State. However, circulated 1895 Morgan dollars are more expensive than practically any other date.

1895 Proof Morgan Dollar Price Guide

Circulated Grades

Proof 25Proof 45Proof 55

Uncirculated (Mint State) Grades

Proof 61Proof 63Proof 65Auction Record (PR66)

1895 Cameo Proof Morgan Dollar Price Guide

Cameo Proof 61Cameo Proof 63Cameo Proof 65Auction Record (PR66 CAM)

1895 Deep Cameo / Ultra Cameo Proof Morgan Dollar Price Guide

Deep Cameo Proof 61Deep Cameo Proof 63Deep Cameo Proof 65Auction Record (PR67+ DCAM)

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.

How Many 1895 Morgan Dollars Are There?

880 proof Morgan dollars were struck at the Philadelphia Mint in 1895. The consensus is that half these or less survive to the present day. This contrasts with the number of 1895 Morgan dollars that have been submitted to the major coin grading services. Between them, NGC and PCGS have graded 973 1895 Morgan dollars - 96 more than were made! This is also more than double the number of likely survivors.

These inflated numbers are due to collectors re-submitting their 1895 Morgan dollars, hoping to get a higher grade than it earned previously. Another reason for multiple resubmissions is attempting to get the coin a Cameo designation, or a coveted Deep Cameo ruling for a Cameo coin.

Estimated 1895 Morgan Dollar Survivors

Cameo Proof35535555
Deep Cameo Proof606035

Mint State numbers are included in "All Grades." MS65+ numbers are included in "Mint State."

The Mystery of the Missing 1895 Morgan Dollars

If 12,000 "regular" business strike Morgan dollars were made in 1895, what happened to them? Why has not a single one come to light? (Any circulated 1895 Morgan dollars are considered proofs that were spent as money, possibly during the Great Depression.)

There are several theories on their fate. The popularity of each theory has ebbed and flowed over the more than 100 years since.

  • One early theory was that they sat in storage, until every one of them was melted under the 1918 Pittman Act. According to this theory, the mintages from 1896 forward buried the 1895 Morgans. Assuming that 1894 Morgans were used to fill silver dollar orders in 1895, the 1895 Morgan dollars could have easily been buried by the nearly 10 million 1896 Morgans that began coming off the press that February.

  • Another theory supposes that the 12,000 1895 Morgan dollars were actually 1894s, which were missed during the year-end accounting. They were added onto the 1895 report to balance the books.

This last theory is backed up by two prominent numismatists of the day. In the June 1898 "Numismatist" magazine, coin expert George W. Rice notes "In 1895, Proofs only, numbering less that 1,000, were struck."

ANA Governor Charles Steigerwalt wrote in December 1898: "Dollars of 1895 from the Philadelphia Mint are only found in Proof Sets." As a well-connected Philadelphia coin dealer, he would have been well-informed of the activities of the Philadelphia Mint.He would know if any regular 1895 Morgan dollars had been struck.

Mint Documents Provide Clue to the Mystery

These testimonials back up research conducted in 2015 into the mystery. This research in the origin of the 12,000 1895 Morgan dollars focused on the June 1895 audit at the Philadelphia Mint. Both the Superintendent and Chief Coiner were replaced in 1895, so an accounting of coins and unminted precious metal had to be conducted.

According to the audit, there were 48,000 1894 Morgan dollars on hand, and 13,000 silver dollar blanks. After receiving the audit, the Director of the Mint in Washington DC ordered that the 13,000 blanks be minted into dollars. A few days later, the Coiner recorded that 12,000 Morgan dollars had been delivered. It is assumed that the remaining 1,000 blanks were defective, and melted.

There is a theory that, since there were no plans to strike Morgan dollars in 1895, leftover 1894 dies were used to strike these 12,000 coins. There was no need to carve a new hub and make new 1895 Morgan dollar dies for so few coins.

A similar theory is that, since the blanks had been made in 1894, the coins should be struck with 1894 dies. This way, any errors would be attributable to the outgoing Superintendent and Coiner, instead of their successors.

These theories are backed up by the 1895 Annual Report of the Philadelphia Mint. It notes that 12,000 Morgan dollars were reported delivered in June, but the entry has an asterisk. The corresponding footnote says "12,000 coined in 1894".

Records at the Mint also show that all private orders for regular 1895 Morgan dollars were rejected. If 1895 Morgans had actually been struck, these order would have been filled. Together, the evidence supports the theory that the 12,000 1895 Morgan dollars were struck using 1894 dies.

Other theories run afoul of this evidence, either ignoring the rejection of orders for 1895 Morgan dollars, or the results of the June 1895 audit.

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