1900-O Morgan Silver Dollar Value
Finest Known: MS67+ (NGC) MS67+ (PCGS)
Auction Record: $9,394 (MS67+)
NOTE: PCGS has determined that all 1896-O, 1900-O and 1902-O Silver Dollars with so-called "Micro o" mintmarks were counterfeit.
Image: USA CoinBook
Like nearly every mintage, the nearly 12.6 million 1900-O Morgan dollars went straight to storage as they were struck. After the decommissioning of the New Orleans Mint in 1911, all remaining coins in storage were sent to the Treasury Department in Washington D.C.. In 1929, large quantities of 1900-O Morgan dollars were shipped from D.C. to the main U.S. Mint in Philadelphia for long term storage. Bags of 1900-O Morgan dollars left the Treasury vaults beginning in the 1930s, when requests came in from banks, thus leading to a number of them finally reaching circulation.
In October 1962, literally hundreds of 1000-coin bags of Mint State 1900-O Morgan dollars were disgorged from the vaults of the Philadelphia Mint. This has made the date readily available in Mint Grade. In a bizarre turn of fate, there are more MS67 1900-O Morgan dollars on the market than all other Mint State grades put together!
Note that, upon careful inspection, PCGS determined that all 1896-O, 1900-O, and 1902-O Morgan dollars with a "micro O" mintmark are counterfeits.
The Value of a 1900-O Morgan Dollar
The 1900-O Morgan dollar could be a poster child for "common date Morgans". Of the massive original mintage or more than 12 and a half million coins, it is estimated that fully 10% survived the various government and private meltings. The 1900-O was already available in mass quantities before the Great Morgan Dollar Disbursement by the Treasury Department in 1962.
1900-O Morgan Dollar Price Guide
|Very Fine||Extremely Fine||About Uncirculated|
|Mint State 61||Mint State 63||Mint State 65||Auction Record (MS67+)|
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.
Grading Morgan Dollars
The guidelines below will apply to all Morgan dollars, not just the 1900-O.
Three things determine the value of a Morgan dollar. Condition, rarity, and market demand. A Morgan dollar of a scarce mintage will be worth more than a common date coin of the same condition. However, condition plays a major role in prices realized among coins of the same date. A coin grading one level higher can see its price as much as double.
To help reach consensus on a coin's condition, a coin grading scale was adopted. Called the Sheldon Scale, it ranges from PO1 (barely recognizable) to MS70 (perfect in every way, even under 5x magnification). The second major advancement in coin grading was the advent of third party grading services. NGC and PCGS are the two largest.
To cover a range of prices for each date Morgan dollar, we present average prices for Very Fine (VF) 35, Extremely Fine (XF) 45, Almost Uncirculated (AU) 55, and grades 61, 63, and 65 in Mint State (MS).
There are certain particular places on Morgan dollars that play a large part in the grade they receive: the high points in the design, where wear first occurs, and the prime focal areas, where damage is particularly distracting.
THE HIGH POINTS WHERE SIGNS OF WEAR FIRST APPEAR ON MORGAN DOLLARS:
- Top of cheek
- Hair over ear
- Curls over date
- Top of cap
- Eagle's breast
- Eagle's legs
- Eagle's head
- Right wingtip
PRIME FOCAL AREAS ON MORGAN DOLLARS
- Face and neck of Liberty
- The field in front of Liberty's face
- Body and wings of the eagle
- Fields to sides of wings and above eagle's head
A VF35 Morgan dollar will have light wear overall. Bag marks and circulation damage could prevent this coin from scoring higher. Liberty's hair in general will be worn, with minor detail only being partially retained on high points. Some strands of hair over liberty's ear will be visible. Minor details on the tops of the cotton bolls in Liberty's hair band will be worn away. The cotton leaves will display notable wear.
The eagle's wings will show very light wear, except on the wingtips. The wingtips will show more wear. The eagle's breast and legs will be worn nearly smooth.
A XF45 Morgan dollar will exhibit light wear overall. The high points of the coin will have less wear than on a VF Morgan Dollar. Nearly all minor details will be present. Some mint luster may remain. Liberty's hairline will be nearly full, with hints of flatness. This is especially true of the lock of hair above the date. Minor detail will show on the cotton bolls. The cotton leaves will have less wear than a VF coin.
Hints of feathers start to appear on the eagle's breast and legs. The right wingtip remains an area most likely to exhibit wear.
About Uncirculated Morgan dollars AU53, AU55, AU58) have just enough wear to prevent them being classified as uncirculated. Some AU58 Morgans have such little wear that they can get classified as Mint State. These exceptional coins are known as "sliders", as they "slide" across the line separating circulated and uncirculated coins.
An AU55 Morgan dollar will show extremely light to barely visible wear. Luster will be nearly complete, except on the cheek and extreme high points on obverse and reverse. These points include the highest fold on Liberty's cloth cap, the highest points on her hair, and the breast and legs of the eagle. As mentioned above, these Almost Uncirculated coins should have a high degree of eye appeal.
Uncirculated Morgan Dollars
Uncirculated Morgan dollars, also called Mint State, are coins that never entered commerce before they were obtained by coin collectors. This isn't to say that all Mint State coins are unblemished. Morgan dollars were stored for decades in vaults at the Treasury Department, U.S. Mint, and banks.
Packed in giant, 1000-coin canvas bags, they were shipped by rail and by truck, and moved from one vault to another, with little regard to their condition. They were treated as coins meant for daily use, not collector's items. Unsurprisingly, all this caused the coins to clash together as the bags were moved, causing scrapes and scratches known as "bag marks."
But, because the damage occurred to the coins while they were in Mint-sealed bags, the coins are still considered Mint State. Damage from a coin being circulated, or dropped, or suffering environmental damage after it is removed from the bag is called "post-Mint damage" and degrades the coin's score.
Mint State 61
A MS61 1900-O Morgan dollar is generally not attractive. A high-grade Almost Uncirculated graded AU58 coin will often have a greater eye appeal than a MS61. A MS61 coin will often display substantial damage across the main features. Marks and scuffs on the surface of the coin are prevalent.
It is rare to see anyone bother to have a MS60 or MS61 graded. Unless the coin is a rare mintage, the cost of having a MS61 certified can sometimes equal the coin's value.
Mint State 63
A MS63 1900-O Morgan dollar will have an acceptable to good strike, with full mint luster. It will have fewer overall marks than a MS61, and fewer heavy ones, but the ones present will still detract from the coin's eye appeal. MS63 and MS64 are the most popular grades of Mint State coins, striking a balance between attractiveness and cost.
Mint State 65
A MS65 1900-O Morgan dollar (often called Gem Uncirculated) will exhibit a sharp strike and full luster. At most, it will have very few very light marks, mostly on the cheek and in the field in front of Liberty. A few scattered minimal marks that barely detract from the coin's appearance could be present. You may see only the faintest amount of friction on the eagle's breast on the reverse. Overall, MS65 will have very attractive eye appeal, far more than lesser grades.