1900-S Morgan Silver Dollar Value
Finest Known: MS67 (NGC) MS67 (PCGS)
Auction Record: $39,950 (MS67)
Image: USA CoinBook
Of the 3.5 million Morgan dollars produced in San Francisco in 1900, nearly all went into storage and stayed there for decades. They slowly began entering circulation in the 1930s and 1940s, as WPA construction, and later, the extreme industrial activity during WWII swelled the state's population. After the war, many 1900-S Morgans went to Las Vegas, where they were used in the burgeoning casino industry.
Casinos became the largest customer for San Francisco silver dollars from the 1950s until the last ones were paid out from Treasury vaults in the 1960s. Nearly half of the last big Morgan dollar disbursement by the Treasury Department went to the casinos in Las Vegas.
The Value of A 1900-S Morgan Dollar
Like many Morgan dollar mintages at the turn of the century, the strike of the 1900-S varies widely. Even though an estimated 1 million coins of the 3.5 million mintage were melted under the Pittman Act, the date is still reasonably available today.
However, the 1900-S Morgan dollar is uncommon in circulated grades.Very few actually entered circulation. The exception is in AU. These almost uncirculated silver dollars were likely kept by casino patrons as mementos of their trips to Vegas. The 1900-S is plentiful in lower Mint State. High Mint State 1900-S Morgan dollars are scarce.
1900-S 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-S.
Two things determine the price of any Morgan dollar: its condition, and its rarity at that grade. Some dates can be cheap and plentiful in circulated grades, and expensive in Mint State. Some are rare in all grades, while others are common no matter their condition..
Grading Morgan dollars (and all coins) is a highly subjective art. A difference of one step in condition can mean hundreds and even thousands more dollars to a coin's sale price.
To help get everyone on the same page, a standard grading scale for coins was adopted in the 1980s. Known as the Sheldon Scale, it runs from 1 (barely identifiable) to 70 (perfect, even under 5x magnification). These numeric grades are considered more precise than the old adjectival descriptions.
Perhaps the most important event in modern numismatics has been the rise of professional coin grading services. These companies employ expert coin graders to produce respected and accurate grades for old coins. Two of the largest "third party graders" are NGC and PCGS. Once a coin has been graded, it is encased in a clear plastic protective case known as a "slab."
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 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 Very Fine (VF35) Morgan dollar will exhibit light wear overall. High points will see light to moderate wear. All major details will be present. Approximately a quarter of fine details will be missing. Circulation damage may be holding this coin back from a better grade.
The cheek will show moderate abrasion and flattening. High points of the hair, such as the hairline, over the ear, and the curls by the date, will be flat, but retain major details. The cotton bolls in Liberty's hairband will be missing minor detail and exhibit some flatness. The same goes for the cotton leaves.
On the reverse, the breast and legs will be worn flat. Wing feathers will be present, but show wear. This is especially noticeable on the right wingtip.
A Morgan dollar graded Extremely Fine (XF45) will show light wear, especially on the high points. Nearly all minor details remain. The cheek will show less abrasion than the VF Morgan. An area likely to show wear is the cotton bolls and leaves. Only a portion of minor details will be visible there. Light wear will also show on the high points of the hair. A good portion of mint luster might remain. As with the VF coin, circulation damage may be holding this coin back from a better grade.
The eagle will show more detail, with feathers starting to appear on the breast and legs. The right wingtip will still show wear.
A typical "About Uncirculated" Morgan dollar will receive a grade of AU55 on the Sheldon scale. Any wear will be very light, and confined to the highest points on the coin. Mint luster should be practically complete, except on the cheek and those high points on the features. The AU55 Morgan dollar will show high eye appeal, even when compared with lower-grade (MS60 - MS62) Mint State coins.
Uncirculated Morgan Dollars
Uncirculated Morgan dollars, also known as Mint State are those coins that never entered commerce before being obtained by a collector. The collector could have acquired them directly from the Mint, from the Treasury Department, or from a bank.
While a Mint State Morgan dollar never saw circulation, this doesn't mean that it is unblemished. There are plenty of opportunities for a new coin to be damaged. Coins strike each other when they fall from the coining press into a holding bin, and when they are packaged into large canvas bags for storage and transportation. More damage can occur during transport. This doesn't mean that all uncirculated coins get damaged, but it does explain why there are so many lower-grade Mint State coins than nice ones.
Mint State 61
A MS61 Mint State Morgan dollar is not attractive. It usually has marks and scuffs across its surface, especially in prime focal points like Liberty's face and the field to her left. Some of the damage can be heavy. This all happened while the coin was being made, or stored. Despite its appearance, it's still a Mint State coin. It's rare to see any MS60 or MS61 coin professionally graded or slabbed, unless it's a very rare coin. There just isn't a market for coins in this condition, when a high-graded AU58 beats it in appearance.
Mint State 63
The MS63 Morgan dollar will have decent eye appeal. It will have fewer marks than a MS61 or MS62 coin, but still enough to be noticeable. There may be some light scuffing on Liberty's cheek from rubbing against other coins in storage bags.
As the mid-point between the unattractive MS60-MS-61 level and the appealing but very expensive MS65 grade, MS63 (and MS64) are the most popular Mint State grades for most Morgan dollars.
Mint State 65
A Mint State 65 Morgan dollar is the highest grade that most collectors will attempt. These coins will have full mint luster and a sharp strike. Any bag marks will be few and light. The old designation for this condition coin was "Gem Uncirculated", and they live up to the name.