1903-S Morgan Silver Dollar Value
Finest Known: MS67 (NGC) MS67+ (PCGS)
Auction Record: $86,250 (MS67)
Image: USA CoinBook
The 1903-S Morgan dollar is one of the scarcest San Francisco Morgan dollars. The total estimated surviving mintage in all grades is less than 150,000 coins! Even if it wasn't so rare, its sharp strike and deep luster would still make the 1903-S a must-have date. Few 1903-S Morgan dollars were found in the GSA coin hoards of the 1960s which ignited modern interest in Morgan dollar collecting.
The Western U.S. used silver and gold coins in commerce long after the East Coast had adopted paper money to conduct daily business. This meant that, like most San Francisco mintages, many 1903-S Morgan dollars were released into circulation.
The Value of A 1903-S Morgan Dollar
The 1903-S Morgan dollar is considered a key date, and its exceptional luster and sharp strike only add to the coin's allure. Bucking the usual trend for Mint State (uncirculated) San Francisco Morgan dollars, the 1903-S is actually more rare in MS61–MS62 than in higher grades.
1903-S Morgan Dollar Price Guide
|Very Fine 25||Extremely Fine 45||About Uncirculated 55|
|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.
Uncirculated Morgan Dollars
Uncirculated coins are those that remained in sealed canvas Mint bags before being acquired by a coin collector. As a rule, these coins will have complete mint luster, and no "post-Mint" damage. However, when talking about Mint State coins, "uncirculated" does not mean "undamaged."
That last detail is important, because while Morgan dollars often were never paid out (people preferred paper silver certificates), they could still see substantial damage from being slung around in the giant canvas bags the same way bags of quarters, nickels, dimes, and cents were. The damage coins receive from banging into one another is called "bag marks."
No matter how beat up a Morgan dollar looks, if there is no circulation wear and it retains mint luster, it will grade as Mint State. This is why Mint State coins are graded from MS60 (worst) to MS70 (perfect). Because Morgan dollars were handled like any other circulation coin, there will never be a perfect MS70 Morgan dollar
Mint State 61
A MS61 Mint State Morgan dollar will have substantial mint damage. Much of this damage will be in prime focal areas (see "What Are The Prime Focal Areas On Morgan Dollars", above) Many large and small bag marks, and even gouges make this coin unattractive. It is readily apparent when a coin is going to grade as low as MS61. Coin collectors will not waste money having such a coin professionally graded, unless it is a rare mintage.
Mint State 63
Mint State MS63 (and MS64) Morgan dollars are more attractive than lower grades, with good strikes and mint luster. They will still have enough marks or scuffs to be distracting. Some of these will be in prime focal areas. None will be heavy or particularly detracting. MS63 and MS64 are the most popular grades of Morgan dollars. They're nicer than the MS60-MS62 coins, and not nearly as expensive as MS65 ones.
Mint State 65
A Mint State 65 Morgan dollar is also known as "Gem Uncirculated," with good reason. It will have a sharp strike, and full, attractive luster. It will show scattered light marks, with none in the prime focal areas. The eagle's breast or Liberty's cheek may display light friction from the time the coin spent in a bulk canvas bag in Treasury vaults The far higher attractiveness of a MS65 Morgan dollar explains the large difference in price when compared to a MS63 of the same date.
Mint State 66
MS66 Morgan dollars are rare, even when compared to a MS65. They will have a clean, sharp strike. The MS66 Morgan dollar boasts a pleasing, full original luster. It has very few, very light marks or imperfections that barely detract from the coin's very attractive appearance.