1904 Morgan Silver Dollar Value
Finest Known: MS66+ (NGC) MS67 (PCGS)
Auction Record: $17,625 (MS66)
Image: USA CoinBook
In 1904, the U.S. Mint finally used up the silver it had been forced to buy by the 1878 Bland-Allison Act and the 1890 Sherman Silver Purchase Act. The same Acts made it mandatory to turn the silver into silver dollars. In fact, the Morgan dollar had been invented specifically to mint these mandatory silver dollars.
The Philadelphia Mint had used up most of its remaining Morgan dollar silver in January 1904, and by June was completely done. For some reason, the 1904 Morgan dollar was one of the worst struck Philadelphia Mint coins of the entire series.
The Value of A 1904 Morgan Dollar
This mintage is infamous for bad and weak strikes. Even though nearly all of the mintage is believed to have been melted down (an estimated 2.5 million of the 2.7 million mintage), the coin is not hard to find in circulated grades. Most of the Mint State coins show damage from careless storage. Along with the indifferent quality of the strike, one gets the impression that Mint employees were just glad that they'd never have to make another Morgan dollar. (That ended up not being exactly true. 17 years later, in 1921, one last mintage of Morgan dollars was ordered.)
1904 Morgan Dollar Price Guide
|Very Fine 25||Extremely Fine 45||About Uncirculated 55|
|Mint State 61||Mint State 63||Mint State 65||Auction Record (MS66)|
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.