1904-O Morgan Silver Dollar Value
Finest Known: MS67+ (NGC) MS67+ (PCGS)
Auction Record: $39,950 (MS67)
Image: USA CoinBook
The 1904-O Morgan silver dollar was the last silver dollar produced at the New Orleans Mint. The only reason that the New Orleans Mint had been brought back into service in 1878 was to strike Morgan dollars. With the supply of silver the government was forced to buy by the Bland-Allison and Sherman Silver Purchase acts finally exhausted in 1904, the New Orleans Mint's purpose ended.
Minor silver coins would be struck in New Orleans until the Mint was closed down for good in 1909. (Trivia: more than ten million Morgan dollars of several different dates remained in storage at the New Orleans Mint for twenty years after it was shut down. They were all shipped to the main U.S. Mint in Philadelphia in 1929 and stored in sealed vaults.)
It is estimated that only a few hundred thousand 1904-O Morgan dollars were released into circulation, with most of the 3.7 million production run going directly into the vault. These coins were assumed to have been among the 270 million silver dollars melted down in 1918 under the Pittman Act.
This extreme shortage of 1904-O Morgan dollars in any condition, much less Mint State, made the coin one of the rarest Morgan dollars of the entire series for fifty years. This situation was turned on its ear in 1962, when over one million 1904-O Morgan dollars were disgorged from long-term storage at the Philadelphia Mint. More of the coins were later released from U.S. Treasury Department vaults in Washington, D.C.
The Value of A 1904-O Morgan Dollar
The 1904-O went from one of the rarest New Orleans Mint Morgan silver dollars to one of the most common literally overnight. Like some other mintages where nearly all the coins were unknowingly hidden away in government vaults until modern times, the 1904-O Morgan dollar is actually more scarce in circulated grades than in low Mint State.
1904-O 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.