1921-S Morgan Silver Dollar Value
Finest Known: MS68 (NGC) MS67+ (PCGS)
Auction Record: $19,200 (MS67)
Image: USA CoinBook
Morgan dollar production in 1921 was totally unnecessary. Literally millions of untouched Morgan dollars filled Treasury vaults. However, the Pittman Act forced the US Mint to replace 270 million silver dollars that had been melted in World War I.
Since it was 99% certain that these new Morgan dollars would never see the light of day, the U.S. Mint made new shallow relief coin dies to get the most mileage possible from each die. This means that all 1921 Morgan dollars have a mushy appearance, even when fully struck.
The 1921-S Morgan dollar is exceedingly common. The 21.6 million mintage that year in San Francisco was the highest annual Morgan dollar mintage ever at the Mint. Even though millions of 1921-S Morgan dollars were melted in 1942 for the war effort, there are more than enough remaining for collectors today.
The Value of A 1921-S Morgan Dollar
The soft strike on the 1921-S Morgan dollar means that most of them lack much eye appeal. Traditionally, this issue is considered one of the worst looking Morgans. Demand is mostly for curiosity's sake, or to fill out a collection.
1921-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 1921-S.
The condition of any coin is the most important factor of its value aside from its rarity. Determining the condition of a coin is known as "grading." There are general standards for assigning a numbered condition grade for a coin, and specific places to check on each coin design.
The grading scale goes from 1 to 70, for reasons too lengthy to cover here. Instead of going through the entire Morgan dollar grading scale, we have chosen some basic condition tiers. If you have a rare Morgan dollar, we strongly suggest that you contact an independent professional coin grading service such as NGC or PCGS. Buyers will pay more for a scarce or rare coin, if it has been authenticated as genuine and bears a grade from a third-party coin grading service.
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
Modest to light wear on the coin's high points. Liberty's hairline may be flat, and some strands of hair above the ear worn away. Cotton balls and leaves are missing minor detail. Moderate wear on eagle's breast and head, where at least traces of a few feathers must remain. The right wingtip has minor wear.
Only minor wear visible on high points. Liberty's hairline should be nearly complete. The same goes for the hair behind the ear, and the curls of hair above the date. Cotton leaves may show light wear at the edges. The eagle's breast should only have light wear, but most feathers have been worn away. Right wingtip should retain nearly all its details.
All features and details should be visible. Only the very lightest of wear on the highest points of the coin.
Uncirculated Morgan Dollars
One aspect of coin collecting that can be confusing for people new to the hobby is the designation of "Uncirculated" or "Mint State." An uncirculated coin was never released to the public. Some collector obtained the coin directly out of a mint-sealed bank at the bank, or directly from the Mint. The confusing part is that a Morgan dollar that never saw the light of day can look worse than one that circulated.
Of course, Morgan dollars were intended for circulation. Aside from the small numbers of proof coins struck at the main U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, there was no more special care paid to the "business strike" Morgan dollars than there was for nickels or pennies.
This means that Morgan dollars could be damaged while being moved around and stored at the Mint. While wear is absent on all Mint State coins by definition, they can bear light or serious marks from being tossed into canvas bags to be moved and stacked in Treasury vaults.
Mint State 61
Uncirculated, but with practically no eye appeal at all. There isn't much of a market for uncirculated coins graded MS60 or MS61. These coins will show several "bag marks," where they were knocked around against other Morgan dollars in the giant canvas bags mentioned above.Some of these marks, scratches, and abrasions will be prominent, and in major focal areas of the design.
Mint State 63
A much more aesthetically pleasing coin than a MS61. Any bag marks will not be especially large, though several scratches and scuffs may be present. Most or all of the mint luster should remain, making for a moderately attractive coin.
Mint State 65
The MS65 Morgan dollar is the first grade that can be called "gem uncirculated'" and with good reason. This coin will retain all of its original mint luster, and only have a few very light, scattered scratches that keeps it from the very top ranks.
Note that MS66, just one step above this coin, is often the finest Morgan dollar of that date known.