Are Morgan Silver Dollars a Good Investment?

Posted - July 1, 2023
Are Morgan Silver Dollars a Good Investment

Morgan Silver Dollars represent a classic time in American bullion history. Featuring the likeness of Lady Liberty on the obverse and a majestic eagle on the reverse, many collectors consider them to be the pinnacle of early U.S. Mint coinage. The dramatic history of the coin – which includes removals from circulation, hoarding, and more – only adds to the collectible value of this exceptional antique coin.

Why are Morgan Silver Dollars worth so much? Will they go up in value? Most importantly for new collectors: are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment? Today, we’re discussing the potential investment value of the Morgan Silver Dollar. 

Understanding Morgan Silver Dollars

Morgan Silver Dollars are considered beautiful antique coins with both investment and collectible value today. But how did we get here? A smart investor should understand the history, details, and financial components behind their chosen market. Coins are no exception. Below, we’ll discuss the history and characteristics of the Morgan Silver Dollar. Before investors can answer the question, “are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment,” they should take a closer look at the history of this popular coin. 

Historical Background and Significance

1879S Morgan Dollar NGC MS67plus Reverse - PICRYL - Public Domain Media  Search Engine Public Domain Search
1879 S Morgan Silver Dollar

To understand the Morgan Silver Dollar, we need to go all the way back to the late nineteenth century. The world had changed and the United States was growing. To better meet consumer demand for bullion, U.S. Congress passed the Bland-Allison Act, which required the U.S. Mint to produce at least $2,000,000 worth of silver coins each month. The longer history of the Bland-Allison Act is a bit more complicated; it was replaced by another law in 1890 and then repealed in 1983 before being finally replaced by a new law around 1898. We know – that’s complicated! Are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment because of their unique cultural history? We say yes.

The good news is that the Morgan Silver Dollar was a near-immediate success. George T. Morgan’s depiction of the beautiful Lady Liberty was celebrated by coin enthusiasts, while his reverse-side artwork of a proud flying bald eagle was equally impressive to the average bullion buyer. The coin has become a favorite for investors because it remains one of the most valuable silver coins from the 1800s. It was also the U.S. Mint’s first attempt to produce a regular silver coin after silver was demonetized by the Coinage Act of 1873

Characteristics and Specifications 

The classic Morgan Silver Dollar includes 90% pure silver bullion and 10% copper. In 2021, the U.S. Mint began releasing .999 bullion editions of the same coin. 

The coin’s obverse depicts Lady Liberty, who wears her crown and stares proudly into the distance. She’s circled by thirteen stars to represent the thirteen original U.S. colonies, as well as our country’s motto: E Pluribus Unum. 

On the reverse, collectors will find a flying eagle who holds both a bundle of arrows and an olive branch in its talons. The denomination, name of the country, and “In God We Trust” are also featured on this side of the coin. This coin is clearly a beautiful collectable piece, but are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment because of their beauty alone? We’ll dive into some of the other benefits of investing in Morgan Silver Dollars below. 

Pros of Investing in Morgan Silver Dollars

Whether you’re buying one Morgan Silver Dollar or a bag of 500, coins are an investment. Like with any other investment, this product comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Why are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment to build your portfolio? This section will cover some of the main reasons why millions of coin collectors have chosen to invest in Morgan Silver Dollars. 

Rarity and Collectible Value

Morgan Silver Dollars are extremely collectible. Unlike junk silver coins, Morgan Silver Dollars can be valued for their collectible value – not just for their pure silver content. These coins represent a fascinating and crucial time in the history of both the United States and the U.S. Mint, which is one reason why so many collectors answer affirmatively when asked, “are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment?”

Some Morgan Silver Dollars are also extremely rare, which makes them more valuable as potential investments. During some years in certain mints, up to 20,000,000 Morgan Silver Dollars entered circulation. Some Morgan Silver Dollars are extremely rare, however, because of how few of them were minted that year from a given mint. In 1894, only 110,000 Morgan Silver Dollars were circulated bearing the mint mark “P,” which makes these coins exceptionally valuable to collectors. Why are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment? Their rarity is one reason behind this coin’s immense popularity. 

Historical and Cultural Appeal

The historical value of the Morgan Silver Dollar is one big reason behind its success. Why are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment historically? The answer to this question has less to do with the coin’s silver content and more to do with the unique place it occupies in American bullion history. In addition to sparking an entire generation of coin designs featuring Liberty and the bald eagle, the Morgan Silver Dollar represents a sort of ‘golden age’ in U.S. silver coinage

Potential for Long-Term Appreciation 

File:1889-p-morgan-dollar-obverse.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
1889 Morgan Dollar

Some investors see Morgan Silver Dollars as a good investment because of their potential for long-term appreciation. The good news for investors: the original Morgan Silver Dollars will never again be minted. Circulated Silver Dollars are a static commodity, meaning that their numbers don’t change from year to year. Rare Morgan Silver Dollars have a high probability of appreciating in value over time.

Morgan Silver Dollars also derive value from their silver content. As the price of silver increases, so does the value of a Morgan Silver Dollar. Combining the speculation possibilities of silver with the collectible value of the Morgan Silver Dollar makes these coins a popular option for investors who want to maximize their odds of a long-term profit. Are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment for long term gains? We generally think so. 

Risks and Challenges

In addition to the pros of investing in Morgan Silver Dollars, there are also several risks that any potential investor should be aware of. 

Market Fluctuations and Volatility 

Silver is a notoriously volatile market, and demand for silver coins shifts from year to year. The market could fluctuate at any time, and this could harm both the silver and the collectible value of the Morgan Silver Dollar. 

Authenticity and Grading Concerns

Morgan Silver Dollars are sometimes the targets of large-scale counterfeiting operations. Spotting a fake Morgan Silver Dollar can be challenging, so investors need to have a solid plan to vet the legitimacy of any coin they purchase – especially expensive or rare Morgan Silver Dollars. 

Liquidity and Selling Challenges

Because Morgan Silver Dollars are collectible items, liquidating your stock requires finding a collector who is interested in the specific variant(s) of the coin that you have. This can sometimes be difficult, and Morgan Silver Dollars might not sell as quickly or efficiently as a bullion coin like the Silver Britannia or Silver Eagle

Factors to Consider Before Investing 

Before you pour your money into the historically popular and culturally significant Morgan Silver Dollar, consider taking a closer look at your investment goals, objectives, and risk tolerances. 

Investment Goals and Time Horizon 

If you’re looking to make quite a bit of money from your investment quickly, Morgan Silver Dollars might not be for you. Their collectible status and historical trends suggest that Morgan Silver Dollars are solid long-term investments. Collectors who are not particularly interested in quick profit might benefit from considering the Morgan Silver Dollar. 

Coin Grading and Authentication Knowledge

We recommend that anyone investing in Morgan Silver Dollars learns how to authenticate and accurately grade their coins. It can sometimes cost a significant sum to get your coin professionally graded, and this eats into profits when it’s time to sell. As you shop around for Morgan Silver Dollars, having an understanding of how to accurately grade the condition of a coin can potentially save you thousands of dollars. 

Diversification and Risk Management 

Diversifying your silver bullion portfolio is always a good move. Investors who spend all of their capital on Morgan Silver Dollars risk losing large sums of money in the case of disaster, such as a mass counterfeit or an uncovered cache of tens of thousands of rare Morgan Silver Dollars. In these extreme scenarios, investors could potentially lose thousands of dollars overnight. Investing in multiple types of coins, bars, and rounds is a safer, sounder investment strategy to mitigate risk. 

Expert Opinions and Market Analysis

Experts in the bullion industry have frequently weighed in on the investment potential of Morgan Silver Dollars. 

Insights from Numismatic Experts

File:Moneda de 1 dólar USA 1921.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Liberty Dollar

Susan Headley is a numismatic coin expert who has worked with bullion for over thirty years. In one article, she writes that investors should only spend money on Morgan Silver Dollars with a relatively high grade. She argues that most of these coins are worth only their silver content unless they’re graded exceptionally high. Are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment if they’re not numismatically valuable? The silver content of these coins keeps them valuable, even if they aren’t worth much to collectors.

We tend to agree. If you want to buy something for its silver content alone, consider buying junk silver coins. Investors interested in the collectible value of Morgan Silver Dollars should look for rare mint marks and near-perfect condition coins. 

Historical Performance and Trends

Are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment during peak market periods? The value of most Morgan Silver Dollars is directly related to the spot price of silver. For the rarest Morgan Silver Dollars, especially uncirculated variants from rare mints (e.g. Carson City), accurate price trends are tough to find. As a general rule, the value of the rarest Morgan Silver Dollars has gone up consistently over the past few decades. The non-rare coins wax and wane in value as the price of silver shifts up and down. 

Factors Influencing the Value

The rarity of the coin, its condition, and the spot price of silver are the three main factors that influence the value of the Morgan Silver Dollar. Rare mint marks from mints like San Francisco or Carson City are typically more valuable. Misprints or errors on Morgan Silver Dollars can also significantly increase their value. When are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment? Changes in the market value of silver influence the price of a Morgan Silver Dollar. 

Case Studies and Success Stories

Thousands of high-profile and wealthy investors have made fortunes by speculating on the price of Morgan Silver Dollars. While it’s unlikely that you’ll stumble across a one-of-a-kind Morgan Silver Dollar and cash-in for a million dollars, the investor success stories below provide some insight into how intelligent investment choices can lead to massive returns. 

Real-Life Examples of Profitable Investments

In 2021, collectible auction firm Great Collections shattered their sales records when they made $2,000,000 from the sale of a rare collectible coin. That coin? The 1893-S Morgan Silver Dollar. Very few of these Morgan Silver Dollars were ever minted, and this particular coin was in exceptional condition for a collectible of its age. Are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment based on previous auction sales? There’s evidence to suggest that this is the case.

Some novice collectors have also accidentally stumbled upon a fortune with rare Morgan Silver Dollars. One man in 2016 found a Morgan Silver Dollar worth $53,000 while clearing the estate of his recently-deceased father. 

Factors Contributing to Success – Lessons Learned

Why are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment for some collectors but not others? We can’t learn much of a lesson from our second success story; some people are just really lucky! But the firm who sold their Morgan Silver Dollar coin for $2,000,000 certainly used more than luck to profit from their investment. Whether you’re a major sales firm or a novice collector, you can maximize your odds of profiting by studying up on how to identify a rare Morgan Silver Dollar. 

Alternatives to Morgan Silver Dollars

As we’ve discussed, Morgan Silver Dollars aren’t the only way to invest. For some investors, it might even be better to collect other, rarer collectible coins. If you’re wondering, “are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment compared to other collectable coins,” keep reading for a more detailed comparison. 

Other Collectible Coins and Numismatic Investments

Morganas, sidabras, doleris, atvirkštinis, uodega - nemokamos nuotraukos.
Rare Silver Dollar Coin

Investors who like the look of the Morgan Silver Dollar but prefer a higher silver content should consider purchasing some of the U.S. Mint’s modern Morgan Silver Dollars. These coins are made using .9999 pure silver bullion, making them as pure in silver content as any other bullion coin sold by the mint. Are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment for their silver content alone? Nope – Morgan Silver Dollars offer quite a bit of additional numismatic value.

Peace Dollars are also a popular alternative to the Morgan Silver Dollar. These coins are more modern than the Morgan Silver Dollar, but they also feature a reimagining of Lady Liberty on the obverse and a perched bald eagle on its reverse. 

Precious Metal Bullion and ETFs

Some investors are more interested betting directly on silver than speculating on numismatic coin value. If this is you, then precious metal ETFs and bullion products might be a better option. Hero Bullion offers a number of pure bullion products made with .999 or .9999 fine silver. Numerous stock exchanges also sell bullion ETFs, which allow investors to profit from movements in the price of silver without having to hold the actual precious metal. Are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment, or should you put your money in precious metals ETFs? 

Comparison of Pros and Cons

There are advantages and disadvantages to investing in Morgan Silver Dollars, as is the case with all investment options. For collectors who admire the history of the Morgan Silver Dollar and are comfortable with waiting a while for decent returns, the coin provides an unprecedented look into a fascinating period of U.S. history, as well as a moderately solid investment option. Are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment, or a bust? The answer is going to always depend on your personal investment goals and time horizon. 

But because these coins are frequently worth little more than their silver content, and since it takes a degree of expertise to adequately identify the Morgan Silver Dollars worth keeping, many investors might benefit more from investing in bullion or silver ETFs. 

Final Thoughts: Are Morgan Silver Dollars a Good Investment? 

Are Morgan Silver Dollars a good investment to expand your silver portfolio? Morgan Silver Dollars became popular during a golden age for the United States Mint. Even today, Morgan Silver Dollars are extremely coveted collectors items, especially when the rarer mint marks appear on the market. Investors who want to bet on Morgan Silver Dollars can maximize their profits by learning to accurately grade and value Morgan Silver Dollars. 

Hero Bullion sells several popular collectible coins, including the Morgan Silver Dollar. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about investing in collectible silver coins. 

About The Author

Michael Roets is a writer and journalist for Hero Bullion. His work explores precious metals news, guides, and commentary.