Morgan Silver Dollar Mint Marks – An Illustrated Guide
Morgan Silver Dollars are a popular way to invest in circulated silver. These coins were minted from 1878 to 1904, with a small restrike decades later in 1921. For coin collectors, the Morgan Silver Dollar holds a special significance. It was this coin that helped to popularize the silver dollar, both as a currency and a collectible.
If you’re wondering about Morgan Silver Dollar values, a coin’s mint mark might be the most important thing that you need to understand. Morgan Silver Dollar Mint Marks can help to determine how valuable a silver dollar is. During certain years, some mints produced a very limited number of Morgan Silver Dollars.
Do you have one of the rare Morgan Silver Dollar Mint Marks? Silver dollars from mints like Carson City could potentially be worth thousands of dollars, depending on their year and condition.
Today, we’re taking a close look at how to find a Morgan Silver Dollar’s mint mark, as well as the history behind some of the best-selling Morgan Silver Dollars on the market.
What Are Morgan Silver Dollars?
Morgan Silver Dollars are one of several silver dollars distributed by the U.S. Mint to be used as currency. This particular silver dollar remains a favorite for collectors all over the world, and we don’t have any trouble understanding why. Featuring .90 fine silver and a variety of possible mint marks, the Morgan Silver Dollar is a certifiable classic.
Before we get into the common (and rare) Morgan Silver Dollar mint marks, let’s look over a brief history of one of America’s most famous silver dollars.
History of the Morgan Silver Dollar
The name of the Morgan Silver Dollar is taken from the coin’s artist, George T. Morgan. Designed with the blessing of the relatively new U.S. Mint in 1878, Morgan attempted to represent Lady Liberty – the feminine personification of America and its commitment to freedom and liberty.
His work led to what we now recognize as one of the most important coins ever made in the United States. From 1878 until 1904, the Morgan Silver Dollar was the national silver dollar of the United States. The coin features Morgan’s depiction of Lady Liberty on the obverse. This particular portrait is based on Anna Willess Williams, a teacher and model.
The reverse of this coin highlights another American symbol, the bald eagle. The eagle here flies into the sky, carrying a bundle of arrows and an olive branch in its talons.
How to Find Mint Marks on Morgan Silver Dollars
For our purposes, the most important element of this silver dollar is the Morgan Silver Dollar mint marks. These tiny symbols represent the mint that produced a given coin. As we’ll discuss later, some mint marks are extremely rare, and coins with these mint marks in good condition can fetch quite a bit of money at auction.
To find Morgan Silver Dollar mint marks, you’ll need to flip the coin over to its reverse side. Below the tail feathers of the bald eagle and the wreath surrounding it, you’ll see a very small letter. This letter is called the “mint mark,” and it helps collectors identify which mint released that particular coin.
Morgan Silver Dollars – Key Mint Marks
For Morgan Silver Dollar collectors, there are five main mint marks to look out for. No mint mark means that your Morgan Silver Dollar was minted at the Philadelphia Mint. CC stands for Carson City, S means San Francisco, O signifies New Orleans, and the ‘D’ mint mark means your coin was minted at the Denver Mint.
Let’s take a closer look at Morgan Silver Dollar mint marks and what they mean.
No Mint Mark – Philadelphia
Throughout the minting history of the Morgan Silver Dollar, the Philadelphia Mint was the go-to manufacturer. With a few exceptions, the Philadelphia mint produced the highest number of Morgan Silver Dollars out of any mint each year.
Philadelphia doesn’t have a mint mark – at least, not on these coins. Instead, you’ll know your coin is from Philadelphia if it has no mint mark on its reverse.
These coins generally aren’t worth very much unless they’re from a year where the Philadelphia Mint produced very few Morgan Silver Dollars, which was the case in 1894 and 1899.
CC – Carson City
Compared to the other Morgan Silver Dollar mint marks, numismatists generally consider CC to be the rarest. Coins with this mint mark were minted at Carson City Mint in Nevada. This mint popped up in 1863 and became operational during the gold rush in 1870.
Carson City’s location was very important. Located very close to an active silver mine in Nevada, the mint was a popular choice when the U.S. Mint wanted coins to be manufactured quickly. Since it was so near an existing mine, mint experts could cut down on shipping costs by making silver dollars at Carson City.
Some CC mint mark Morgan Silver Dollars are worth quite a bit of money because of how rare coins from this mint are.
S – San Francisco
Like Philadelphia, the San Francisco Mint was called upon to create a large percentage of the Morgan Silver Dollars that entered circulation in the 1800s and early 1900s.
Morgan Silver dollars with the mint mark “S” were minted at the San Francisco Mint. Because of how many coins were made at the San Francisco Mint during this time period, Morgan Silver Dollar mint marks with an “S” are generally not very valuable.
Still, certain years, such as 1893, saw a decreased output from the San Francisco Mint. When kept in stellar condition, these silver dollars can be quite valuable.
O – New Orleans
The New Orleans Mint was shut down in 1861 and reopened once again in 1879. This means that the mint’s reopening came just one year after the Morgan Silver Dollar made its premiere as a currency.
Morgan Silver Dollars with an “O” mint mark were minted at the New Orleans Mint. Unlike the other Morgan Silver Dollar mint marks, there aren’t very many years where the New Orleans Mint’s production of Morgan dollars took a dive.
For the most part, “O” silver dollars aren’t very valuable.
D – Denver
The Denver Mint’s mint mark is one of the most unique Morgan Silver Dollar mint marks out there. It isn’t particularly rare, but “D” silver dollars were actually only minted for one year. This is because the Denver Mint didn’t open its doors until 1906 – one year after the initial minting run of the Morgan Silver Dollar concluded.
When Morgan Silver Dollars were struck once again for 1921, only three of the original mints responsible for producing the coin were still able to produce this iconic silver dollar. One of them was the newly established Denver Mint.
Morgan Silver Dollar mint marks with a “D” on them are from the Denver Mint. While they’re not particularly rare or valuable to collectors, these coins are unique because they only come from one year – 1921.
Rarest Morgan Silver Dollar Mint Marks
Most numismatists agree that the rarest Morgan Silver Dollar mint marks come from the Carson City Mint. This mint popped up in the middle of a major gold rush and was located conveniently close to an active silver mine.
As a result, these coins tend to be pretty rare, especially when we compare the Carson City Mint’s output to goliaths like Philadelphia and San Francisco.
There are some exceptions. A few of the other rarest Morgan Silver Dollar Mint Marks include the 1894 Philadelphia (no mint mark), 1893 San Francisco (S), and 1899 Philadelphia (no mint mark).
Check out the rarest mint marks from each mint:
|Philadelphia (No Mark)
|New Orleans (O)
|San Francisco (S)
|Carson City (CC)
Final Thoughts: Morgan Silver Dollar Mint Marks
Morgan Silver Dollar mint marks are one of the most important factors that help us determine the value of a silver dollar. Mint marks are small letters included at the bottom of the reverse of Morgan Silver Dollars, and they tell us which of the various U.S. Mints produced that particular coin.
Do you still have questions about Morgan Silver Dollar mint marks? Feel free to reach out to our dedicated customer service team for more information.
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About The Author
Michael Roets is a writer and journalist for Hero Bullion. His work explores precious metals news, guides, and commentary.