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I might go so far as to say…
Silver dollars are one of the most popular kinds of coins — outside of pennies.
Why People Save Silver Dollars
#1 – People have been assembling collections of U.S. silver dollars for ages, whether they consider themselves to be a collector of coins or not
I think they have such a large draw, as a collectible, for these reasons:
- They are old
- They are silver
- They are large
- They are heavy
- Some have strikingly beautiful designs
- They are valuable
Silver dollars have values ranging from $20 to $3,000 and up.
#2 – Silver dollars have been stowed away by many through the years for investment reasons.
These are the most valuable silver dollars for investment purposes.
It’s not uncommon to find silver dollars (often, hoards of them) in these locations:
- Estate sales and garage sales
- Investment portfolios
- Bank vaults
- Hidden treasure
- Old coin collections
Through the decades, many of the stored away silver dollars have been forgotten about… only to become a newfound treasure to another generation.
Here’s what to do if you’ve inherited someone else’s coins. (See how to organize, value, and potentially sell them!)
The Most Popular Silver Dollars Are Morgan Dollars
When people think of silver dollars, the common association is with the Morgan silver dollar.
This silver dollar was designed by George T. Morgan and produced by the United States Mint from 1878 through 1904, and for one final year: 1921.
Five different U.S. Mints facilities struck Morgan silver dollars. These are their mintmarks:
Morgan silver dollars are the ones you will likely find in magazine ads and on televised infomercials. And they often pop up in places like catalogs for various companies. Many Morgan dollars also show up in jewelry and watches.
Morgan dollars, which some call “coins of the Old West” (they were, in fact, popularly used throughout the West in the 1800s and early 1900s), are not as rare as some may believe.
In fact, many Morgan dollars were stashed by the thousands in bank vaults for decades, many of the coins in near-pristine condition. That may not be hard to believe once you see the super-high values for many of the high-grade ‘common-date’ Morgan dollars.
That said, many uncirculated Morgan dollars from the 19th and early 20th century can be had for under $50.
The Rarest, Most Valuable Morgan Silver Dollars
Morgan dollars are a complex series. To list out both the common and rare dates is not very practical here. There are dozens of scarce date-and-mintmark combinations, and many more common ones.
The rarest, most expensive of the Morgan dollars is the 1893-S silver dollar — which has a base price of almost $3,000, even in very worn condition.
The 1921 Morgan dollars are perhaps the date most commonly encountered. They are priced from around $20 to $35 — for worn grades all the way up to uncirculated.
The bulk of silver dollars from 1900-1904 (valued at $20 to $45) are also considered among the most common of the series — except for a few scarcer date-and-mintmark combinations produced during the time.
Many Morgan dollars minted during the 1880s and 1890s are similarly common and priced akin to the 1900-1904 and 1921 pieces.
It is best to refer to a good price guide when researching values for Morgan dollars.
One of the best books on the market is A Guide Book of United States Coins, by R.S. Yeoman and Kenneth Bressett. Often called ‘The Red Book,’ this is a great resource for Morgan silver dollars — as well as every other United States coin produced by the mint.
Peace Dollars Are Next, In Terms Of Popularity
Peace dollars (1921-1935) are almost as popular and widely collected as Morgan silver dollars.
Peace silver dollar values start at around $100 for the most worn grade of the 1921 silver dollar, and climb over $250 to $300 for uncirculated examples.
Peace dollars struck from 1922-1926 are the most commonly encountered, and many sell for between $20 to $30 — from lightly worn condition to lower uncirculated grades.
The 4 Other U.S. Silver Dollar Designs
The U.S. silver dollar has seen these 4 additional designs throughout the years, as well:
- Flowing Hair dollar coin (1794-1795)
- Draped Bust dollar coin (1795-1804)
- Seated Liberty dollar coin (1836-1873)
- Trade dollar coin (1873-1885)
However, relatively few non-collectors have heard of these other silver dollars.
Even among coin collectors and investors, while popular (and quite scarce), they do not seem to receive the same attention as Morgan silver dollars and Peace dollars.
But take my word for it, these 4 designs are still highly sought after by many collectors and investors. There are lots of coin collecting groups and clubs dedicated to studying these less-popular silver dollars!
The 2 Non-Silver U.S. Dollar Coins
Eisenhower dollars (1971-1978) are often grouped into the ‘silver dollar’ category. While the U.S. Mint did strike some Eisenhower dollars in a 40% silver clad composition, none were ever struck in silver for circulation.
All those which were struck for circulation were minted in a copper-nickel clad composition. None of the Eisenhower dollars are considered rare, and most can be had in uncirculated and proof varieties for $5 to $15 each. (If you happen to have one of these Eisenhower dollar error coins, then your coin will be worth much more than that!)
Susan B. Anthony Dollar
The last of the dollars which, as some would say, ‘look silver,’ is the Susan B. Anthony dollar, struck from 1979-1981 and again in 1999. Susan B. Anthony dollars have never received a whole lot of attention in the coin world, and among the general populace they were virtually snubbed altogether.
The Susan B. Anthony dollar has been popularly dubbed the ‘Carter Quarter’ for being struck on President Carter’s watch. It was widely mistaken for the quarter because of its close resemblance in size, shape, color, and design to the Washington quarter.
During the 1990s, certain sectors of commerce (such as the transportation industry) used dollar coins. This reintroduced the dollar coin to the general public.
By 1999, such circulation of the Susan B. Anthony dollar necessitated the striking of millions of Susan B. Anthony dollars to satisfy demand until the production of the golden-colored Sacagawea dollar in 2000.
These coins are worth face value of $1 apiece right now. That is, unless you have one of these Susan B. Anthony dollar coin errors!
Is A 1964 Silver Dollar Illegal To Own?
Have you heard all the talk about the 1964 silver dollar?
Having the same design as the Peace dollar of 1921-1935, the 1964 Peace silver dollar (which was struck at the Denver mint) was ultimately never placed into circulation.
In fact, the U.S. government claims to have melted down all of the more than 300,000 1964-D silver dollars!
However, it is highly speculated that at least a few escaped melting, and therefore it is thought that an unknown small quantity still exist today.
A rare coin, huh?
Not officially — and you will not find any at your local coin dealer’s shop or at any coin auction.
Yes, the 1964-D Peace dollar is considered illegal to own, and if the U.S. Government finds out that you have one, they will confiscate it!
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!