Silver Morgan Dollars are a piece of American history beloved by millions. If you collect them, you know how interesting they can be to collect, and you may be wondering how to sell some or all of your collection. Like with dozens of other unique items, pawn shops are a fantastic place to offload your pieces for a great price or look for that elusive coin missing from your collection.
Plenty of people buy Morgan Silver Dollars from pawn shops, and there are always new types coming in and out, so finding a pawn shop you can trust is essential to keep tabs on your coins. After all, you never know when the right deal will come along.
What Is a Morgan Dollar?
Although it has a face value of $1, the Morgan Silver Dollar is legendary throughout the United States and a genuine piece of our history. These large, heavy coins were first minted in 1878 of .900 silver. Morgan Dollars were primarily circulated in the West, where they were named “cartwheels” due to their considerable size and weight.
Depending on the grade, Morgan Dollars are a good investment if you’re a collector, especially those with valuable errors. Even if you aren’t a collector, they’re a great addition to any history lover’s home.
Morgan Dollar History
The Morgan Dollar’s rich and colorful history begins in the heart of the Wild West. The mining of the 1859 Comstock Lode in Nevada brought this coin to life. At the time, silver was banned as a legal tender by law. The passing of the Bland-Allison Act re-authorized its use, and soon, silver dollars became synonymous with the adventurous spirit of the West — cowboys were paid in Morgans, and the coin quickly became commonplace at poker tables.
These historic mementos were named after their designer, George T. Morgan, who used Philadelphia school teacher Anna Williams as a model for Lady Liberty. The first coins were struck in her hometown of Philadelphia. Later that year, they were struck in San Francisco and Carson City. In 1979, New Orleans was minting Morgans, and minting continued there until 1904.
Throughout their history, Morgans became a symbol of freedom and adventure. Having one is a constant reminder of the time of cowboys and America’s exhilarating past — the frontier towns, the silver rush and the men and women who shaped the country for decades.
Morgan Dollar Popularity
Morgan Dollars became known as “The King of America’s Coins” early on. The name stuck, and the Morgan Dollar is often considered the most collectible coin in America. Many Morgans survived over the years, often in uncirculated condition. Their prevalence made them a staple for collectors. When you take their heftiness and association with the intrigue of the old West, it’s easy to see why Morgans are a popular choice.
Morgan Dollar Metal Contents
Silver is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a Morgan Dollar. The metal contents of the silver Morgan include:
- 1878-1904 and 1921 Morgan Dollars are 90% silver and 10% copper.
- Morgan Dollars made in 2021 are 99.9% silver.
2021 Morgan Dollars
In 2021, the United States Mint reissued the Morgan Dollar to celebrate a century since its last minting in 1921. Unlike the original Morgan, this anniversary coin was made for collectors, not circulation.
The 2021 Morgan Dollar was released with an uncirculated finish with five versions of the reverse to honor each mint that struck the original coin. These five versions include:
- Denver mint: This coin bears a “D” mark.
- San Francisco mint: This version bears an “S” mark.
- New Orleans mint: This coin was minted with an “O” privy mark to recognize Louisiana’s historic New Orleans mint.
- Carson City mint: This version has a “CC” privy mark to memorialize the Carson City mint in Nevada.
- Philadelphia: One of the 2021 Morgan Dollars has no mint mark to recognize the original Philadelphia mint.
The 2021 Morgan is the same width as the original but slightly lighter due to its composition. In 2023, the Mint released additional Morgans in uncirculated, proof and reverse-proof finishes.
Buying or Selling Morgan Dollars at a Pawn Shop
Whatever your interest in Morgan Dollars, a pawn shop is a great way to explore them. If you’re looking to buy, a pawn shop specializing in luxury goods is a great place to explore building your collection. If you’re selling, coins are an item that holds considerable value.
Knowing where to sell Morgan Dollars is essential. A pawn shop with expertise in coins can potentially offer you a great deal, depending on the following factors:
- Coin condition: It makes sense that the better the coin’s condition, the higher the price. Specific areas of the Morgan Dollar are more prone to wear, such as Lady Liberty’s cheek, hair and crown on the obverse (heads) and the tips of the eagle’s wings and leaves of the wreath on the reverse (tails).
- Year: You might think that the older the coin, the more valuable, but it’s more complicated than that. If your Morgan year happens to be one where fewer coins were minted, it’s often more valuable.
- Rarity: In general, the rarer a coin, the more valuable it is, which is why coins with errors fetch high prices.
- Mint mark: Where the coin is minted often plays a significant role in its value. Morgan Dollars from the same year might differ in value depending on which mint they come from.
Whether you’re an experienced coin collector or looking to start a new hobby, a pawn shop is an excellent place to track down your next collector’s coin. However, before you rush into your nearest pawn shop, it pays to do some homework. Find the right pawn shop with knowledgeable staff who can give you the information you need to buy. Working with a trustworthy broker is essential to get the most joy from collecting coins.
The Most Valuable Morgan Dollars
Silver Morgans vary in value depending on the factors we discussed above. However, you never know when you might own something rare and valuable. The five most valuable Morgan Dollars are:
- Uncirculated 1901 Unmarked Morgan Silver Dollar Mint Condition: Only 10% of the coins struck at the Philadelphia mint survived. As a result, uncirculated coins with no mint mark from 1901 are scarce, and those in pristine condition even more so.
- Uncirculated 1893-S Morgan Dollar Mint Condition: Only 100,000 coins were ever issued, and many were melted down.
- Uncirculated 1884-S Morgan Silver Dollar, Mint Condition: Mint state examples of this coin are almost nonexistent, as most entered circulation and are now heavily worn.
- Uncirculated 1889-CC Morgan Silver Dollar Mint Condition: 1889 Morgan Silver Dollars minted in Carson City are rare and extremely valuable.
- Uncirculated 1886-O Morgan Silver Dollar, Mint Condition: This New Orleans-minted coin is another one that almost disappeared due to the melting of silver coins under the 1918 Pittman Act. The closer they get to mint standard, the higher the value.
Buy or Sell Morgan Dollars at The Vault Jewelry and Loan
Whether you’re looking to buy or sell Morgan Dollars, you need to find a trusted facilitator to help you. When you’re ready to sell, you can pass your coins to someone who appreciates their value.
The Vault Jewelry and Loan has dealt in Morgan Dollars for many years, making us true experts you can trust to evaluate, appraise and price your treasured items at our pawn shops across Virginia. We have an extensive selection of coins for buyers and pride ourselves on providing our customers with an honest and transparent experience. Contact us online or call us at 703-379-1006 to learn more today!