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Factors Affecting Silver Dollar Values

As with all markets, prices are set by supply and demand.  Grade is probably the single most important factor in valuing coins as it drastically affects both the supply and demand.  The higher the grade, the more supply decreases and demand increases. 


Supply is largely affected by:

  1. The number of coins originally minted in that date and mint location.
  2. The number released into circulation and the number left in storage
  3. The number of coins melted in subsequent periods

Mintage figures are widely published for each date and mint mark and sets the maximum potential supply.  The number released into circulation is signficant as circulated coins almost inevitable received some wear, although many will still grade well since silver dollars weren't frequently used in daily commerce.  Those that remained in bank vaults should have avoided wear, however, the coins may have developed toning or tarnish depending on the conditions of their storage.  Many in storage were susceptible to melting when more silver was needed for other coinage or when the intrinsic silver content of the coins exceeded their face value, a situation that occurred several times and ultimately led to the removal of silver from modern US coinage.   Certain dates are far less common than their mintage figures would suggest due to melting.  For example, the Pittman Act of 1918 led to the melting of many Morgans produced from 1878 to 1904 in order to provide silver for World War I.  Therefore, there are fewer of these coins than mintage figures suggest.  By contrast, approximately 86 million Morgans were produced in 1921, making this date the most common of the series. 

For the new Peace dollars, the opposite scenario occurred.  Production of the Peace design started in late December, 1921, so there is a small supply.  The most common date is 1922, although the mint continued producing the coins until 1928, and again from 1934 to 1935.  However, the mintages for these later dates is very low.  By that time, the mint had exceeded the required quota and excess supply sat in storage. 


Like modern dollar coins, silver dollars did not receive widespread use during their production years, except in some western areas.  Alot changes in a century; today the Morgan dollar is probably the single most collected coin with the Peace dollar not far behind.  The coins are widely viewed as symbols of the American frontier days.  Additionally, the large number of coins existing in uncirculated grades makes it practical to purchase almost flawless coins. 

Demand, and therefore price, increase rapidly in the uncirculated grades.  MS-65 coins often sell for at least double an MS-60 coin.  The price differential among uncirculated grades has increased in part due to investors who entered the coin market starting in the 1980's.  The large number of coins, combined with the availability of professional coin grading services, made high-grade coins commodities that could be traded on markets similar to precious metals like gold or platinum. 

Current Market Values for Silver Dollars

Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) publishes updated market values for Morgan and Peace series dollars.  These listings are available on their website through the following links.  Note that for many date and mint-mark combinations, several die varieties exist.  The first variety is the usually the most common and lowest in price.   
    Morgan Dollars     Peace Dollars

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