100 Greatest United States Coins Series: 1895 Morgan Silver Dollar

Quick: name a year dated Morgan!

What did you come up with? 1921? 1878? 1893? How about the 1895 Morgan, or also known as the “King of the Morgan Silver Dollars”? With the limited nature of these pieces, it has more than earned its title and the story behind it along with its mintage is certainly enough to cement its place on the list of the top 100 United States coins.

In our next breakdown of the series that hones in on the Greatest United States Coins as comprised of in Whitman Publishing’s fourth edition, author Jeff Garrett along with Ron Guth place this coin in the top 30 with influence from coin dealers across the country. Let us explore more about this “King” of coins, including its very limited mintage that makes it the ultimate rare find.

#30 - 1895 Morgan Silver Dollar

The Morgan Silver Dollar was originally produced in 1878 and was designed by George T. Morgan, who would later on in his career become the seventh Chief Engraver of the United States Mint. However, it was not known then what the year 1895 would produce until years later when it was deemed the rarest of the Morgan dollars. In fact, completing a collection of Morgan dollars is deemed difficult because of it.

Mint records show that just 12,000 coins were produced in that year for circulation purposes and just 880 Proof versions were made for collectors at a premium. The only other coins close to the low mintages of the 1895 were the 1893-S and the 1894 as they both hold mintages of just 100,000 or more. They are only close to that of the 12,000 mintage which according to Whitman’s publication, is thought to have been wrong.

The problem with the “recorded mintage” of the 1895 Morgan Silver Dollar is that no circulation strike of the coin has actually ever been seen. While some believe it could be an accounting entry that was taken down for the wrong year, others believe that the only other explanation would be that they are “hiding somewhere.” The only 1895 Morgans that have been recorded in the public’s hands are those of highly worn Proofs that somehow escaped into circulation. If an actual 1895 Morgan Dollar was found that was not a Proof, that find would be the biggest in numismatics ever.

Because of its overall rarity and its low certified population of just 896, 1895 silver dollars are priced considerably higher than most Morgan dollars. Historical values found in the fourth edition find that the coin would sit at $1,500 in 1960 for a Choice Proof. That number increased to $17,500 just 20 years later. Over the years and the editions of the 100 Greatest U.S. Coins, the coin has drastically increased as the latest edition published in 2015 places the value at $60,000.