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The 1885 silver dollar, generally known as the Morgan silver dollar, shows the profile of Lady Liberty on the front side and a wing spread eagle holding the arrows and an olive branch at the back side. You could recognize its reverse which is quite similar to a quarter. The value of the silver dollar has increased significantly, and the 1885 silver dollar in not an exception. The Morgan silver dollars are not considered rare since 1885, but the low production from the Carson City and the San Francisco mints offer a range of price options for the collectors to choose.
Why the Morgan Silver dollar came into existence?
The “Morgan silver dollar” had been made in order to maintain the cost of silver at a stable price after a huge strike of silver in Colorado that caused an immediate collapse in the cost of silver. The silver dollar was produced from 1878 till 1904, and then it was stopped because of the increase in the price of silver, and then it was made for one year more in 1921.
The silver dollar was minted at various locations including the Denver, Carson City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New Orleans; only Philadelphia and Denver are the mint locations in the present date. Morgan Silver dollar’s value mainly relies as per its year, its preservation quality and the mint where it was produced.
The Morgan silver coin was the first among the minted coins that used “E Pluribus Unum” slogan. Its a big coin, with a size similar to the half dollar which is being used today or may be a little larger with a silver content of up to 90 %, thus its silver content weight is more than 23 grams.
Unlike the various other coins that had been minted more than 100 years back, Morgan silver dollar has a high grade of DMPL, such coins possess very heavy frosted device and images, thus these parts resemble matte, however they have a polished silver back ground. The old Morgan silver dollar probably follows this format as compared to the late ones, providing the new DMPL dollars more value.
Grades of Morgan Silver Dollar
This dollar’s other grades are Uncirculated, Proof, Poor and Good. The level of its wear determines the level of the coin. A near perfect or perfect coin which is already used is Uncirculated; the perfect, sealed coin which has been never touched even a single time is a Proof; a coin with a little wear is Fair; a coin which is near perfect with some scratches is Good; and an extremely worn out coin, with worn smooth edges, is Poor, which is the lowest in grade.
In these grades, the Morgan silver dollar which are “Poor”, normally have a very low value, however there are some exceptions. You can find out the mint marks, a letter and a dash located just after the minting year. The mint marks might be
- Philadelphia – P
- San Francisco – S
- Carson City – CC
- New Orleans – O
- Denver – D
Off these, the coins of Carson City have the best value.
The Morgan Silver dollars have become quite famous as a silver investment vehicle for the coin collectors as they require a good amount of money to purchase, and have proved well in the past as a silver investment and have a very beautiful resemblance.
The use of silver as money took thousands of years after the discovery of silver around 6000 years ago. It was only around 652-561 B.C. that the Lydian Trite, which is regarded by experts to be one among the first coins utilized as money, came to exist in circulation in Lydia ( Turkey). The Lydian Trite was a mixture of silver and gold. In Greece, the earliest type of pure silver coins called Athenian Owl were discovered and calculated to be around 449-413 B.C. and remained in circulation up to 30 B.C. due to its popular influence. In Ancient Egypt where silver was considered more precious than gold, “Silver Tetradrachm” was circulated around 300 B.C.
The Silver Shekel coins were circulating during the time of Jesus as they were around 126 B.C.-66 A.D. in Phoenicia particularly in Tyre. This type of silver coin which was 90% pure silver was believed to the one Judas received in exchange for betraying Jesus and handling him into the hands of the Sanhedrin. During the height of the Roman Empire, the Silver Denarius was the commonly used silver coin in circulation especially among vassal territories as it was regarded as “tribute penny”. This type of coin was mentioned in some Biblical passages particularly in the gospels of Matthew (22:19) and Mark (12:15).
In the United States, it was on March 4, 1789 when the US Constitution delegated congress to coin money, thus making silver and gold the only legal tender for debts payment. It took over three years to establish the first US Mint in the state of Philadelphia when the Coinage Act became a law on April 2, 1792. But it took more than two years after the opening of the first US Mint when the first official US Silver Dollar was publicly circulated. The major discovery of silver ore in Nevada gave rise to the production of silver coins of various types. The demonetizing of silver coins was paved by Coinage Act of 1873 ending the production of silver coins replacing them with silver certificates in 1878 and adopted the gold standard.
The stoppage of silver coin production in 1891 has created great interest among coin collectors to get hold those silver coins for silver investment or profit taking in the future. Take for instance the Liberty Seated Dime – which came to exist in several varieties was produced from 1836-1891 and which came in half dime, twenty cent, quarter dollar and silver dollar denominations. The Liberty Seated Dime was designed by William Kneass but was unable to finish the whole process due to stroke and was continued and completed by Christian Gobrecht. The design of the Liberty Seated Dime featured lady liberty sitting on a rock holding a staff that has a liberty cap on its top. Her right hand is resting on a shield with the word LIBERTY inscribed on it. On the reverse side, the ONE DIME words are surrounded with wreath.
In particular, the 1885 Liberty Seated Dime which has a face value of $0.10 and current silver melt value at $2.34 could be priced around $ 13.00 to $ 225.00 when in its perfect state, i.e., without flaw and with certification. This type of coin is 90% silver making it one among the most collectible coins and a precious metal IRA for investment.
1) It is widely recognized – out of all the Morgan silver dollars and other silver rounds and coins, the 1885 silver dollar is the most recognizable coin among both veteran and basic collectors. Because of this wide spread popularity, it will be very easy to collect and resell this coin at a good price.
2) Silver dollar is portable – A single coin of is very portable. You can keep one in your pocket or you can easily hide it somewhere in your house. If you are concerned with security, you can even easily spread it around so that it will be harder to find them all.
3) It is a piece of art – It’s a beautifully designed coin that is no longer made, so that means the value will only go UP. A renowned investor Mark Ford has observed that all numismatic coins are art, and that art pieces only go up in value year-over-year.
4) Silver has intrinsic value – On average, a 1885 silver dollar is made out of 90% silver. This means that unlike your dollar bill in your wallet, which is a fiat currency, a silver coin’s value will never go to 0. A dollar bill is only backed by the word of the government and nothing else, but silver can be melted down and be used for jewelries, medicine, film, electronics, silverware, and even medicine.
5) Silver is currently undervalued – Traditionally, gold is worth 13 times the value of silver. This ratio is the expected ratio because on average, there are 13 times more silver than gold that can be found on earth, both above and underground. But right now due to silver price manipulation, you can buy as much as 55 ounces of silver per ounce of gold! This is an unprecedented event, especially multiplied by the fact that silver now has more uses than ever before, and is essential in our everyday life. When gold and silver value are finally free to be determined by the market, silver will have way more to go up than gold.
1. Buy In Bulk- If you buy one 1885 silver dollar then you will usually pay a higher price per coin than if you buy 10 or 20 of these coins all at once. Many coin dealers offer a discount for customers who make larger purchases, and this can mean incredible savings on the price that you pay for these coins. The dealer is willing to charge a lower commission in exchange for the purchase of coins in bulk and this will allow you to get the best possible price.
2. Compare Sellers- Every coin dealer and seller is different, and some will have lower prices then others. Compare what each one charges for this coin and then decide which one offers the best deal. Be wary of any dealer that offers coins at a price below market value though because there are many forged coins and fakes on the market to watch out for.
3. Check The Internet- Search the Internet to get the best price quote on an 1885 silver dollar. Many online merchants can offer lower prices because they have lower costs and expenses. This creates a win win situation. You get the coins you want at a great low price and the dealer still makes a profit. Just make sure that the dealer chosen is trusted and has a solid business reputation and history to keep your risks low.
4. Choose Coins That Are More Common- Coins that are very rare will go for outrageous amounts of money. Choosing coins that are more common will lower the demand for the coins and this will help lower the price. There are many prized coins that are affordable due to the fact that they are more common, and these have less of a chance of being overpriced.
5. Know The Coin Value And Negotiate- Know the approximate value of the 1885 silver dollar that you are looking for before you start your search. If you understand what the actual value of this coin is you will be able to tell whether you are being given a fair price for the coin or being ripped off.
If you have an 1885 silver dollar there are many ways that you can have the value of this coin appraised. The best method is to simply take the coin to an independent professional appraiser and pay a fee. There is an expense involved but you will get peace of mind knowing that you are getting an honest and accurate assessment of the coin value. Since the appraiser is not interested in buying the coin you do not have to worry about any potential conflicts.
A professional appraiser has experience and is very knowledgeable in all types of coins. Make sure that you choose an individual who is well known in the coin industry, and who has all of the needed credentials to accurately rate the condition and the value of your coin. This will give you the best possible results and a value you can depend on.
You can also take your 1885 silver dollar to a coin dealer and inquire about possibly selling the coin. The price offered by the dealer will give you a ball park idea of what your coin is worth, but this method will not provide an exact value. A coin dealer will offer a price that is typically lower than the market value that the coin has. The dealer is in business to make a profit, so they will buy low and sell high.
You can also call or visit a dealer and ask about buying the specific coin that you have and want valued. If you visit the coin store then look and see if there are any coins like yours offered. This will also give you a reasonable price estimate but the dealer price will include a mark up that is charged for the transaction.
An 1885 silver dollar value may be determined by using the available pricing guides and coin collection websites that are available. These methods are free to use and can help you assess just how much your coin is worth. There are many coin guides to choose from and each will generally list the specific coin and mint mark. These guides will also show the possible value that the coin will have depending on the condition it is in.
1. Mint Where The Coin Was Produced- An 1885 silver dollar will be valued in part based on the mint that produced the coin. There were 4 mints that were used to produce these silver dollars. Out of the four the San Francisco facility only minted 1.5 million coins, and Carson City minted less than 500,000. These two versions are worth the most, with the Carson City mint coins having the highest possible value.
2. Coin Condition- The current condition of the coin is also used in calculating the value of a coin. Many of the coins still available from this year are not in mint condition and have significant wear or damage. A Carson City coin in mint condition may bring in $1,500 or more if the coin was never circulated, but many of these silver dollars may only be worth $30-$40. Even a small decrease in condition can cause a drastic drop in value for these coins.
3. Demand For The Coin- The 1885 silver dollar is in high demand, and this will impact the price. The rarest of these coins may not be found very often, and when they hit the market they are quickly snapped up and taken right back off of it. There is a high demand for all versions of this coin.
4. Number Of Coins Originally Minted- The value of the silver dollar will be based on how many of the coins were originally minted. The most valuable coins are from the Carson City Mint, and this is due to the fact that this mint produced very few of these coins so there is a much smaller chance of finding one. Mints that produced fewer coins will see these coins have a higher value.
5. Number Of Coins That Still Exist- The value of an 1885 silver dollar will also depend on the exact number of these coins that still exist today. Often older coins were melted down to produce new coins, and some versions are common while others are much more rare and only available in very small numbers. Often coins are graded on a rarity scale to show just how rare or common a coin is based on the number of available coins left.
1. Sheldon Grading System- An 1885 silver dollar may be graded for quality using the Sheldon grading system. This system uses a numerical base that ranges from 0-70. Coins in the finest condition that are still pristine will be a 70. Coins that have no detail left and are in extremely poor condition will be close to a 0 on this scale. This grading system was developed in 1948 by Dr. William Herbert Sheldon, and it revolutionized the way that coin quality was graded.
2. European Grading System- Different European countries use different grading systems but they are basically very similar. The systems are all based on the amount of design and luster that is left on the coin.
3. Sheldon Rarity Scale- An 1885 silver dollar may also be graded using the Sheldon rarity scale. This scale was also developed by Dr. William Herbert Sheldon, and he created this scale in 1958. The scale uses designations R1=R8 to show just how rare a specific coin is. R1 coins are very common and can be easily found without any effort at all. R8 coins are extremely rare and considered unique, there may only be a few still in existence and they almost never come up for sale.
4. Universal Rarity Scale- The University Rarity Scale uses the numbers 0-20 to designate just how rare a specific coin actually is. A rating of URS 0 means that there are no known coins of this type in existence. URS 1 means that there is only 1 coin known about of this type, and this coin is unique and one of a kind. This scale is based on the number of known coins of this specific type that are still available.
5. Scholten Scale- An 1885 silver dollar may also be graded using the Scholten Scale. This scale was developed in 1953 by C. Scholten. The scale uses letters to signify how rare a coin is. C stands for Common, N means the coin is normal, and S means scarce. An R rating means a rare coin, RR means very rare, and RRR signifies an extremely rare coin. The highest rating on this scale is RRRR, which are coins that are very seldom seen and are the rarest possible.
An 1885 silver dollar is also commonly called a Morgan silver dollar. This name is due to the fact that the coin design was created by a man with the last name of Morgan. These coins can be found in four versions, 1 for each mint that produced the coins during the year. Mint marks on the coin may show an O, an S, a CC, or a P. This designates the specific mint that produced that individual coin. Each mint produced different numbers of this coin during 1885, and some mints made far fewer of these coins than others.
The most valuable of all the silver dollars minted in the year 1885 is the one that was produced at the Carson city Mint. There were less than 500,000 of these coins minted at the Carson City facility and many are no longer in existence. In contrast the San Francisco Mint produced around one and a half million of these coins. Both the New Orleans Mint and the Philadelphia Mint produced much large quantities, and that is why the coins from these two facilities are not valued as highly.
In mint condition and never circulated an 1885 silver dollar with the CC mint mark may be worth thousands of dollars today. Even in poor condition the coin is worth around $500. This is the only coin from the silver dollars struck in 1885 that has a price given regardless of the coin condition. Even one in the poorest possible condition can sell for $500 because there are so few left.
Many collectors choose these silver dollars from the New Orleans or the Philadelphia mints, because these are the versions that are more common and there are more of these coins around. The coins minted by the San Francisco Mint are fewer in number so they will command a higher price. The coins made in Carson City are the most valuable though, and it is not hard to find buyers for this version even with the higher price.
An 1885 silver dollar can be a valuable coin to own regardless of the mint mark. If you can find one from the Carson City Mint this coin may be a true treasure though. Be prepared to pay top dollar and to face a lot of competition if you decide to purchase one of these highly prized coins.
How much should you pay for an 1885 silver dollar? That depends on the specific coin that is being purchased. These coins have a value that can range from $35 for the least valuable up to $1,400 or more for the most valuable versions. This coin was minted at 4 different mints around the country, and the coin from each mint will have a specific value based on this factor alone. The most valuable of these coins will be those that were minted at Carson City, and they will have a mint mark of CC.
Any of the silver dollars minted at Carson City during 1885 will have a value of at least $500 regardless of condition. If the coin is in perfect condition then it could be worth several thousand dollars. Only 250,000 of these coins were minted at the Carson City facility and few are still in perfect condition more than 100 years later. This makes these coins very valuable to collectors.
The 1885 silver dollar minted at the San Francisco mint may also be very valuable. There were around 1.5 million of these coins minted at this facility. If the coin is still in mint condition and has never been in circulation it can be worth thousands, and even the circulated versions can command a decent price. Coins minted in San Francisco will have a mint mark of S.
In 1885 there were two other mints that also produced these silver dollars, and these mints were located in New Orleans and Philadelphia. The coins that these mints produced are not valued as highly but they can still make an excellent investment opportunity or add plenty to any coin collection. Both of these coins are worth $30-$40 on the low end and several hundred dollars or more on the high end.
The ideal price for an 1885 silver dollar will depend on many factors. It is always a good idea to have any coin professionally appraised before buying or selling. The wide range in possible values means that a simple mistake in evaluating one of these coins could be very costly.