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Coins & Bullion

All About Morgan Silver Dollars

Aug 2, 2022

Comstock Lode: The Beginning of Morgan Silver Dollars 

Here’s a fun little history tidbit: silver has been around since 3,000 BCE. However it wasn’t until 1859 that the Comstock Lode was discovered in Nevada — the greatest silver discovery in American history. The Comstock Lode singlehandedly shifted the tide of the gold rush, sending prospectors searching for silver instead. Between 1860 and 1880, the Comstock Lode produced nearly 7 million tons of ore. By the time it ran out of silver in 1904, it had produced about half a billion dollars worth.

What did the US do with the influx of silver? 

It Comstock Lode also shifted the size of the United States. Nevada was still a territory at the time, but thanks to the influx of riches from the Comstock Lode, the government saw an opportunity to cash in. Under President Abraham Lincoln, Nevada joined the United States in 1864. Miners flooded west to Nevada, where saloons, general stores, and boarding houses sprouted up to accommodate them. Silver was currency and miners were flush with money.

Why was the Morgan silver dollar created?  

In 1873, the U.S. government passed a law that shifted the currency system from bimetallic — gold and silver — in favor of a gold standard. Those millions of tons of silver ore? Suddenly had nowhere to go and no way of being turned into coinage. Faced with an excess of silver, the U.S. Government minted a new coin — the silver dollar.

How did the Morgan silver dollar get its name?

First struck in 1878, it contained three-quarters of an ounce of 90% silver, all mined from the Comstock Lode in Nevada. It was designed by George T. Morgan, who worked at the U.S. Mint as an assistant engraver — and was later named for him. One side of the silver Morgan dollar coin portrays a profile representing Lady Liberty. The other depicts an eagle with wings outstretched.

How much are Morgan silver dollars worth? 

From 1878 to 1904, hundreds of millions of Morgan silver dollars were produced, all with silver from the Comstock Lode. It was briefly resurrected in 1921, and in the years since, hundreds of millions of silver Morgan dollars were melted. Now, finding rare Morgan silver dollars is a highlight of any true coin collector’s collection. While its spending value is still $1, the value of Morgan silver dollars range from $28 to upwards of $1500 for a single silver coin. At Samuelson’s, we currently have a Morgan silver dollar from 1882! 

How To Get The Most For Your Morgan Silver Dollar 

Finding silver Morgan dollars for sale is pretty easy, but finding a rare Morgan silver dollar is much more difficult. However, knowing how much Morgan silver dollars are worth comes down to its condition and scarcity — just as it does with any valuable and rare item. 

Make sure you know what the hallmarks are of the U.S. Mint Morgan silver dollar so you get a fair deal. And if you want to know what your Morgan silver dollar’s value is, we can help!

Buy & Sell Your Silver Coins

Whether you’re looking to buy or sell silver coins, our experts can walk you through the grading system to determine a coin’s current value.If you’re serious about your coin collection, then the Morgan silver dollar is a must-have. And at Samuelson’s, we’re always happy to indulge fellow lovers of old coins! Get in touch with us to see how we can best help you buy or sell your Morgan silver dollar.

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