1880 Morgan Dollar: How Many Really Remain & What’s It Worth?

Morgan Dollar Overview

One of the most popular coins with collectors, the Morgan Silver Dollar was produced in a time when the United States was seeing a great revolution in industry and overall growth. Known as a coin that generally retains its value, the Morgan Dollar sees a large demand by collectors and investors alike.

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The new Morgan Dollar was commissioned after the passage of the Bland-Allison Act of 1873, which allowed the mint to begin purchasing large amounts of silver. Assistant mint engraver, George T. Morgan, designed the Morgan Dollar, which was quickly accepted by the mint and put into production in 1878.

George Morgan’s silver dollar was minted from 1878 until 1904, where a shortage of silver forced the mint to stop production. The Morgan Dollar was reintroduced in 1921 after the mint was able to build up its silver holdings. 1921 also saw the introduction of the Peace Dollar, which stopped production of the Morgan Silver Dollar for good.

On the Obverse of the Morgan Dollar is a bust of Liberty facing left, with the date directly below. The words “E PLURIBUS UNUM” can be found centered above Liberty. Stars fill the space along the edges between the date and the beginning of the motto.

Morgan’s reverse features an eagle with spread wings and olive branches and arrows in its talons. A wreath starting below the eagle encircles the design. The words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “ONE DOLLAR” are found near the edges of the coin. “IN GOD WE TRUST” is found directly above the eagle, but below the words found along the edge.

1880 Silver Dollar

Image Source Flickr user Northern Lights Numismatics

History of the 1880 Morgan Dollar

Unlike other coins in the series, the 1880 Morgan Dollar had a relatively low mintage rate. The US mint at Philadelphia reports producing only 12,600,000 examples. These low mintage numbers are why the 1880 Morgan Dollar is valued higher than other examples from the series.

The Pittman Act of 1918 saw the melting of approximately 270 million Morgan Silver Dollars of all years. Morgan Dollars also saw melting in the early 1980s as silver prices were at an all-time high. This melting makes the mint’s production numbers void, with the real surviving number much lower than what is stated.

Like all other Morgan Silver Dollars, the 1880 Morgan Dollar was made using a composition of 90% silver and 10% copper. The coin weighs in at 26.73 grams and has a diameter of 38.1mm. Reeding can be found on the edges and denticles are around both the obverse and reverse.

1880/79 Overdate Morgan Dollar

Like other early Morgan Dollars, the 1880 Morgan Dollar did have a mint error that is sought after by collectors. This error is considered a major error and carries a premium over normal strikes.

1880/79 Overdate variety is unique in that the date was applied directly over the previously years’ date. This occurs when a previous die that was still in usable condition had the new date punched over the old date. Overdating helped save the mint money as dies were expensive to make, but the process was not meant to make parts of the previous date visible.

To identify this error, one must look at the last two digits in the date and see if they show any signs that a previous date was present. Most times, part of a “7” can be seen on the “8” in “80”. Another telling part is where the “9” from “79” can be seen on the raised parts of the “0” in “80”.

Magnification could be of use when trying to find this error as parts of the ovedate are very hard to see. Not many examples of this error were produced and it is very rare to find today. If you determine that your 1880 Morgan Dollar is an overdate, be sure to take it to a coin dealer for a second opinion.

Value of the 1880 Morgan Dollar

Low mintage, combined with the huge amounts melted by the government and consumers, makes the value of the 1880 Morgan Dollar much higher than other dates.

Average condition 1880 Morgan Dollars are valued somewhere around $28. Uncirculated examples in MS-60 retail for $47. Higher grades of MS-63 see a value of $65 and those in MS-65 see a huge increase to $675.

For 1880/79 Morgan Dollars, Uncirculated MS-60 examples bring $100. An MS-65 example is projected to be worth $3,377! These huge increases in price over regular strikes are due to fewer examples available on the market.

Since an exact number on the number of 1880 Morgan Dollars remaining is not available, it is hard for collectors and dealers to accurately price the coin. Because of this uncertainty, the prices of 1880 Morgan Dollars may increase in value in the coming years.

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