As the most popular dollar series coin ever produced, the Morgan silver dollar has seen great collector following in modern times. Because of government regulations and hoarding, many Morgan dollars can be found in high uncirculated grades.
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George T. Morgan was responsible for creating both the obverse and reverse designs of the coin in 1878. This same year, the Morgan Dollar would be put into production and would continue to be produced until 1904. Another short production in 1921 would occur, but the Morgan Dollar would finally be replaced for good later that year.
On the obverse, a bust of Lady Liberty with flowing hair and a cap can be found centered and facing left. Lady Liberty also has the motto “LIBERTY” on the brim of her cap. “E PLURIBUS UNUM” can be found centered at the top of the obverse, and the date is at the bottom.
The reverse features an American bald eagle with outstretched wings and surrounded by a wreath. “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “IN GOD WE TRUST” are found above the eagle. The denomination of the coin, “ONE DOLLAR,” is found directly below the eagle.
History of the 1887 Morgan Silver Dollar
Morgan silver dollars tended to have increased mintage figures each year that the coin was in production. Many later-year dates tend to have much higher mintage numbers than earlier examples.
The United States Mint in Philadelphia reports striking a total of 20,290,000 Morgan silver dollars dated in 1887. Other mints struck Morgan silver dollars in 1887 but at much lower mintages. This article will focus only on the Philadelphia examples.
All Morgan dollars were composed of the same mix of metals, which was 90% silver and 10% copper. Each coin weighs 26.73 grams and has a diameter of 38.1 inches. Reeding can be found on the edges, and denticles are present on the obverse and reverse of the coin.
1887 Morgan Silver Dollar Varieties
A large amount of collectors are now exploring and collecting Morgan silver dollars that exhibit known striking and mint errors, which are called VAMs. The 1887 Morgan silver dollar gives collectors many different VAMs to chase after as many different mintage errors happened over the course of production.
Some VAMs are more recognized and worth more than others. In this section, only those VAMs that are recognized by top-tier third-party grading companies will be included.
Here are some of the most known and sought after 1887 Morgan Silver Dollar VAMs:
- VAM 1B Clashed E Reverse: This variety shows an almost full “E” under the Eagle’s tail feathers. This variety can be confirmed by looking for a die crack that runs through the entire date. Many collectors actively seek out this variety, and it is one of the most popular in the entire Morgan dollar series.
- VAM 2 7/6 Overdate: A simple and sometimes hard-to-identify VAM that shows part of the “6” from “1886” underneath the “7” in “1887.” Identification can be tough, but the premium for this variety is very high.
- VAM 5 Double Date: Like any other doubled date error, this one is exactly the same. Doubling can be most easily seen on the last two digits in the date. Depending on the severity of the doubling, this variety can be hard to identify.
- VAM 12 Alligator Eye: A very unique VAM with an even more unique name! The front edge of Liberty’s eye is visibly doubled and looks like an alligator’s eye. Small amounts of doubling can also be seen on the word “LIBERTY” on Liberty’s cap.
Pricing the 1887 Morgan Silver Dollar
Many examples of the 1887 Morgan silver dollar survive today, and most can be found in very high grades. Even those in the lowest grades are always worth their value in silver (which is, as of this writing, $12.50).
Examples between Good 4 and Fine 12 have a price that is between $20 and $30. A grade of Very Fine 20 has an associated price of $36, and even a significant increase to Extremely Fine 40 sees only a marginal price increase.
Uncirculated examples are common and can be found online and in shops for relatively low prices. MS-60 examples are normally priced at $45, and MS-63 graded coins get a price increase to $65. A real jump to MS-65 is when the price also increases significantly to $145.
Even in a very high grade for Morgan silver dollars, MS-67 only realizes a price of $1,650. This is significantly lower than most other Morgan dollar years!
Only one 1887 Morgan silver dollar has been graded MS-68 by PCGS and sold back in 2009 for a total of $21,275. This coin is now valued today at approximately $30,000!