1904 Morgan Silver Dollar: High Grades Exhibit Poor Strike Quality
Morgan Silver Dollar Overview
By far the most popular silver dollar ever produced, the Morgan silver dollar, is now the most sought-after silver dollar by collectors. Uncirculated examples are always in demand for their investment potential and low-grade Morgans are bought up by silver investors. With two markets competing for the same coin, the demand has never been higher.
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The Morgan silver dollar was designed by assistant mint engraver George T. Morgan and placed into production in 1887. Production stopped momentarily in 1904 because of silver shortages but would be minted again in 1921 before the design was retired for good. The Peace dollar would be the design that succeeded the ever successful Morgan dollar in 1921.
George Morgan’s take on the bust of Lady Liberty is the main design centered on the obverse. “E PLURIBUS UNUM” can be found centered at the top of the obverse near the rim. The date of mintage can be found centered directly below the bust of Liberty.
On the reverse, a American bald eagle with outstretched wings is centered and surrounded by a wreath, holding arrows and a olive branch in its talons. The mottos “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “ IN GOD WE TRUST” is centered above the eagle. “ONE DOLLAR” can be found centered below and represents the denomination of the coin.
History of the 1904 Morgan Silver Dollar
A lower mintage date for the year results in a slightly scarcer issue. Prices still remain somewhat low given the small mintage amount.
The mint at Philadelphia report minting a total of 2,788,000 Morgan dollars in 1904. This was a very low mintage figure for the Philadelphia mint as it normally produced 4 million or more Morgan dollars yearly.
Another interesting fact is that the 1904 Morgan dollar had many minting issues that led it to having few premium-quality uncirculated examples. This was a very uncommon problem as previous Morgan dollars minted in Philadelphia normally had good strikes and luster. This problem will be discussed in the next section.
Each 1904 Morgan silver dollar is made of 90% silver and 10% copper and weighs 26.73 grams. The diameter of the 1904 Morgan dollar is 38.1mm, or 1.5 inches. The edges are reeded, and denticles can be found on both the obverse and reverse of the coin.
Mintage Problems With The 1904 Morgan Silver Dollar
The majority of the Morgan dollars minted were struck at the Philadelphia mint. Strikes from the Philadelphia mint were normally very strong and left a good luster that made the coin very shiny and sometimes almost prooflike.
In 1904 something happened that resulted in almost all of the Morgan silver dollars having a very weak and nonlustrous strike. Of course, at the time this was not a worry to the mint as the coins were considered circulation strikes and coin collecting was a relatively small hobby.
However, coin collecting has grown significantly since 1904, and those weak strikes now concern collectors.
Collectors who want to find lustrous and well-struck mint-state examples of the 1904 Morgan silver dollar are going to have to look very hard. Most uncirculated 1904 Morgans have a very dull luster with little to no eye appeal. If a collector finds a 1904 Morgan silver dollar with luster, he or she will have to fork over a premium as these coins are actively being searched for by other collectors.
Most of these 1904 Uncirculated Morgan silver dollar will be graded around MS-60 to MS-63. Very few make the grade of MS-64 or MS-65. The only way to get a star or plus grade for attractiveness is through significant toning rather than luster.
Valuing the 1904 Morgan Silver Dollar
Because Morgan dollars are made primarily out of silver, they will always be worth silver value. Although worth $8 in silver value, the 1904 Morgan silver dollar is worth a premium even in Good 4 condition.
Good 4 has a value of $25, whereas Very Good 8 are worth $30. Small price increases from $36 to $40 can be seen for the grade Fine 12 and Very Fine 20, respectively. Extremely Fine 40 has a retail price of $48.
Uncirculated examples are scarcer and have varying prices, depending on the luster. For this article, it is assumed that the coin has an average luster for the year.
MS-60 examples see a huge price increase to $90. Prices continue to climb in MS-63 examples, in which most examples retail for $260. MS-65 is the condition in which most coins have been sold for well over $1,000, normally being somewhere around $1,750.
Prices for lower grade 1904 Morgan silver dollars have been very stable in the past several years and is very unlikely to move. Uncirculated examples have the possibility to appreciate in the coming years because of the increasing demand for quality coins by collectors.