The 1895 Morgan Dollar, King of Morgans

The 1895 Morgan Dollar, King of Morgans

We had a customer purchase one of the finest examples of this coin this week, an 1895 Morgan Silver Dollar in PCGS PR66DCAM, one of 6 known. As an investment why was this a sound bet?

According to U.S. Mint records, there were 12,000 Business Strikes produced for circulation for 1895, and 880 Proof coins struck.

However, only 75 to 80 of the 1895 Morgans have been accounted for, all of them Proofs.

Where did the 12,000 regular non-proof Morgans go?

Two of the most popular theories are as part of the Pitmann Act signed into law in 1918 270 million ounces of Silver Dollars stored at the Treasury were melted, or, it was merely an accounting notation and they were never really minted.

Either way, the name King of the Morgans is clearly earned, and this is one rare coin. If you are creating a Morgan Dollar collection you are lucky enough to include one of these in any grade much less a PR66DCAM.

Why were there so few Morgan Dollars produced?

By 1893, there was no need for more Morgan dollars. The 1892 totals showed that there were more than 357 million sitting in the Treasury, while almost 7.5 million were in banks as reserves, and just under 50 million were in circulation. So, in terms of an economy that needed dollars there were plenty. The irony shouldn’t escape you that today we just print whatever we want based on the supply of paper.

That was not the only reason to stop production. In 1893 the silver purchasing clause of the Act of July 14, 1890 was repealed. What that meant was that additional silver to make more dollars could not be purchased, and at least for a time, the era of large production runs of Morgan Dollars was over.

Because of these events we have a three-year period resulting in key dates for investors, 1893, 1894 and the year in question here 1895. 1893 the mintage was just 378,000 coins in Philadelphia and only 300,000 in New Orleans, (1893-O), the key date for 1893 is the 1893-S, only 100,000 were produced in San Francisco. A Mint State version of the 1893-S is extremely rare, but it is tough to locate in any grade.

The only facility to produce Morgan dollars in 1893 was Carson City. This was the last year for Carson City coin production and the only year there were more Carson City Dollars (CC), 677,000 coins than coins produced by the other Mints.

In 1894, Philadelphia minted just 110,000 business strikes, making the 1894 the second lowest mintage regular issue Morgan dollar.

The 1894-O had a mintage of 1,723,000 but the 1894-O was poorly made, it makes finding a top-grade Mint State example tough. However, in lower Mint State grades the 1894-O can be found.

The 1894-S from San Francisco, was only 1,260,000 coins struck.

1895 was the last of the low mintage coins produced with three different dates, all very difficult to locate, especially in high grades. Only 450,000 struck in New Orleans, only 400,000 in San Francisco, the missing 12,000 in Philadelphia and the 880 Proof coins that became the King of Morgan Dollars.

As an investment coin the 1895 Morgan Dollar in PR66DCAM is a very sound investment. Yes, it is an expensive coin to purchase but studying trends, the best performing investment coins are the rarest. Good luck with your collections and aim high obtaining the best examples of the coins you add to your collection.

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