The silver dollar minted from 1878 to 1921 by the U.S. government is often called the Morgan dollar for its designer, George T. Morgan. His initial M is found near Liberty's neck and on the reverse in a loop of the ribbon. The values for the 1884 Morgan dollar vary greatly based on the condition of the coin and where it was minted. Fewer copies were made in Carson City, which has a CC mint mark on the reverse, and these coins carry a premium. Coins in the best conditions that were minted in San Francisco are extremely rare and are valued highly. These have the S mint mark on the reverse.
In very fine condition, most of the hair lines in Liberty's hair are visible. The wings of the eagle are still defined, but the feathers of the breast can be well worn. Examples in this VF-20 condition are worth $20 to $25, while the Carson City mint mark is valued at $150 to $170.
All of Liberty's hair lines must be strong to be in extremely fine condition. The eagle's breast feathers can be slightly worn. Coins in EF-40 shape are generally worth $22 to $27, while the San Francisco variety is sold for around $50. The Carson City coin is sold for about $180.
There can only be some wear on the bust shoulder of Liberty and on the hair left of her forehead. The eagle can also have slight traces of wear on the breast and wing tips. Values for AU-50 are $25 to $30 for the general coin, $200 to $220 for Carson City and $300 to $400 for San Francisco.
The full mint luster is present in uncirculated condition, and the dollar has no trace of wear. There can be some contact marks or scuff marks on the coin. Values for the hard-to-find MS-60 are $40 to $50 for the general coin, $250 to $300 for Carson City and $5,000 to $6,000 for San Francisco.
Only a few noticeable surface marks can be on the coin, and it must have a full mint luster and no trace of wear. Coins in MS-63 condition are extremely hard to find and regular copies are valued at $50 to $60. The Carson City coin is valued at around $300, while the San Francisco version is prized at a whopping $25,000 to $40,000.
- Whitman's Red Book: A Guide Book of United States Coins 2009; R.S. Yeoman; 2009
- Best Coin guide
A veteran of the newspaper industry, Johnny Kampis has worked as a freelance writer since 2005. His articles have appeared in various publications including "The New York Times," "Atlanta-Journal Constitution" and the "San Francisco Chronicle." He currently serves as an editor of poker-based "Rounder" magazine and writer for the Alabama football publication "Crimson" magazine.