How to Spot Fake Morgan Silver Dollars

By Contributor
Know a real from a fake.

Unprecedented high demand for precious coins and bars stirred an enormous interest among counterfeiters. Before you invest into Morgan Silver Dollars, know the history of these coins. This type of coin was minted from 1878 until 1904 and then again briefly in 1921. Each year a different number of coins were minted for circulation, ranging from tens of thousands to tens of millions of coins. Only a few hundred or thousand of coins were minted as proofs. Most of these silver dollars were removed from circulation and smelted due to their silver content.

Request exact dates and pictures of both faces of the coin to check whether the design of the coin matches to any real Morgan dollars minted. Be especially careful when being offered minted proof coins, since these are extremely rare, and very likely only in well-established private collections.

Know the exact specifications of the Morgan silver dollar. All Morgan silver dollars were minted with the same initial parameters: gross weight of 26.73 g; composed of .900 silver and .100 copper; net silver content of 0.77344 oz. and 38.1 mm diameter.

Circulated and worn-out coins may be lighter, but mint quality coins that do not weight 1/100th of a gram from the design weight of 26.73g are fake. Modern counterfeiters use state-of-the-art technologies to create new Morgan dollars, but they do not use silver of the same grade as was used for the original silver dollars. If the metal composition does not match, then the weight does not match, provided the geometrical dimensions of the counterfeited coins are same as the original silver dollars.

Measure with the weight of each coin individually with a high-precision digital scale. Original Morgan silver dollar contain 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. If the counterfeited coin has only 1 percent less silver than the original coin, then its weight will be already lower by 0.04 g. Lower grade silver increases the weight difference.

Compare the dollar to look at the visual makeup. Check both of the faces with original or pictures of original Morgan silver dollars. Examples of real Morgan silver dollars and their counterfeits are listed at