The U.S. silver dollar was minted on and off between 1794 and 1935, with a variety of changes in the coin's design. The silver dollar's composition during much of that time was 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper, adding to its value among collectors.
The first issues featuring a Liberty with flowing hair are extremely rare because fewer than 2,000 were minted. They sell for about $30,000 in even the poorest conditions. One of the best examples ever sold at auction brought nearly $1.2 million in 2005.
This coin was produced from 1795 to 1804, with Liberty on the front and an eagle on the reverse. The design was changed in 1798 to feature a more heraldic eagle on the reverse, with a shield and stars. Poorer examples of the draped bust design silver dollar sell for about $600 to $700, while those in the finest conditions can sell for $20,000 to $50,000.
This coin from 1840 to 1873 featured Liberty sitting while holding a U.S. flag. On the reverse was the heraldic eagle. In poorer grades, these coins sell in the $200 range, while uncirculated ones can bring $2,000 to $3,000 for common years.
Collectors refer to this coin as the Morgan dollar after its designer, George T. Morgan. It was a popular design with a handsome Liberty on the front and an eagle with its wings spread on the reverse. This coin was minted from 1878 to 1921 and tends to sell for $20 to $30 in a very fine condition and $50 to $80 in uncirculated grades.
This dollar, featuring the profile of a headdress-covered Liberty, is known as the Peace dollar because that word is featured in reverse below the perched eagle. The coin was minted from 1921 to 1935 to commemorate the end of World War I, with the 1922 Peace dollar having the highest mintage. Examples in very fine grade sell in the teens, while an uncirculated coin can bring $40 to $60.
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.