WE BUY ALL US SILVER DOLLAR COINS!
The term silver dollar is often used for any large white metal coin issued by the United States with a face value of one dollar, although purists insist that a dollar is not silver unless it contains some of that metal. Silver dollars, the first dollar coin issue, were minted beginning in 1794.
WE BUY ALL US SILVER DOLLAR COINS!
Dollar Coin History:
Early dollar coins
Before the Revolutionary War, coins from many European nations circulated freely in the American colonies, as well as coinage issued by the various colonies. Chief among these was the Spanish silver dollar coins (also called pieces of eight or eight reales) minted in Mexico and other colonies with silver mined from Central and South American mines. These coins, along with others of similar size and value, were in use throughout the colonies, and later the United States, and were legal tender until 1857.
In 1776, the Continental Congress authorized plans to produce a silver coin to prop up the rapidly failing Continental—the first attempt by the fledgling US at paper currency. Several examples were struck in brass, pewter, and silver, but a circulating coin was not produced, due in large part to the financial difficulties of running the Revolutionary War. The Continental Dollar bears a date of 1776, and while its true denomination is not known, it is generally the size of later dollars, and the name has stuck. The failure of the Continental exacerbated a distrust of paper money amongst both politicians and the populace at large. The letters of Thomas Jefferson indicate that he wished the United States to eschew paper money and instead mint coins of similar perceived value and worth to those foreign coins circulating at the time.
The Coinage Act of 1792 authorized the production of dollar coins from silver. The United States Mint produced silver dollar coins from 1794 to 1803, then ceased regular production of silver dollars until 1836. The first silver dollars, precisely 1,758 of them, were coined on October 15, 1794 and were immediately delivered to Mint Director David Rittenhouse for distribution to dignitaries as souvenirs. Thereafter, until 1804, they were struck in varying quantities. There are two obverse designs: Flowing Hair (1794–1795) and Draped Bust (1795–1804). There are also two reverse designs used for the Draped Bust variety: small eagle (1795–1798) and heraldic eagle (1798–1804). Original silver dollars from this period are highly prized by coin collectors and are exceptionally valuable, and range from fairly common to incredibly rare. Due to the early practice of hand engraving each die, there are dozens of varieties known for all dates between 1795–1803.
It is also one of only two denominations (the other being the cent) minted in every year from its inception during the first decade of mint operation. However, the order was given by President Thomas Jefferson to halt silver dollar production due to the continued exportation of US dollars. The Spanish 8 Reale, which was slightly heavier than the US dollar, nonetheless traded at a 1-to-1 ratio. So US dollars went to the Caribbean, were traded for heavier 8 Reales, and those were then brought back to the US, where they would be recoined for free into more US dollars; the difference in silver, then, was kept by the exporter. This ensured that no dollars would circulate in the US, but would instead be exported for their heavier counterparts overseas, leaving little but old, foreign money to circulate in the United States in a process known as Gresham’s Law.
The 1804 dollar
Main article: 1804 silver dollar
The 1804 silver dollar is one of the rarest and most famous and popular coins in the world. Its creation was the result of a simple bookkeeping error, but its status as the king of coins has been established for nearly a century and a half. The silver dollars reported by the mint as being struck in 1804 were actually dated 1803 (die steel being very expensive in the early 19th century, dies were used until they were no longer in working condition. This is why many early US coins exhibit all kinds of die cracks, occlusions, cuds, clash marks, and other late state die wear. Dies were used until they literally fell apart. Nearly every coin the US struck from 1793 to 1825 has an example that was struck in a year other than that which it bears.) No dollars bearing the date 1804 were ever struck in 1804, though this was unknown to mint officials at the time the 1804 dollar came to be.
The 1804 silver dollar was actually produced in 1834, when the U.S. Department of State decided to produce a set of U.S. coins to be used as gifts to rulers in Asia in exchange for trade advantages. Since 1804 was the last recorded year of mintage for both the dollar and $10 Eagle, it was decided that the set would contain examples of those coins dated 1804, as well as the other denominations currently being produced. Mint officials, not realizing that the 19,000+ dollars recorded as being produced in 1804 were all dated 1803, proceeded to make new dies dated 1804. Little did they know the stunning rarity they were creating. Only 15 silver dollars with the date of 1804 are known to exist; in 1999, one of them sold at auction for more than $4 million. There are 8 Class I dollars, struck in 1834 for the aforementioned sets, 1 Class II dollar, struck over an 1857 Swiss Shooting Thaler (and now residing in the US Coin Collection at the Smithsonian Institution), and 6 Class III dollars, struck surreptitiously sometime between 1858 and 1860 to meet collector demand for the coin.
Seated Liberty dollar (1836–1873)
Main article: Seated Liberty dollar
Seated Liberty Dollars were introduced in 1840 and were minted in larger quantities than the sparsely minted Gobrecht Dollar that preceded it. The dollars were used in general circulation until 1853. The production of large numbers of US gold coins (First $1 1849 and $20 in 1850) from the new California mines lowered the price of gold..so the value of silver rose. By 1853, the value of a US Silver Dollar contained in gold terms, $1.07 of silver. With the Mint Act of 1853, all US Silver coins, except for the US Silver Dollar and new 3 cent coin, were reduced by 6.9% as of weight with arrows on the date to denote reduction. The US Silver Dollar was continued to be minted in very small numbers mainly as a foreign trade to the Orient.
The international trading partners did not like the fact that US coins were reduced in weight. The use of much more common half dollars became problematic since merchants would have to separate higher value pre-1853 coins from the newer reduced ones. From 1853 onwards, trade with Asia was typically done with Mexican coins that kept their weight and purity in the 19th Century. This ended in 1874 when the price of silver dropped so that a silver dollar has less than $1.00 worth of silver in it (huge amounts of silver coming from the Nevada Comstock Lode mines). By 1876, all silver coins were being used as money and by 1878, gold was at par with all US paper dollars. Beginning in 1878, huge amounts of the Morgan silver dollars were produced but few were used as money. The size was too large to carry on business so silver certificates were used instead. The mint make the coins, placed them in their vaults and issued the Silver Certificates instead. This is the reason so many Morgan and Peace dollars can be purchased in AU or UNC condition (near perfect)… they sat in bank/US Treasury vaults most of the time.
Each coin is composed of 0.77344 troy oz of silver. They were minted at Philadelphia, New Orleans, Carson City, and San Francisco. A Silver dollar is worth $1 in silver at $1.31 per troy ounce. Current silver price (October 21, 2010) is $23.12 per troy ounce so a silver dollar is worth, melted down (melt value) of about $17.88 US.
Gold dollar coins (1849–1889)
Main article: Gold dollar
The gold dollar was produced from 1849 to 1889. 1849 to 1853 gold dollar coins were 13 mm across and are called Type I. Type II gold dollars were thinner but larger at 15 mm diameter and were produced from 1854 to 1855. The most common gold dollar are the Type III and started in 1856 until 1889. Production US $1 gold dollars was high until the Civil War and by 1863, only the larger value gold coins were produced large quantities. Most gold coins produced from 1863 and onward were produced for imports to pay for enormous amounts of war material and interest on some US Government bonds. Many of these coins from the Civil War and after (silver coins included) are in excellent condition since they saw very limited circulation with greenbacks and postage currency taking their place.
Composed of 90% pure gold, it was the smallest denomination of gold currency ever produced by the United States federal government. When the US system of coinage was originally designed there had been no plans for a gold dollar coin, but in the late 1840s, two gold rushes later, Congress was looking to expand the use of gold in the country’s currency.The gold dollar was authorized by the Act of March 3, 1849, and the Liberty Head type began circulating soon afterward. Because of the high value of gold, the gold dollar is the smallest coin in the history of US coinage.
Trade Dollar (1873–1885)
Main article: Trade Dollar (United States coin)
The Trade Dollar was produced in response to other Western powers, such as Great Britain, Spain, France, and particularly Mexico, circulating large, crown size silver coins in Asia. Trade Dollars had a slightly higher silver content than the regular circulation Seated Liberty Dollars and Morgan Dollars, to compete with these foreign trade coins. Most Trade Dollars ended up in Asia during their first two years of production, where they were very successful. Many of them exhibit chopmarks which are counterstamps from Asian merchants to verify the authenticity of the coins. Many trade coins of the western powers and large silver coins from China, Korea, and Japan also bear these chopmarks. While most chopmarked coins are generally worth less than those without, some of the more fascinating chopmarks can actually give the coin a modest premium.
Trade Dollars did not circulate in the United States initially, but were legal tender for up to $5. Things changed, however, in 1876, when the price of silver spiraled downward as western producers dumped silver on the market, making the Trade Dollar worth more at face value than its silver content. That resulted in Trade Dollars pouring back into the United States, as they were bought for as little as the equivalent of 80 US cents in Asia, and were then spent at $1 in the United States. This prompted Congress to revoke their legal tender status, and restrict their coinage to exportation demand only. However, this didn’t stop unscrupulous persons from buying Trade Dollars at bullion value, and using them for payment as $1 to unsuspecting workers and merchants.
Production of the Trade Dollar was officially halted for business strikes in 1878, and thereafter from 1879–1885, produced only as proof examples of the coin. The issues of 1884 and 1885 were produced surreptitiously, and were unknown to the collecting public until 1908.
In February 1887, all non-mutilated outstanding Trade Dollars were made redeemable to the United States Treasury, and approximately 8 million of them were turned in.
Collectors are warned that a large number of perfect copies, apparently made in China, have been made. Buying only from known dealers, or certified specimens, is highly recommended.
Morgan dollar (1878–1904; 1921)
The Morgan silver dollar
Main article: Morgan Dollar
Morgan silver dollars were minted between 1878 and 1921, with a notable break between 1905 and 1920. The 1921-dated coins are the most common, and there exists a substantial collector market for pristine, uncirculated specimens of the rarer dates and mint marks. Morgan dollars are second only to Lincoln Cents in collector popularity. The large size, design and inexpensive nature of most dates of the Morgan dollar makes them highly popular. The coin is named after George T. Morgan, its designer. Some people collect Morgan dollars by “VAM” designation (named for Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Mallis, who did extensive research on the die characteristics of this series.) The top 100 VAM varieties are highly collectible. As well, this is the most popular United States series collected by grade, with “finest known” being a very attractive selling point.
The mint mark is found on the reverse below the wreath, above the ‘O’ in ‘DOLLAR’.
One of the keys to the series is the proof-only 1895 (struck at the Philadelphia mint), which can sell for up to $100,000 in top condition. Since the rarity of the coin was not initially realized (there were 12,000 business strikes recorded, but these were later melted), and since the coins were available at the Mint for a modest premium above face value, circulated, or “impaired” specimens are known. Because no business strike exists for this date and mint, many collectors are forced to buy the proof, or settle for what is regarded as an incomplete date/mint collection. The rarest (by mintage) business strike Morgan is the 1893-S with a paltry 100,000 examples struck, and certainly not all examples survive. A top condition example (MS67 is currently the highest known) can bring nearly $1 Million at auction. Morgan dollars from the Carson City mint (“CC” mintmark) are worth a premium. 1889-CC, while not the rarest Carson City dollar by mintage, is the rarest by surviving examples today, and is the most valuable Carson City dollar. Other rare dates include 1892-S, 1893, 1893-O, 1894, 1894-S, 1895-O, 1895-S, 1902-S, 1903-S, 1903-O, and 1904-S all worth $100 or more even in circulated (Fine-About Uncirculated) conditions. Several coins in the series, while quite common in circulated condition, are very rare in uncirculated conditions, and can command hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece. 1901 is such a coin, as is 1884-S. There is currently only a single known MS68 1884-S dollar and if sold at auction, that coin could easily bring $750,000-$1,000,000…for a “common” date coin.
Many of the spectacular rarities of the series, both by grade and absolutely, can be attributed to the order to melt down 270 million silver dollars still on hand by the Pittman Act of 1918. Because of this, and subsequent melting, it is estimated that only 17% of all Morgan dollars minted still survive. However, that’s still many millions of examples.
Many examples exceed $100 in uncirculated condition, but the majority do not. A common date in uncirculated can normally be found for around $40, and often as little as $28 circulated and $32 uncirculated, depending upon the current price of silver.
High-grade Morgan dollars are generally considered “investor” coins. This is because the prices are very volatile, and the values for certified (“slabbed”) pieces are set on well-established exchanges.
Peace dollar (1921–1935; 1964)
The Peace silver dollar
Main article: Peace Dollar
Introduced in December 1921, the Peace dollar, designed by medalist Anthony de Francisci, was promulgated to commemorate the signing of formal peace treaties between the Allied forces and Germany and Austria.These treaties officially ended the Allies’ World War I hostilities with these two countries. In 1922 the Mint made silver dollar production its top priority, causing other denominations to be produced sparingly if at all that year. Production ceased temporarily after 1928; original plans apparently called for only a one year suspension, but this was extended by the Great Depression. Mintage resumed in 1934, but for only two years.
In May 1965, 316,000+ Peace Dollars were minted, all at the Denver Mint and dated 1964-D; however, plans for completing this coinage were abandoned, and most of those already minted were melted, with two known trial strike specimens being preserved (for assay purposes) until 1970, when they too were melted, and none released either for circulation or collection purposes. It is rumored that one or more pieces still exist, most notably any examples obtained by key members of Congress, the President, or mint officials. However, this coin, much like the 1933 $20 gold Double Eagle (aside from the “exception”, sold in 2002 for over $7 million), is illegal to own and would be subject to confiscation.
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WE BUY ALL US SILVER DOLLAR COINS!
Above info Courtesy Wikipedia