Investing in precious metals is a way for someone to secure stability for his or her portfolio, and silver dollars are among the best options when doing this. Trading coins, however, can be tricky for someone new to the community, as there are many options out there. There is one type of coin out there, though, that stands above the rest for investment purposes.
The Morgan Silver Dollars represent the best combination of numismatic and bullion value out there now for collectors and investors. With this combination, nothing else really comes close to mimicking the allure it has for coin traders. Unlike simple bullion coins, which are valued for their precious metal content, and not their rarity, the Morgans have a strong history to go with their 90 percent precious metal purity. Most investors only like to buy up pieces that are at least 99.9 percent pure, but Morgans are the most notable exception.
First minted in 1878, their history is a bit dubious, as it was created after the passage of the Bland-Alison Act. This legislation was passed after influential silver mine owners put significant pressure on politicians to stabilize the price of the metal. The Morgan Silver Dollars are named after their designer, George Morgan, and represent some shady business practices by post-Industrial Revolution mine owners.
Most of the items never saw the light of day for decades, as a huge surplus was minted several years in a row. The last run was in 1921, but at this point, collectors had no interest in the coin. That would change in 1962.
That year, the U.S. Treasury decided to sell off treasury bags full of 1,000 silver dollars each at face value. Nearly all of the Morgans were included in these bags, kicking off a storm of activity to locate where they were going. In under a year, these pieces had gone from languishing in vaults to filling out private collections everywhere. Shortly after this, the market for the items exploded, and it hasn’t slowed down yet.
The most important thing that separates these from rounds and bullion coins is that they do have significant numismatic value. Because of this, the most sought after items are those that are rare and in excellent condition. The market for Morgan Silver Dollars is pretty finicky when it comes to condition, and anything below AU-50 is unlikely to fetch anything more than the price of the metal. This designation refers to a piece that is “almost uncirculated” in quality, so the standards are really high. Experts suggest that investors buy versions that are as close to perfect in condition as possible, as the value jumps from almost uncirculated to MS/PR-60 (mint state or proof) and from MS/PR-60 to MS/PR-65 is significant. This requires a greater initial investment, but these items are more likely to increase in price and rarity over time.
There are also a number of mint years that are considered more desirable than others. The runs in 1878, 1883, 1892, 1894 and 1895 are the most sought after. In addition, any of these coins minted in Carson City are much more valuable than other versions.