In this article, we have a coin from a somewhat distant past – the 1888 Silver Dollar.
How does the fact that it comes from that past affect the 1888 Silver Dollar value? That is one of many questions we will be answering in the article. Keep on reading to find out not only that but also what other questions and their answers are.
1888 Silver Dollar Value
|Condition||1888 No Mint Silver Dollar||1888 O Silver Dollar||1888 S Silver Dollar|
1888 No Mint Silver Dollar Value
Silver Dollar is a coin whose mintage was carried in three phases: 1878 – 1904, 1921, and 2021 – present. Many know it by the name Morgan Silver Dollar or just Morgan Dollar since its designer’s last name was Morgan.
Its importance in US history is great since it was the first silver dollar to be struck since the passage of the Coinage Act of 1873. Before this act was implemented, anyone who owned silver bullion could have it coined by a mint into a legal coin currency for a small fee.
There would be nothing wrong with this if the actual value of the silver that was minted into silver coins were not smaller than the face value of the coin, which meant that anyone who would have their silver bullion struck into coins would be making a profit.
Morgan Silver Dollar was also affected by three other acts, probably making it a world record holder in this category.
The first of those three is the Bland-Allison Act, under which the minting of the Silver Dollar was authorized. The act also required the US Treasury to purchase 2 to 4 million worth of silver every month for coining into legal tender.
The next one, passed in 1890, was the Sherman Silver Purchase act. Under this act, the US Treasury was to buy 4,500,000 troy ounces of silver every month. However, it only mandated the production of silver dollars to continue for one year.
Before discussing that last act that affected the Silver Dollar, we should also mention an 1898 bill passed in the US Congress that necessitated the coining of all remaining bullion bought under the Sherman Silver Purchase Act into silver dollars.
The minting continued until 1904 when all of the bought silver bullion was finally used up. Morgan Silver Dollar was minted one more time in the 20th century, in 1921, since it was allowed for old silver coins to be melted and recoined under the Pittman Act of 1918.
Morgan Silver Dollar was replaced by the Peace Dollar on the 3rd of January in 1922. Both Morgan and Peace Dollars were issued in 2021 for coin aficionados to mark the 100th anniversary of the transition from one dollar to the other.
Mintage & Value
In 1888, 19,183,000 specimens of the No Mint Silver Dollar were struck in Philadelphia.
This year and the next were the last two years with the production of around 20 million pieces. After that, it started declining partly due to the aforementioned depletion of silver bullion that was bought under the Sherman Silver Purchase Act.
1888 No Mint Morgan Silver Dollar is a relatively valuable coin even in some of the lower conditions. For example, a specimen in a condition that is graded as good can bring you almost 45 dollars. The extra fine grade will bring 62, while mint state 60 is over 80 dollars.
It may not seem as much to some, but you should remember that that are tons of coins whose value is quite low, even in mint states.
According to the PCGS, which stands for Professional Coin Grading Service, 1888 No Mint Silver Dollars in MS66 and above are usually worth at least a couple of grand.
Two that were in mint state 67 were sold for $18,400 and $16,100 in 2011 and 2012, respectively. These figures are the highest that coins of this type were valued at.
1888 Proof Silver Dollar
Many US coins bear the name of the person or motif that is depicted on the obverse, like, for example, the Seated Liberty Dollar. However, Morgan Silver Dollar is known by the name of its designer, US Mint Assistant Engraver George T. Morgan.
If you are wondering why we chose to use the Seated Liberty Dollar as an example, the reason is pretty straightforward – Morgan Silver Dollar replaced the Seated Liberty Dollar in 1878.
Anyways, even though Morgan Silver Dollar does not have Liberty in its name, it does feature it on its obverse.
This depiction of Lady Liberty is different from the Seated Liberty and others before it since Morgan did not want to use the standard Greek style-figure but an American woman.
The woman whose left profile we can see on the obverse is Anna Willess Williams. She was a teacher and a philosophical writer in Philadelphia and is portrayed with a crown that says LIBERTY on the coin.
Around the centrally positioned portrait is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM (Latin for “Of many, one”) along the upper rim, date of minting, 1888, in the bottom center of the coin. Between the date, running along the left side can be seen 7 stars while the right has 6.
The reverse of the 1888 Morgan Silver Dollar, which was also designed by Morgan, features quite a few elements.
Writing UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the denomination, ONE DOLLAR, are located along the coin’s rim.
The center is reserved for a bald eagle which can be seen with its wings spread apart. It also holds arrows with its left foot and an olive branch with its right.
Between the eagle and the inscriptions is a wreath that spreads in a half circle from under the eagle’s left wing to its right one. Above its head is the official motto of the USA, IN GOD WE TRUST.
The mint mark is located in the bottom center of the reverse, above the denomination, and beneath the ribbon that ties the wreath. The designer’s initial, “M”, is nicely hidden on the left loop of the ribbon.
The coin’s high relief and a part of its reverse were a source of a small controversy when this coin first started being minted. As you probably know, high coin reliefs usually cause dies to crack, which is what happened here.
The problematic part of the reverse was the number of the eagle’s tail feathers. It was 8, which was unaccustomed since other US coins featured eagles with an odd number of tail feathers.
These problems were solved relatively quickly, after which Morgan Silver Dollars as we know them today started being minted.
Mintage & Value
Proof coins are always fun to talk about. Unfortunately, not all coins have their proof versions, which is something that always makes us a little bit sad when we are creating these articles.
But that is not the case here. 1888 Silver Dollars have their proofs, and only 833 were minted – all in Philly.
As you can expect, 1888 Proof Morgan Silver Dollars are worth quite a lot of money. In PR63, they bring more than 3,000 dollars into your pocket or bank account. Even those with lower grades, such as PR 50 or 53, are valued at anywhere between $1,000 and $1,300.
The maximum an 1888 Proof Morgan Silver Dollar was sold for was a staggering 90,000 dollars. It was graded 67, but it also had a polish which resulted in a mirror-like finish.
If anyone out there is wondering what the minimum this coin sold at an auction is, the answer might surprise you – only $4. However, that happened all the way back in 1941. That figure rises to $82 in today’s money when adjusted for inflation.
1888 O Silver Dollar Value
An article about any coin would not be complete without the coin’s specifications, right? So let’s get into it!
1888 Silver Dollar weighs 0.942 ounces (26.73 g), has a thickness of 0.094 inches (2.4 mm), and a diameter of 1.5 inches (38.1 mm).
The composition of this reeded coin is 90% silver and 10% copper. Melted, it is worth almost 18 dollars.
Mintage & Value
Similarly to what happened to the No Mint mark coins, 1888 marked a point in time when the mintage of the O Silver Dollars started to decrease on a yearly basis.
The exact number of 1888 Silver Dollars struck at the mint in New Orleans, which operated from 1838 to 1861 and from 1879 to 1909, is 12,150,000.
Another similarity between No Mint and O 1888 Morgan Silver Dollars is their value since they are worth the same amount of money in many grades, such as good, very good, and all the way up to mint state 60.
The biggest differences are, of course, in higher-mint states. For example, an 1888 O Morgan Silver Dollar graded MS65 is worth almost 500 dollars, while a No Mint mark in the same grade is close to 300 dollars.
Highscore for O-marked coins is $25,850, which happened at Legend Rare Coin Auctions in Dember 2016.
1888 S Silver Dollar Value
San Francisco mint produced only 657,00 Silver Dollars in 1888, which is why these are the most valuable of the three varieties from the regular strike.
Even those graded as good are more than 100 dollars worth. 1888 S Silver Dollar in MS 60 is around $510! Take a look around your house: maybe your great-grandparents or grandparents left you something that will make your pocket happy for at least a while.
By the way, if you actually do find one and it happens to be in MS66,67 or something like that, you should know that on auctions, they can be sold for as much as 30 thousand dollars!
1888 Silver Dollar Grading
If you own an 1888 Silver Dollar but do not know what it is worth, all of these stories about its value and history are kind of pointless, right? That is why we would like to point you to this video that will teach you how to grade an 1888 Silver Dollar.
1888 Silver Dollar List Of Errors
1888 Silver Dollars have some of the usual suspects when it comes to mint errors. But they also have something unique only to them and Peace Silver Dollars. Keep on reading to find out about both!
1888 Silver Dollar VAMs Error
Since a mint uses several different dies during a certain minting year to transfer the design onto the planchets, coins from the same mint and the same year that are not identical to each other may appear.
Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Mallis noticed this phenomenon in Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars and cataloged all unique die varieties in their book The Comprehensive Catalog and Encyclopedia of Morgan and Peace Dollars.
They also coined the term VAM, which describes a unique die, by combining the first initials of their last names.
Several 1888 Morgan Silver Dollar VAMs can be differentiated from each other by slight imperfections, cracks, scratches, and variations, and they are usually worth more than the “regular” coins.
1888 Silver Dollar Reverse Struck Thru Error
A coin with a “strike-through” defect occurs during the minting process when an object obstructs the planchet from making contact with the die.
Specimens of the 1888 Silver Dollar have this error on the reverse where almost the whole bottom half of the reverse is not visible. They are worth around $1,000.
1888 Silver Dollar Double Die Reverse Error
Many 1888 Silver Dollar VAMs have the double die error.
One example would be VAM 12, which has it on the reverse. It is best visible around the R part of the ONE DOLLAR, on the leaves above the ONE DOLLAR, and around the RI part of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. In MS63, it is worth around $150, while in MS65 almost $330.
1888 Silver Dollar FAQ
Is there an 1888 CC Silver Dollar?
Silver Dollars were minted in Carson City from 1878 to 1885 and 1889 to 1893, meaning there are no 1888 CC Silver Dollars.
Is an 1888 Silver Dollar rare?
Even though 1888 Silver Dollars were minted a long time ago, they were produced in large enough quantities that make them not so rare.
However, only 833 1888 Proof Silver Dollars were struck, making these specimens extremely rare. The ones produced in the San Francisco mint can also be considered somewhat rare as fewer than 700,00 of them.