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How Much Does a Morgan Silver Dollar Weigh?

Key Takeaways:

  • Morgan Silver Dollars are a real piece of American history and the changes the country was going through during the turn of the 20th century;
  • Knowing the weight of silver coins, such as Morgan Silver Dollars, can help you identify counterfeits and protect your assets;
  • Because silver coins are priced according to their weight and the current silver spot price, knowing the precise weight and purity of Morgan Silver Dollars will facilitate how you understand their value;
  • Key dates and coins in brilliant uncirculated condition may be worth more than their weight in silver due to their numismatic appeal to collectors.

The Short Answer on How Much a Morgan Silver Dollar Weighs

The standard weight of a Morgan Silver Dollar is 26.73 grams, equivalent to .859 troy ounces in total, and its actual silver content is 0.77344 troy ounces (90% pure).

What is a Morgan Silver Dollar?

If you are interested in coin collecting, chances are you are familiar with the Morgan Silver Dollar, one of the most renowned coins among collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Minted by the U.S. Mint between 1878 and 1904 and again in 1921, these American coins have over a century of history. They succeeded the Seated Liberty Dollars and preceded the Peace Silver Dollars.

This was the first United States silver dollar minted after the Coinage Act of 1873, through which the US Congress demonetized silver and established its participation in the international gold standard.

The Morgan Silver Dollar continues to captivate collectors, prompting inquiries about its unique features and historical significance.

Morgan Silver Dollar

Face Value

1 USD 

Mass

0.859 Troy ounces (26.73 Grams)

Diameter

1.500 inches (38.10 mm)

Thickness

0.094 inches (2.4 mm)

Composition

90% Silver, 10% Copper (1878–1904, 1921)

99.9% Silver (2021–present)

Obverse

Design

Lady Liberty

Designer

George T. Morgan

Reverse

Design

The bald eagle holding arrows and an olive branch

Designer

George T. Morgan

Designs date

1878

Mint marks

S (San Francisco)

None (Philadelphia)

D (Denver)

CC (Carson City)

O (New Orleans)

Keep reading this article to learn the importance of knowing the precise weight of silver coins, how it can affect their value, and how it can help you identify counterfeits.

Why is a coin's weight relevant?

While the most common type of counterfeiting among Morgan dollars involves adding an "S" mintmark to the 1893-P Morgan Dollar (since Philadelphia mint coins do not bear any mint mark), understanding how weight affects a coin's value is crucial in coin collection.

In the precious metals market, the Troy oz system is the standard unit for measuring gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.

Morgan Dollar on a scale

Source

The troy ounce used for precious metal coins, including gold coins, equals precisely 31.1034768 grams.

Understanding a coin's weight is essential (though not the only method) for distinguishing between authentic pieces and counterfeits. Due to the varying masses of different metals, the weight of a silver coin serves as a reliable indicator of the authenticity of the silver content.

Furthermore, because silver is priced according to its weight, the value of a silver coin is calculated by multiplying its weight by the silver spot price plus the dealer's premium.

Therefore, knowing its precise weight is paramount to understanding how much a Morgan Silver Dollar is worth.

Historical Context

The name of the new silver dollar comes from its designer, George T. Morgan, a United States Mint Assistant Engraver at the time.

The existence of the Morgan Silver Dollar can be attributed, at least in part, to the provisions of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act.

Enacted on July 14, 1890, the Sherman Silver Purchase Act mandated that the United States Treasury increase its purchases of silver, aiming to boost inflation, which was seen as beneficial for farmers at the time.

This requirement for increased silver purchases directly motivated the production of silver coins, including the Morgan Silver Dollar.

Check out our complete guide to 90% junk silver.

Even though Morgan silver dollars production went on hiatus, the coin's standard weight remained the same. Although there are slight variations depending on different mint facilities, an authentic Morgan silver dollar should weigh 26.73 grams.

The US Mint has recently released a new, collectible version of Modern Morgan Silver Dollars. These coins come in an original display box with a Certificate of Authenticity. They celebrate the history of American coinage and are a real testament to the US Mint’s continued work to provide the country with the epitome of craftsmanship.

Factors Affecting the Value of Morgan Silver Dollars

Silver Content

Morgan Silver Dollar

Source

The most significant feature of this coin is its silver content. It was originally composed of 90% pure silver and 10% copper. Copper, a common base metal in coinage, increases the coin's durability and resistance to wear.

The coin's composition consisted of 0.77344 troy ounces of pure silver and 0.08406 troy ounces of copper.

When the production of the morgan silver dollars ceased that same year, in 1921, the Peace Silver Dollar was issued for the first time to commemorate the end of World War I.

The modern Morgan Dollars and the Peace Dollar, released by the US Mint in 2021 and then again in 2023, are 99.9% silver bullion coins, primarily for commemorative and collectible purposes.

The Morgan Dollar symbolized the nation's westward expansion and industrial growth during the late 19th century. In contrast, the Peace Dollar signified the country's emergence as a global power and commemorated the peace achieved following World War I.

Uncirculated Bullion coin weighing .859 oz (26.68 grams) of .999 fine silver, backed by the United States Government as USD1 legal tender.

The design remains the same, as the obverse still depicts a profile of Liberty. She wears a cap adorned with flora and a crown inscribed with the word “LIBERTY,” surrounded by 13 stars, the phrase “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” and the date of issue.

On the reverse, a bald eagle with spread wings grips arrows and an olive branch framed by a wreath.

Weight variations across different United States mints

There are slight variations in the Morgan Dollar's weight across the different US Mint branches.

Those variations can be from the manipulation or the production process itself; they do appear on scales but do not affect the coin's value and relevance for coin collectors, as the small differences are acceptable.

  • San Francisco coins tended to be underweight compared to the standard, with an average weight of 26.65 grams.
  • Carson City Morgans typically vary around the weight of 26.75 grams.
  • New Orleans Morgans generally average around 26.7 grams.
  • Denver Morgans averaged between 26.50 and 26.60 grams in the early 1920s.

Notable Mints and Dates

The value of this one coin is based on its pure silver content and premium, as it is a collectible item. Sometimes, specific dates will increase their premium because of their scarcity or historical significance.

Coins with certain years or mint marks are considered key-date coins. A key date is often defined as a coin that is scarcer than a common coin and harder to obtain in a series.

Some factors that influence whether a coin is a key date include demand, the number of coins struck, the population of surviving examples, and the rarity of mint-state examples.

See below the most outstanding key dates for the Morgan silver dollar series:

    • The lowest mintage of the business strike Morgan silver dollar back in the day was in 1893 in San Francisco. Only 100,000 coins were struck, making this a key date in the Morgan series and very rare in Mint state. Most of them can only be found in private coin collections;
    • The second lowest mintage and also a very popular variety is the 1894 Philadelphia Morgan dollar, which had a strike of 110,000 that year;
    • 1895-O is very rare in Mint State conditions. As of March 2024, PCGS reported less than 200 hundred uncirculated specimens;

New Orleans Morgan Dollar

Source

    • The Morgan dollars from Denver are also a key date because they were exclusively produced in 1921. So, if you ever come across a Denver coin, it must have the date 1921;

Denver Morgan Dollar
Source

    • The coins from Carson City Mint are pretty rare and will have a higher premium over their counterparts. The Carson City Mint (CC) operated intermittently between 1870 and 1893 and struck relatively fewer coins compared to other mints like Philadelphia, San Francisco, and New Orleans. The most commonly counterfeited coins are those issued by the San Francisco and Carson City mints.

Carson City Morgan Dollar

Source

Final Thoughts

In this article, you learned how much a Morgan Silver Dollar weighs and other aspects that influence its value, such as metal composition, mint marks, and key dates. These last ones will play a crucial role in this case.

Furthermore, as authentic witnesses of the 19th century, these coins carry not only the physical weight of their composition but also the symbolic weight of a nation in transition.

When we hold a Silver Morgan Dollar, we are literally touching a piece of America's past, a time when money had a palpable history to tell.

FAQs

How much does a Morgan silver dollar weigh in ounces?

A Morgan Silver Dollar weighs 0.859 Troy ounces or 0.9434 avoirdupois ounces. Check out the differences between an ounce and a Troy ounce.

How much does a Morgan silver dollar weigh in grams?

A Morgan silver dollar typically weighs approximately 26.73 grams.

How much is a Morgan silver dollar worth?

Key dates, such as the 1893-S Morgan silver dollars, can fetch as high as $2,250,000 in uncirculated conditions. Common date Morgan Dollars will be worth around $50 in BU condition. Remember to consider the silver content and that these coins' values can fluctuate around the silver price.

How much silver is in a Morgan dollar?

From 1878 until 1921, the standard amount of silver in silver morgans was 0.77344 troy ounces of pure silver with 0.08406 troy ounces of copper, or, if you prefer, 90% silver and 10% copper.

Where is the mint mark on the Morgan Silver Dollar?

On Morgan Silver Dollars, the mint mark is typically located on the reverse (tails) side of the coin, just below the wreath and above the letters "O" in "ONE" or "D" in "DOLLAR." The mint mark indicates the location where the coin was minted. For example, "CC" stands for Carson City, "O" stands for New Orleans, "S" stands for San Francisco, and "D" stands for Denver. If there is no mint mark, it means the coin was minted in Philadelphia.

Who is on the Morgan silver dollar?

The figure depicted on the front, or obverse, of the Morgan Silver Dollar is Lady Liberty, an allegorical character that encompasses American values and virtues, such as freedom of thought and speech. This portrayal of Liberty is in profile, facing left. She is adorned with a cap, flora, and a crown inscribed with the word "LIBERTY." 

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Mo Menezes
Mo Menezes
Researcher and Contributor

Murilo (Mo) Menezes is an attorney and tenured English professor. His passion for economics and coinage led him to the gold and silver industry where he writes in-depth articles about collectible coins; as well as coin news and investing articles...

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