Three-inch Morgan dollar?

'Ancient coin' is a button
Published : 10/14/12
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I found a coin that is 3 inches in diameter. It has a ONE DOLLAR denomination, says UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, has the legends IN GOD WE TRUST and E PLURIBUS UNUM, and is dated 1900. Lady Liberty is on one side of the coin and there is an eagle on the other. Its edge is 3/16 of an inch thick, and it weighs 58.2 grams. Does this piece have any collectible value or history?

Paul Boccolucci

West Valley, N.Y.

Based upon the images sent and measurements provided, it appears Mr. Boccolucci’s piece it is an oversized replica of a 1900 Morgan silver dollar.

A genuine Morgan dollar would be composed of 90 percent silver, have a diameter of 1.5 inches and an overall weight of 26.73 grams.

As for the history and value of this piece, a great number of U.S. coins, both famous and common, have been reproduced in varying sizes and compositions by private companies over the years, usually for sale as novelties and souvenirs.

Because the piece is twice the weight and diameter of a genuine Morgan dollar, it likely was not intended to be passed as a counterfeit. This particular piece would be a good conversation piece or decorative item, but has no real value as a numismatic collectible.

I’ve had this ancient coin for many years and would like to know what it is worth.

Edith Irving

Corbin, Ky.

This item is not actually a coin, nor is it ancient.

Though heavily corroded, enough details still exist on the piece that an expert eye would likely determine it to be a uniform button dating to the period just prior to the War of 1812.

The front of the piece shows an eagle, head facing left, atop a cannon, the muzzle of which is also pointed to the left. The legend 1. REGT. appears below the cannon. The design and inscription of the button indicate the wearer was a member of the U.S. 1st Regiment of Artillery.

The other side has the stamped, circular legend ARMITAGE / PHILA., denoting the manufacturer.

The metal loop, or “eye,” on the back of the piece, upon which the button would have been threaded to a uniform, has broken off.

One valuable resource for items of this sort is the book Record of American Uniform and Historical Buttons by Alphaeus H. Albert, first published in 1969.

Like coins, the value of uniform buttons depends on their degree of rarity and condition.

A photo of a similar, better condition button can be found at

Coin World’s Readers Ask department does not accept coins or other items for examination without prior permission from staff member Erik Martin. Readers Ask also does not examine error or variety coins. Materials sent to Readers Ask without prior permission will be returned unexamined. Please address all Readers Ask inquiries to or call 800-673-8311, Ext. 274.

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