When thin at the top means attractive: MS-66 1881-O Morgan dollar

Collectors pay huge premiums when a Morgan dollar is premium quality
By , Coin World
Published : 05/16/17
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As a general rule collectors of Morgan silver dollars fall into two groups: those that like their coins colorful and toned, and those that prefer their dollars brilliant and frosty. Heritage’s recent April 28 afternoon auction session at the Central States Numismatic Society convention in metropolitan Chicago included several standout dollars that were recognized by bidders at being premium for the grade. When it comes to Morgan dollars that are at the top of their grade — especially when numerically finer examples are unknown — collectors are willing to open their checkbook to pay exceptionally strong prices in their quest for the best. 

Here is one of three examples of premium Morgan dollars from the CSNS convention's Heritage sale that prove that point:

The Coin:

1881-O Morgan dollar, MS-66, CAC sticker

The Price:

$16,450

The Story:

1881-O Morgan dollars are very common in nearly all grades, with a mintage approaching 6 million and a high survival rate thanks to many being preserved in bags that were released by the Treasury Department through the 1960s. However, the population thins in Mint State 65 and finer, with just 37 submissions at Professional Coin Grading Service in MS-66 and just three graded MS-66+. No MS-67 examples of the 1881-O Morgan dollar been certified at either PCGS or Numismatic Guaranty Corp.

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At the CSNS show auction Heritage offered a PCGS MS-66 example with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker that sold for a hefty $16,450, roughly double what a toned example brought earlier in April at a different Heritage auction.


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The subject dollar came from The Siegel Collection, which was assembled over three decades by the chairman of a manufacturing company who decided to sell his collection of silver dollars because he wanted to see the collection sold during his lifetime and did not want to burden his heirs.

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