Michael Bugeja

Online Coin Auctions

Michael Bugeja

Michael Bugeja, a coin collector since childhood, is a professor at Iowa State University and also a former member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. He is a nationally known author, journalist and educator.

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Bid Cautiously on "Tidy House" Morgan Dollars

Click the photo above and see if you can tell why the "Tidy House" dollar is not the original one placed in the promotional item distributed by a cleaning products company in the 1960s?

The advertising description states:

"DID YOU KNOW ... that your uncirculated SILVER DOLLAR is the famous "MORGAN" SILVER DOLLAR, named for its designer George T. Morgan"?

As you can see, the dollar in the Tidy House holder is a 1926 Peace Dollar, which was not designed by Morgan but by Anthony de Francisci.

Tidy House dollars in original packaging sell for high premiums because the cardboard holder caused many of the Morgans to tone in brilliant colors. Most are common-date 1880s often from the New Orleans mint. The company reportedly stocked up on the dollars by purchasing $1,000 bags of Morgans from the US Treasury Department hoard.

Toned Morgan dollars sell for high premiums. This Tidy House 1884-O , probably worth about $50, sold for three times as much recently on GreatCollections.

The problem with Tidy House lots in online auctions is that many have already been switched out of the holder for slabbing, with other dollars of lesser value placed back in the holders. In the eBay example above, someone who acquired the Tidy House sample put a cleaned and retoned almost uncirculated Peace dollar in its place. That coin does have nice toning, but there also is a faint pin scratch across the cheek, rendering the coin's value to about $35-50.

A few more facts about Tidy House silver coins. The best come with original advertisements . You can also find 1964 Tidy House half dollars commemorating the passing of John F. Kennedy. Those also can tone, but often not as spectacularly as Morgan dollars.

Be careful bidding on any raw coins in online auctions, even ones that seem like bargains, as in the 1926 Peace example above. Two reasons why that sold on eBay for $150: any toned uncirculated Peace dollar is worth much more than most toned Morgans because Peace dollars rarely display rainbow colors. And the 1926 had scant mintage (1,939,000).
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2 comments
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