US Coins

13,000 New Orleans Mint Morgan dollars surface after 55 years

A hoard of 13,000 Morgan dollars from production at the New Orleans Mint has surfaced in the Treasury-sealed canvas bags in which they were secured during the government sales of silver dollars in the early 1960s.

Jeff Garrett from Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries in Lexington, Kentucky, met recently with the octogenarian widow of the late hard money supporter who originally purchased the Morgan dollars from the U.S. government.

Garrett said the woman resides in the Western United States. Garrett said the woman has continued to support her late husband’s hard currency philosophy and plans to convert the proceeds from the sale of the Morgan silver dollars into gold bullion, since their value in gold will be much lighter and take up less space than the bagged dollars.

With each Morgan dollar weighing 26.73 grams, or 0.86 ounce, the weight of the silver dollars totals 766.08 pounds.

Garrett said he was contacted by the woman’s representatives after they conducted a Google search online and came across a June 18, 2018, Coin World article detailing Garrett’s handling of another silver dollar hoard. The earlier hoard totaled 16,000 Carson City Mint Morgan dollars and were originally acquired through the Treasury Department sales to empty silver dollars from government vaults.

The Carson City Mint dollars had been in a New York City bank vault since 1964 when they were brought to Garrett’s attention.

Garrett said when large numbers of New Orleans Mint silver dollars are encountered, they are usually common date pieces: 1883-O, 1884-O and 1885-O coins. However, the current acquisition contains coins of four other dates instead — 1881-O (mintage 5,708,000), 1882-O (mintage 6,090,000), 1888-O mintage (12,150,000), and 1902-O (mintage 8,636,000) — coins that Garrett says are less common to find.

Examination, certification

Garrett said he spent three full days processing the coins: opening each bag, examining one by one each of the 13,000 coins, placing them into 20-coin tubes, taping the tubes shut, and placing the tubes in boxes for transport by Brink’s to Numismatic Guaranty Corp. in Sarasota, Florida, where they were authenticated, graded and encapsulated.

None of the coins was examined for variety as attributed in Comprehensive Catalogue And Encyclopedia of U.S. Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars by Leroy Van Allen and A. George Mallis.

Of the certified coins, 978 were dated 1881-O, with the highest grade assigned Mint State 64+.

NGC certified 4,992 1882-O Morgan dollars, with the highest graded MS-65+.

It certified 3,991 1888-O Morgan dollars, with the highest dated MS-66.

1902-O coins certified amounted to 1,965 coins, with the highest being seven coins graded MS-66.

Another 1,074 coins, of all four dates combined, remain to be curated by NGC’s affiliate, Numismatic Conservation Services, before grading and encapsulation.

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