US Coins

1891-O Morgan dollar is finest of its grade at PCGS

Silver dollars offered at Legend’s Regency Auction 31 on March 21 in Las Vegas included a high-grade example of a coin that usually draws little attention except in the highest of grades.

An 1891-O Morgan dollar isn’t the first coin that comes to mind when collectors think of six-figure Morgans. Legend presented one graded Mint State 66 by Professional Coin Grading Service that sold for $108,687.50, soaring above the estimate of $75,000 to $85,000.

The strong demand was because it is the single finest-graded example by PCGS. As Legend wrote, “If you are building the #1 set, you need this coin,” ending the lot description with, “Congratulations to the winning bidder, you have just elevated your set into a level unobtained before!”

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In most grades the New Orleans Mint dollar is not rare, with a mintage of nearly 8 million. Q. David Bowers has observed that the 1891-O Morgan dollar has received little publicity over the years, since the typical coin is poorly struck and aesthetically unappealing. He said, “Many are nearly as flat as the proverbial pancake.” 

Examples were saved in hoards, but these typically grade MS-60 to MS-62, and in MS-65 it is a tough coin, but examples have traded for as little as $3,120 in recent auctions.

PCGS has graded just 11 in MS-65+, and the offered example was the lone MS-66 coin at PCGS.

Numismatic Guaranty Corp. has graded several MS-66 dollars, one of which brought $22,200 at Stack’s Bowers’ November 2017 Baltimore Auction. 

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