US Coins

Market Analysis: 1902-O Morgan dollar still rare in top grades

Generally indifferent production quality has made the 1902-O Morgan dollar rare in very top grades and this MS-67+ with a green CAC sticker is among the finest known. It brought $31,200 recently.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions

The 1902-O Morgan dollar was once considered a rarity in Mint State grades, but the release of thousands of Uncirculated survivors from Philadelphia Mint vaults in 1962 changed the issue’s relative rarity, and today nearly all grades are common.

The population still thins in very top grades, since many New Orleans Mint dollars of the era were poorly struck, characterized by flat centers on both sides, with ill-defined hair at the center of the obverse and mushy details in the eagle’s feathers on the reverse.

With none graded Mint State 68 at PCGS, collectors must compete to acquire the five that are graded MS-67+, the finest certified at the service. This one has a green CAC sticker.

Heritage writes, “An indifferent strike and numerous bagmarks limit the grade of most Mint State examples, as it does with other so-called Creole dollars from the New Orleans Mint. This splendid, high-end Superb Gem is an exception,” observing, “A ring of reddish-gold and steel-blue toning hugs the borders, while the interiors are brilliant and frosted.”

It realized $31,200 in April, a strong price considering a more typical PCGS MS-67 representative sold for $4,852.80 in the same auction.

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