US Coins

Morgan dollars continue to heat up U.S. coin market

The top end of the Morgan silver dollar market will be tested on May 21 as Sotheby’s offers the collection of Ralph and Lois Stone at its New York City headquarters.

The fresh grouping features nearly all brilliant, lustrous silver dollars that have been off the market for decades in their original Professional Coin Grading Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corp. holders. Each coin was selected for its eye appeal, with a uniform aesthetic uniting the coins in the collection.

Among the standouts is an 1884-S Morgan dollar graded PCGS MS-67 and an 1893-S dollar in PCGS MS-65, both with green Certified Acceptance Corp. stickers and both carrying an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000 each.

Buyers continue to see value in coins with CAC stickers and CAC recently distributed a press release providing some recent auctions where CAC coins with the “green bean” exceeded prices for seemingly comparable coins without a sticker. Of course, this is not particularly surprising in a market that values quality.

One example cited was a 1901 Morgan dollar graded PCGS MS-63 with a green CAC sticker that realized $16,800 at Heritage’s April Central States Numismatic Society auction. In contrast, two non-CAC PCGS MS-63 1901 dollars from the Centurion Collection recently sold at GreatCollections: a brilliant one brought $12,947.25 on March 11 and one with a ring of toning sold for $11,601.

This is the exact sort of conditionally rare issue where a CAC sticker gives bidders confidence that a nice coin may be worth a premium bid. While PCGS has graded 134 1901 dollars in MS-63, there are just six in MS-63+, 36 in MS-64, two MS-65 examples and an MS-66 that is the finest at PCGS. With a brilliant PCGS MS-64 selling for $55,200 at Heritage’s January Florida United Numismatists auction in Tampa, a very nice and lustrous MS-63 example is a solid alternative that leaves a collector with nearly $30,000 to spend on more Mint State Morgan dollars.

Heritage’s recent CSNS auction also presented an unusual opportunity in offering two nice circulated Morgan dollars. Since no Philadelphia Mint 1895 circulation strike 1895 Morgan dollars are known, collectors looking to finish a date set must rely on the Proof-only 1895 dollar.

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A few of these Proof strikes entered circulation and Heritage offered an NGC Very Fine 25 example that sold for $33,662.40 and was wholly problem free, though Heritage observed, “This example has the typical scattered marks that are acquired during circulation, with light gray surfaces and peripheral splashes of deep gold and steel-blue toning.” The next lot in the auction was a PCGS Proof 40 1895 dollar with a green CAC sticker that sold for $38,400, and Heritage wrote, “The opportunity to choose between two circulated proof 1895 Morgan silver dollars in one auction is unusual.” 

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