George G. writes: I have a 1897 U.S. Dollar, I am not sure if it is a silver dollar or not. I called a local coin dealer and he quoted me a surprisingly low number. I feel the coin is worth more but not sure how much. It is in good condition. What is the best way for me to find out about it and sell it for the amount it is actually worth? I have been all over the internet searching , but with no luck. Thank you for your help.
Morgan dollars (1878-1904, 1921) were struck on composition of 90% silver and 10% copper. Silver dollars weigh 26.73 grams and contain .77344 of a troy ounce of silver. 1897 Morgan Dollars were minted at three Mints, the mint mark is under the wreath at 6:00 on the reverse. Coins with no mint mark were struck in Philadelphia, 1897-O, struck at the New Orleans Mint and 1897-S, Struck at the San Francisco Mint.
Values of Morgan Dollars depend on their condition and rarity. Most Morgan Dollars didn’t circulate, except for in the Western States, where chronic coin shortages plagued commerce. If you lived in the eastern United States in the 19th century you would rarely encounter a silver dollar in day to day transactions. Since many dollars were stored Treasury vaults, they became subject to periodic melts when the silver was needed for other purposes. These melts help explain why some dates and Mint combinations are scarce or rare today.
As with all coins, condition, rarity and demand are the factors that determine market value. 1897 Morgan Dollars are quite plentiful, even in uncirculated grades. Circulated pieces of this date are usually found in quantity and are often sold in bags of 1,000. mixed with other common dates. For the 1897-O and 1897-S issues, high grade pieces are scarce to rare.
Here are some approximate value ranges for 1897 Morgan Dollars (grades VF-MS63):
- 1897 – $17 – $25
- 1897-O – $17 -$30 (VF – EF) AU – $75 MS60 – $750. MS63 – $4,000.
- 1897-S – $17-$30 (VF – EF) AU -$35 MS60 – $43 MS63 – $60.
If you are not knowledgeable about grading, see the CoinSite FAQ article Coin Grading. To have your coins graded professionally, see the CoinSite Links Page for PCGS, ANACS or NGC. For general pricing on United States coins, see the What’s it Worth? feature. For background information on Morgan Dollars see the 1878-1921 SILVER DOLLAR MORGAN.