Coin Specifications

Category: Morgan Dollars (1878-1921)
Mint: New Orleans
Mintage: 4,900,000
Catalog: KM-110
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 26.7300g
ASW: 0.7734oz
Melt Value: $14.35 (9/18/2014)
Diameter: 38.1mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1896 O S$1 MS obverse 1896 O S$1 MS reverse


  
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Description & Analysis

While not particularly rare in circulated grades, the 1896-O dollar is elusive in all Mint State grades, and a major rarity in Gem quality. In The Morgan and Peace Dollar Textbook, Wayne Miller wrote: ?No other Morgan dollar is as consistently deficient in luster, strike, and degree of surface abrasions as the 1896-O. A fully struck piece is rare, an 1896-O with minimum bagmarks is even more unusual. In the author?s opinion, the 1896-O is the rarest of all Morgan dollars in truly Gem condition.?

In 1896, the New Orleans Mint coined 4,900,000 silver dollars, following several years of lean production. This mintage is only a little over 300,000 fewer silver dollars than had been struck in New Orleans during the previous four years combined. It is almost certainly the case that those four years of limited production created this condition rarity as nearly all of these pieces were actually placed in circulation in 1896.

This issue provides an excellent illustration of the often confusing relationship between rarity and mintage. With a production of nearly 5 million coins, the ?96-O has a substantial mintage for Morgan dollar issue. There are nearly 50 different issues that have a lower mintage, including such issues as 1884-CC, 1897, 1898-O, and 1904-O, just to name a few, and none of these dates come even close to the rarity of the ?96-O in high grade. In the Morgan dollar series, rarity is not based on mintage, but on survival. For many dates, substantial portions of the mintage were placed in storage at the Treasury for several decades, until they were released in the 1960s, or even into the 1970s for some of the Carson City issues. Dates that were placed in storage are now the common dates in the series. Other dates, such as the 1896-O, that were released into circulation, are now the rarities or condition rarities of the series. In a few instances, such as the 1893-S, the rarity is explained by a combination of low mintage and release into circulation, and these are the dates that are keys to the series in all grades. The 1889-CC is another example.

The condition rarity status of this date is similar to the 1901 silver dollar. Both are essentially common in circulated grades, but rare in Mint State grades, and when such pieces are found, they are usually at the lowest numerical levels. However, proof examples of 1901 are available to collectors, but not so for the 96-O. Dave Bowers writes: ?Those who are edged out of buying a Gem Mint State 1901 can wink twice and buy a proof quickly, but the collector seeking an 1896-O has no such fallback possibility.?

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 2/10/2014

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1896 O S$1 MS
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 33.00 35.00 37.00 42.00 52.00 52.00 130 155 200 600 1350 1900 3100 7400 40750 179000 450000 - - - -
$ 65.00 150 170 245 675 1575 2200 4150 15000 52500 220000 510000 - -
1896 O S$1 MS Prooflike
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ - - - - - - - - 400 750 2500 3850 8500 - - - - - - - -
$ - - - 500 900 3250 5000 12500 - - - - - -
1896 O S$1 MS Deep Prooflike
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ - - - - - - - - - - 7500 21000 31000 38500 - - - - - - -
$ - - - - - 9500 29000 37500 44000 - - - - -
NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 5950
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 55
High Grade: 65


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
9/1/1997 NGC AU 58   Teletrade Auction 0976, 976/Lot# 1792 $348.80
3/6/2008 NGC AU 55   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday - Internet Auction # 227, 233/Lot# 6130 $241.50
7/31/2009 PCGS MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2009 August Los Angeles, CA US Coin Auction #1128, 1128/Lot# 2010 $1,725.00
9/19/2010 PCGS AU 58   Goldberg September 19-21, 2010 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 60/Lot# 1835 $483.00
1/24/2012 NGC MS 61   Stack's Bowers The January 2012 Americana Sale, 134/Lot# 10214 $1,840.00
12/30/2012 NGC AU 58   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131302/Lot# 26242 $329.00
6/16/2013 PCGS XF 45   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 06/16/2013, 79/Lot# 122129 $46.00
11/24/2013 PCGS AU 55   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 11/24/2013, 102/Lot# 145871 $198.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1896 O S$1 MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base3333331833367709821243139313932017323864731051513281148802077773032131406
3333363234480840106912931393160124244316782011437138141684538195924900
00000023448084010691293139316012424431678201143713814168453819500
00000028562591111561343139318092831539491671235914347188115561300
1896 O S$1 MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base3333331833367709821243139324642754395270771217816353201532746593100134561
33333632344808401069129317502560315349938777135691761922590493431069200
00000023448084010691293175025603153499387771356917619225904934300
000000285625911115613432107265735526035104771496118886250277122100
1896 O S$1 MS Deep Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base33333318333677098212431393300938175367719813112201532746536576117771134561
33333632344808401069129319313278433359779169154592259030502636411233670
00000023448084010691293193132784333597791691545922590305026364100
000000285625911115613432470354748506587111401780625027335399070600
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 62
Points: 2017
Owner: K M Lust
 
Grade: MS 61
Points: 1393
Owner: ejonholmes
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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