Coin Specifications

Category: Morgan Dollars (1878-1921)
Mint: New Orleans
Mintage: 450,000
Catalog: KM-110
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 26.7300g
ASW: 0.7734oz
Melt Value: $13.78 (9/20/2014)
Diameter: 38.1mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1895 O S$1 MS obverse 1895 O S$1 MS reverse

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There are no varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

The 1895-O Morgan silver dollar is one of the prime condition rarities in the series. Only a few other dates are similarly rare in higher grades, including issues such as the 1884-S, 1886-O, 1892-S, 1893-S, and 1901 dollars. Although examples of all those dates, including the 1895-O, are frequently available in all circulated grades through AU58, any full Mint State piece is elusive, and Choice or Gem quality coins are extremely rare.

The original mintage totaled just 450,000 coins, all struck between January and May 1895. Mint records show that 200,000 were minted in January, 100,000 in February, 100,000 in April, and 50,000 in May. It appears that many were released into circulation. In A Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars, Dave Bowers suggests that about 100,000 were released into circulation near the time of issue. It is believed that the others went into storage, only to be melted years later. It is unknown when this coin from the Clapp and Eliasberg Collections was actually coined, although both sides have light die cracks, suggesting a later die state. It is conceivable that this piece was one of the 50,000 coined in May 1895.

A key to the rarity of this issue in Mint State grades is the status of the 1895-O as the single business strike issue that was not represented in any bag-quantity silver dollar release from the Treasury. Bowers repeats commentary about small quantities being released from the Treasury prior to the 1960s: 'I have heard suggestions that from several dozen to a couple hundred Mint State coins came out of the Treasury Building in the early 1950s, but how they would grade today is anybody's guess. Uncirculated coins of years ago are often classified as AU today. I have found no account or even a rumor of any being a part of the 1862 through 1964 Treasury release.'

Another key to rarity is the typical quality of examples at the time they were struck. 'To say that their workmanship was shoddy would be an understatement, from a numismatic viewpoint, it was terrible,' states Bowers in Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States, A Complete Encyclopedia. Mint workers in New Orleans had little reason to create an attractive product. They knew that their coins would end up in storage, as had examples for many years prior to that time. The goal was to produce the largest quantity of coins in the shortest possible time. Die spacing was slightly greater than normal, intended to preserve die life, eliminating die breaks and erosion. With five die pairs available, each individual die only lasted for 90,000 coins, so the little extra space between die faces failed to accomplish the goal. Only an extremely short time in circulation, usually insufficient to actually show wear on a sharp coin, was apt to make a poorly struck coin look like it was just an AU example.

It may be the case that all of the MS64 or finer grade coins were acquired at or near the time of issue in 1895 by coin collectors, and have been carefully preserved since that time. J.M. Clapp acquired the Eliasberg specimen directly from the New Orleans Mint for face value in October 1895. The entry in the Clapp Notebook reads: 'U.S. Mint, Oct 95, 1.00.' In fact, Clapp acquired every one of his Morgan dollars dated between 1894 and 1904 from the Mint at the time of issue. He paid $1.25 each for the Philadelphia Mint proofs, and $1.00 each for every New Orleans and San Francisco issue. In 1942, Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. acquired the entire collection from the Clapp estate, and held the coins until his own death in 1976. Twenty years later, all of those 'two owner' coins finally reached the numismatic marketplace.

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


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 9/9/2014

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

1895 O S$1 MS
Base $ 230 310 360 430 625 625 1275 1475 2100 5900 16750 21000 29000 49000 86000 180000 380000 725000 - - -
$ 750 1400 1700 2900 7700 17750 24250 37500 57500 103000 210000 - - -
1895 O S$1 MS Prooflike
Base $ - - - - - - - - 3400 6250 18250 29000 39000 - 105000 225000 - - - - -
$ - - - 3750 8000 - - - - - - - - -
1895 O S$1 MS Deep Prooflike
Base $ - - - - - - - - - 8500 22750 33500 45000 60000 160000 325000 - - - - -
$ - - - - 10500 - - - - - - - - -
NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer



Total Graded: 5058
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 45
High Grade: 66

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
6/8/2006 PCGS XF 45   Teletrade Auction 2216, 2216/Lot# 1239 $812.00
7/9/2009 PCGS AU 53   Heritage Auctions 2009 July West Palm Beach, FL (Summer FUN) Signature US Coin Auction #1127, 1127/Lot# 986 $1,380.00
2/3/2011 PCGS VF 25   Heritage Auctions 2011 February Long Beach Signature US Coin Auction Session(5), 1152/Lot# 8871 $373.75
9/22/2011 PCGS AU 58   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday - Internet Auction # 621, 628/Lot# 4437 $4,025.00
5/27/2012 PCGS   Goldberg May 27-31, 2012 The May Pre-Long Beach Auction, 69/Lot# 814 $391.00
7/12/2012 NGC AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2012 July 12-15 US Coin Summer FUN Signature Auction - Orlando Session(2), 1172/Lot# 4426 $3,220.00
8/30/2013 PCGS VF 20   Stack's Bowers The September 2013 Philadelphia Auction, 195/Lot# 4739 $675.63
6/29/2014 PCGS G 4   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 06/29/2014, 187/Lot# 173823 $190.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1895 O S$1 MS
1895 O S$1 MS Prooflike
1895 O S$1 MS Deep Prooflike
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 58
Points: 4573
Owner: GauchoDave
Grade: AU 58
Points: 4573
Owner: Morgan Dollar Dale
View the Registry Image Gallery

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