Coin Specifications

Category: Morgan Dollars (1878-1921)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 5,000,000
Catalog: KM-110
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 26.7300g
ASW: 0.7734oz
Melt Value: $15.24 (4/18/2014)
Diameter: 38.1mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1896 S S$1 MS obverse 1896 S S$1 MS reverse


  
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Description & Analysis

Wayne Miller had the following comments about this issue: "Despite a mintage of five million pieces, the 1896-S is very scarce in uncirculated condition. Although original rolls of this date have appeared as recently as 1973, they appear to have been widely dispersed. Most BU specimens evidence average luster, very heavy surface abrasions (particularly about Liberty's face), and much weakness on the high points. The latter does not appear to be the result of worn dies, but is more probably due to inadequate striking pressure or improper basining of the dies." Miller continued, suggesting the Gem Morgan Dollars are among the most underrated of all dates in the series. Like certain other issues in the Morgan Dollar series, the 1896-S Dollar is relatively common and easily obtainable in circulated, well-worn grade, but becomes elusive in Very Fine or higher grades. The mintage of this issue totaled 5 million coins, and apparently many of them quickly entered circulation. Bag quantities of Mint State coins were available and paid out at the mint as recently as the early 1950s, but no bag quantities were available later than that time. Apparently very few, if any, were included in the early 1960s Treasury release. Today, most want lists of Morgan dollars from all except the most advanced collectors include this date. It has been called one of the "Most Wanted" of all Morgan dollar issues.

Miss Anna Willess Williams served as the model for these coins. She was certainly a lovely bride, for 1896 was the year that she was married. An extensive notice was published in the May 1896 issue of The Numismatist: "The announcement that the Goddess of Liberty is about to be married has aroused new interest in the woman whose face is known to more people than that of any other women of the American continent. Every man, woman or child who has a silver dollar carries the handsome profile of the Philadelphia school-teacher, Miss Anna W. Williams. Her classic features have been stamped upon millions of silver disks.

"It is twenty years since the pretty blonde girl became world-famous. It was then stated that Miss Williams' profile was the original of the Goddess of Liberty on that much abused, much admired and equally much disliked Bland silver dollar. The friends of the young woman placed every obstacle in the way of possible identification, but failed in their object. The story of how Miss Williams came to be the Goddess of Liberty may be retold, now that it is said she is soon to become a bride.

"In the early part of 1876 the Treasury Department secured through communication with the Royal Mint of England. The services of a clever young designer and engraver named George Morgan. Upon his arrival in this country Mr. Morgan was installed at the Philadelphia Mint and was assigned the task of making a design for the new silver dollar. After many months of labor the young engraver completed the design for the reverse side of the coin upon which he represented the American eagle. His attention was then turned to the other side, and his original inclination was to place on it a fanciful head representing the Goddess of Liberty. But the ambitious designer was too much of a realist to be satisfied with a mere product of fancy. Finally he determined the head should be the representation of some American girl and forthwith searched for his beauteous maid.

"It was a long search, although pleasant. He told his friends of his desires, and one of them spoke of the really classic beauty of Miss Anna Williams. The English designer was introduced to the girl. Mr. Morgan was at once impressed with her beautiful face and studied it carefully. Then he told her what he desired, and she promptly refused to permit herself to be the subject of the design. Her friends, however, induced her to pose before an artist. After five sittings the design was completed.

"Mr. Morgan was so enthusiastic that he declared Miss Williams' profile was the most nearly perfect he had seen in England or America. His design for the Bland silver dollar was accepted by Congress, and so the silver coins have been pouring from the mints all these years adorned with the stately face of a Quaker City maiden.

Miss Williams is a decidedly modest young woman. She resides on Spring Garden Street, not far from the school in which for years she has been employed as an instructor in philosophy and methods in the kindergarten department. She is slightly below the average height, is rather plump, and is fair. She carries her figure with a stateliness rarely seen and the pose of the head is exactly as seen on the silver dollar. The features of Miss Williams are reproduced as faithfully as in a good photograph."

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 S S$1 MS
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 33.00 38.00 45.00 70.00 250 250 800 900 1050 1225 2000 2100 2750 3750 5750 19000 80000 165000 - 550000 -
$ 315 875 1000 1150 1350 2200 2300 3800 5000 7000 28750 100000 200000 -
1896 S S$1 MS Prooflike
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ - - - - - - - - - - - - 8000 12000 - - - - - - -
$ - - - - - - - 9000 14000 - - - - -
1896 S S$1 MS Deep Prooflike
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 1527
Low Grade: G
Average Grade: 55
High Grade: 67


Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
4/27/2014 MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2014 April 23 - 27 CSNS US Coin Signature Auction - Chicago Session(4), 1204/Lot# 5318
4/27/2014 MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2014 April 23 - 27 CSNS US Coin Signature Auction - Chicago Session(3), 1204/Lot# 4984


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
8/2/2006 PCGS VF 25   Teletrade Auction 2240, 2240/Lot# 1561 $68.00
4/16/2007 NGC XF 45   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 135, 140/Lot# 2130 $299.00
1/9/2008 NGC MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2008 January Orlando, FL (FUN) Signature Coin Auction #454, 454/Lot# 5623 $4,025.00
1/31/2010 PCGS MS 63   Goldberg January 31 - February 3, 2010 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 57/Lot# 1386 $2,530.00
6/14/2011 NGC MS 63   Stack's Bowers The June 2011 Baltimore Auction, 92/Lot# 4697 $2,185.00
1/3/2012 PCGS MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2012 January 4-8 US Coins & Platinum Night FUN Signature Auction- Orlando Session(8), 1166/Lot# 7230 $2,875.00
8/12/2012 NGC Details AU Details  GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 08/12/2012, 35/Lot# 55176 $330.00
12/16/2012 NGC Details XF Details  Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131252/Lot# 24907 $99.88


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1896 S S$1 MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base139147151159248695113814501505159917302179246428983324395264371117213914150562100342655
14114815318839784212421468153616421879227426083040353347808015120861429417038282200
0000001242146815361642187922742608304035334780801512086142941703800
0000001346148615671686202923692753318237425608959313000146751902000
1896 S S$1 MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base151163167175268743120615311589168718242290258545655367558268201154114347172962385769307
15516416920642689713141550162117321979238832454832543859948393124761533019483390070
0000001314155016211732197923883245483254385994839312476153301948300
0000001422156916541778213424863905509955106407996713411163132167000
1896 S S$1 MS Deep Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base175183186198301809130316471707181019542445275432244064504970221204917296238573209996397
17718419023247097314171667174118582117254829103504439257068697137981948326604535310
0000001417166717411858211725482910350443925706869713798194832660400
00000015321687177519062281265130673784472063641037315547216702935100
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 66
Points: 11172
Owner: MLMM Collection
 
Grade: MS 62 PL
Points: 4565
Owner: Coxe
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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