Coin Specifications

Category: Gold Commemoratives (1903-1926)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 5,000
Catalog: KM-144
Obverse Designer: Charles E. Barber
Reverse Designer: George T. Morgan
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 1.6720g
AGW: 0.0484oz
Melt Value: $51.18 (11/27/2015)
Diameter: 15mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1917 MCKINLEY G$1 MS obverse 1917 MCKINLEY G$1 MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

The McKinley gold dollars of 1916 and 1917 were coined at the request the National McKinley Birthplace memorial Association nearly fifteen years after McKinley’s death at the hands of an assassin. Proceeds from the sale of the coins were to be used to construct a memorial in his home town of Niles, Ohio. While the original request from the association was for commemorative silver dollars, McKinley’s pro-gold stance in office led Congress to the change the bill to call for gold dollar coins instead. A bill passed on February 23rd, 1916 authorized the mintage of up to 100,000 coins.

Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber was selected to design the reverse, and his assistant George T. Morgan was charged with designing the reverse. Barber was nearing the end of his life, and his obverse was not well received. The portrait of McKinley didn’t particularly look like the former president, which is obviously an issue. Around the top of the periphery are UNITED · STATES · OF · AMERICA, and MCKINLEY · DOLLAR is seen below.

Morgan’s reverse was even less well-received. It features a facing view of the McKinley Birthplace Memorial structure. Not only is it architecturally inaccurate, but it’s also crudely rendered. Around the periphery of the coin is MCKINLEY BIRTHPLACE MEMORIAL. NILES OHIO is above the memorial, divided by a flag pole, and the date, either 1916 or 1917, is below. When combined with the fact that these coins are often seen weakly struck, the whole makes for an aesthetically poor creation.

There were 20,000 McKinley gold dollars struck in 1916 and a further 10,000 dated 1917 struck in February of the following year. Some uncertainty exists respecting the number of each date that was actually sold as well as the number melted. However, according to B. Max Mehl, a famous dealer of the time who handled many thousands of the coins, 5,000 of both issues were melted, leaving a net mintage of 15,000 for the 1916 issue and only 5,000 for the 1917.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 12/31/2014

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

Base $ - - - 440 535 565 585 625 650 745 800 910 1250 1950 3150 6700 - - -
$ 550 575 600 635 675 775 860 1025 1400 2300 3700 7900 -

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Total Graded: 1485
Low Grade: 40
Average Grade: 63
High Grade: 67

Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
12/6/2015 MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2015 December 3 - 6 Houston Money Show US Coins Signature Auction - Houston Session(4), 1227/Lot# 8433
12/6/2015 MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2015 December 3 - 6 Houston Money Show US Coins Signature Auction - Houston Session(4), 1227/Lot# 8431

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
5/31/2004 PCGS MS 63   Goldberg May 31 - June 2, 2004 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 25/Lot# 2846 $977.50
6/21/2006 PCGS MS 64   Teletrade Auction 2222, 2222/Lot# 1860 $2,240.00
9/17/2009 NGC MS 62   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday - Internet Auction # 411, 417/Lot# 5966 $609.50
10/17/2012 PCGS MS 66   Stack's Bowers The November 2012 Baltimore Auction - US and World Lots - Live and Internet Only Sessions, 144/Lot# 5176 $2,530.00
8/25/2013 PCGS MS 64   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 08/25/2013, 89/Lot# 133764 $697.40
8/5/2014 NGC Details UNC Details  Heritage Auctions 2014 August 5, 7 & 9 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(5), 1208/Lot# 9047 $305.50
10/8/2014 NGC AU 55   Heritage Auctions 2014 October 8 - 13 PNG New York Invitational US Coins Signature Auction - New York Session(6), 1210/Lot# 9622 $381.88
3/27/2015 PCGS MS 65   Stack's Bowers March 2015 Baltimore, 6065/Lot# 7058 $1,175.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1917 MCKINLEY G$1 MS
1917 MCKINLEY G$1 MS Prooflike
Competitive Registry Sets
Gold Commemoratives 1903-1926 85
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 67
Points: 5729
Owner: PetroKaz
Grade: MS 67
Points: 5729
Owner: RDN
View the Registry Image Gallery

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