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: $12.17 (10/9/2015)
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 NGC 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: 9/23/2015

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

1895 O S$1 MS
Base $ 210 275 345 420 650 1150 1550 2400 6350 23000 32000 53000 100000 215000 380000 725000 - - -
$ 700 - 1750 3050 7000 - 37500 60000 115000 - - - -
1895 O S$1 MS Prooflike
Base $ - - - - - - 3250 4500 7750 30000 39000 - 140000 275000 - - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1895 O S$1 MS Deep Prooflike
Base $ - - - - - - - 5250 9500 33500 45000 85000 190000 350000 - - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The World Coin Price Guide is independently compiled by Krause Publications’ NumisMaster. NGC makes this information available to its website visitors as a free service, but in no way does the information provided represent NGC’s official opinion or policy. For example, varieties listed in the World Coin Price Guide may not necessarily be recognized by NGC. Please contact NGC Customer Service with any questions.

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Total Graded: 5457
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 45
High Grade: 66

Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
10/13/2015 VF 25   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131541/Lot# 23601
11/1/2015 AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2015 October 29 - November 1 US Coins Signature Auction - New York Session(3), 1225/Lot# 4925
11/1/2015 AU 58  Prooflike Heritage Auctions 2015 October 29 - November 1 US Coins Signature Auction - New York Session(1), 1225/Lot# 3449
11/1/2015 AU 53   Heritage Auctions 2015 October 29 - November 1 US Coins Signature Auction - New York Session(4), 1225/Lot# 7776

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
2/20/2005 PCGS VF 35   Goldberg February 20-23, 2005 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 28/Lot# 2019 $437.00
3/19/2008 NGC VF 30   Teletrade Auction 2505, 2505/Lot# 1644 $504.00
4/6/2009 NGC AU 58   Prooflike David Lawrence Rare Coins Monday - Internet Auction # 357, 363/Lot# 1178 $3,335.00
2/28/2012 PCGS MS 61   Stack's Bowers The March 2012 Baltimore Auction, 135/Lot# 4151 $18,400.00
2/7/2013 NGC XF 45   Heritage Auctions 2013 February 7 -8 & 10 US Coin Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(5), 1182/Lot# 8300 $587.50
1/8/2014 NGC AU 55   Prooflike Heritage Auctions 2014 January 8 - 12 FUN US Coin Signature Auction - Orlando Session(4), 1201/Lot# 5923 $2,496.88
3/23/2014 PCGS MS 61   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 03/23/2014, 178/Lot# 180212 $19,911.10
11/6/2014 NGC XF 45   Heritage Auctions 2014 November 6 - 10 US Coins Signature Auction - Beverly Hills Session(6), 1211/Lot# 8486 $470.00
1/18/2015 PCGS F 15   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131504/Lot# 27584 $235.00

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 55 DPL
Points: 4713
Owner: Ramundo
Grade: AU 58
Points: 4111
Owner: GauchoDave
View the Registry Image Gallery

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