1893 O Morgan Silver Dollar: A Numismatic Rarity

1893 O Morgan Silver Dollar

The 1893-O Morgan Dollar from the New Orleans Mint is the scarcest among its counterparts in the Morgan Dollar series. Originally minted with a production of only 300,000 coins, it is particularly rare in higher Mint State grades. During the mid-20th century, a few of these dollars were released from the Treasury Building, providing a source for collectors and dealers. Prices for individual coins dropped as low as $5.50 to $7.50 in the 1950s before their scarcity became widely recognized. Today, these dollars are prized for their rarity and challenging availability in pristine conditions, with sharply struck examples being exceptionally rare.

History of 1893 O Morgan Silver Dollar

With a mintage of just 300,000 coins, the 1893-O Morgan Silver Dollar as the lowest production among all Morgan dollars minted at the New Orleans Mint. The distribution history of these coins remains largely obscure to numismatic scholars. Q. David Bowers, in his writings from 1993 and 2019, offers little clarity on this matter, noting that many were likely circulated in their early days, explaining the worn condition of surviving pieces.

Around the period from approximately 1948 to 1955, a few bags of these dollars were reportedly disbursed at face value from the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. However, by the late 1950s, dealers began to realize the scarcity of even these coins in rolls. There is no documented evidence of 1893-O dollars being part of the Treasury releases from 1962 to 1964, with Bowers suggesting any inclusion might have been limited to scattered coins.

Due to its low mintage, the 1893-O is notably rare in circulated grades, and finding examples in Mint State condition presents a significant challenge for collectors who prioritize quality. These coins typically exhibit heavily abraded surfaces and lackluster appearances. Even achieving an MS-64 grade, as certified by grading authorities like PCGS or NGC, is considered difficult. Gems, which are coins of exceptional quality, are exceedingly rare and highly coveted among collectors. Prooflike and Deep Mirror Prooflike specimens are also scarce, with only a small number graded by PCGS and NGC combined.

Specification:

  • Category: Morgan Dollars (1878-1921)
  • Mint: New Orleans
  • Mintage: 300,000
  • Obverse Designer: George T. Morgan
  • Reverse Designer: George T. Morgan
  • Composition: Silver
  • Fineness: 0.9
  • Weight: 26.73g
  • ASW: 0.7734oz
  • Melt Value: $22.61 (6/18/2024)
  • Diameter: 38.1mm
  • Edge: Reeded

Basic Design:

Obverse:

On the obverse, Lady Liberty is depicted facing left, wearing a cap with stars and flowers, surrounded by the inscription “Liberty,” “E Pluribus Unum,” and the year “1893.”

Reverse:

The reverse features an eagle with wings spread, clutching arrows and an olive branch, encircled by the inscriptions “United States of America,” “In God We Trust,” “One Dollar,” and the mint mark “O” for New Orleans.

Value and Rarity:

In circulated grades, the 1893-O Morgan Dollar is notably scarce, particularly in Extremely Fine (EF) and About Uncirculated (AU) conditions. Finding high-grade examples is challenging; most are encountered in MS-60 to MS-63 grades. Coins in MS-64 are rare, and those finer are exceedingly uncommon. A well-struck MS-63 specimen with frosty luster commands a premium among collectors, reflecting its numismatic value far beyond its face value.

According to the NGC Price Guide, a Morgan Dollar from 1893 in the circulated condition is worth between $200 and $3900 as of June 2024. However, 1893 O Silver Dollars in new, uncirculated condition sell for as much as $320000 on the open market.

Condition:

The 1893-O Morgan Dollar has a generally below-average strike quality, with the obverse and reverse strikes being seen. Although higher Mint State specimens can seem icy if maintained properly, luster is usually missing. Uncirculated grades often contain contact marks, which reduces the coin’s overall look.

Also Read – 1884 S Morgan Silver Dollar: A Collector’s Guide

Conclusion:

The 1893-O Morgan Silver Dollar’s historical value, rarity, and difficult acquisition in high grades make this coin a highly valuable addition to any numismatic collection. This coin is valued by collectors and enthusiasts for its rarity and unique qualities, making it a key component of the Morgan Dollar series.

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