Collecting silver coins can quickly become an exciting — and possibly lucrative — hobby. Finding rare coins by virtue of their age, limited mintage or oddity is a thrilling way to touch history and add pride to a collection. Certain coins can also be investment pieces, with incredibly high resale values that continue to accrue in worth as time goes by.
In this article, we’re starting with some basic knowledge; we’ve listed three types of silver coins produced in America that any committed collector will recognize. Even if samples of these coins are hard to find, knowing which coins are famous, and why, is a great way to dive into the hobby. If you’re hoping to sell silver items, like a single coin or diverse collection, it will also give you a sense of why these coins are so valuable in the first place.
So-called Draped Bust dollars were letter-edged coins minted from 1795 to 1804. The coin’s obverse (or head) had a right-facing ‘bust’ or profile of the personification of the ideal of liberty (in this case, lady liberty). The reverse (or tail) came with a bald eagle, either with a wreath or as part of a herald.
Immediately preceding the Draped Bust was the Flowing Hair dollar, minted in 1794. While both Draped Bust and Flowing Hair coins are extremely valuable (one Draped Bust sold for over $4 million), the Flowing Hair coin is the rarest and most valuable of all American coins — sometimes fetching five figures.
Liberty Seated Dollars
From 1840 to 1873, the Liberty Seated dollar was a reeded-edged coin minted in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Carson City and San Francisco. The obverse featured lady liberty seated on a rock with a flag and shield. The reverse showed a bald eagle with a shield, facing left.
At the very least, a Liberty Seated dollar (in good condition!) will catch you a few hundred dollars. Some very rare pieces (including one from 1866 that strangely doesn’t display the phrase, “In God We Trust”) have sold for over a million.
Morgan Silver Dollars
Morgan dollars were minted from 1878 to 1904, then for one year in 1921. The Morgan is known as the country’s first ‘standard’ silver dollar (with the Morgan in production, private citizens couldn’t have their personal silver minted — a controversial issue at the time). On the Morgan, lady liberty was turned to face right, and was said to be modelled after a more American-looking woman (we’re not so sure of the difference — you be the judge). The eagle, of course, remains on the reverse.
Morgan dollars will have different prices depending on their date and mintage. Very rare coins (like the 1893-S) have a whopping range from about a thousand dollars to over $700,000.
Want to Know More? Talk to a Professional
Whether you’re just beginning to explore this exciting field, or you’ve been enthusiastic about precious metal coins for a long time, you’ll want to find a local, experienced, and transparent buyer and seller to help you along the way.
Professional coin evaluators will be interested in a wide range of proof, uncirculated, commemorative and numismatic coins — minted in the United States of America and around the world. They’ll always be happy to talk with you, provide free evaluations to establish authenticity, and offer you a fair price.
We hope this short overview ignites the spark for a new passion for silver coins!