Silver dollars contain 90 percent silver and offer protection against a downturn in the economy, but If you collect silver dollars or want to balance your investment with silver dollars but don’t know how to identify good investments, you could waste hundreds of dollars. Because investment value varies, you must know how to identify the value of a silver dollar beyond that of the coin’s silver weight. Learn a few principles, and you can buy with confidence.
Learn the nine grades that indicate the coin’s overall condition. These grades include About Good, Good, Very Good, Fine, Very Fine, Extra Fine, About Uncirculated, Bank Uncirculated and Proof Fine. Coins that rate About Good show heavy wear, while Proof Fine coins have a shiny, mirror-like finish. Knowing where a coin fits on this continuum helps you identify the value.
Grade the coin’s obverse (face side) by looking at the wear along the edges, the head and strands of hair, the date, eyes and cheekbone, chin and neck. Handling will create indentations, smoothness or nicks and dents that will affect different raised parts of the coin.
Grade the coin’s reverse (back side) by measuring the wear and tear along the edges, the eagle’s beak and feathers, the letters of the inscription, the tips or feathers of the arrows and the breast of the eagle.
Review the mint in the center beneath the wreath on the reverse of the coin or beneath the “One” on the obverse, and look for rare mint marks like Carson City (CC) that hold their value. Other cities like Denver (D), New Orleans (O) or San Francisco (S) issued millions of silver dollars, so coins from these mints cost less.
Compare dates and look for the most valuable Pre-Morgan silver dollars issued from 1878 to 1904. Mints issued Morgan silver dollars in 1921, and Peace dollars from 1921 to 1935 to celebrate the end of World War I. Because of the Morgan dollar’s intricate design, they command a slightly higher price than Peace dollars.
Request a grading certificate by the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), Independent Coin Grading (ICG) or American Numismatic Association Certification Service (ANACS). Professionally certified coins indicate that a third-party organization guarantees the grade of the silver dollar.
Consult a current price guide on websites such as Coin Study.com or Lynn Coins. Because the price range varies from $50 to $3,000 from coin to coin and because it fluctuates depending on demand, you must stay current on the prices.
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