The year 1886 was when Coca-Cola was introduced and ruling U.S. President Grover Cleveland married in the White House. It was also during the year that this 90 percent silver coin - a Morgan Dollar - was crafted at the Philadelphia Mint, an especially prolific branch of the United States Mint. This coin prominently displays a head profile of the iconic Liberty. This must have seemed a very timely feature given that this dollar was minted in the same year that Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty at what is still this neoclassical sculpture's current setting, the New York Harbor.
However, the coin's Liberty likeness was designed by U.S. Mint engraver George T. Morgan in the preceding decade - well before the Statue of Liberty's arrival in the country. Liberty's minted look was inspired not by a statue, but instead a genuine American lady named Anna Willess Williams. If, before reading that, you already thought that the Liberty here looked like an authentic American woman, you should also peer at the disc's back. Here, you can also enjoy aesthetic realism in the open wings of the pictured eagle, circling much of which is a wreath.
On plenty of Morgan silver dollars, it would be possible to see, just south of that wreath, a tiny mint mark. That mark would be akin to an "S" for San Francisco-made coins, an "O" on dollars struck in New Orleans, or "CC" on pieces that had been counted among the Carson City Mint's output. Nonetheless, this particular coin does not feature any mint mark in this specific spot. There is a good reason for this: the coin was produced at the Philadelphia Mint, the Morgan Dollars from which did not include mint marks. Therefore, this omission should not be considered peculiar.
On each of this 1886 coin's sides, reeds line the edge and enclose the overall design. These reeds are very small details. The coin consists of a mere 10 percent copper; it is silver, totaling 0.77344 Troy ounce that accounts for the overwhelming majority of this dollar's metal content. The overall 0.859 Troy ounces of this coin can feel very present as you clutch them in your hand. However, when you have the coin that close to you, it's possible that your attention could be more easily drawn to its overall condition, which the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation has scored MS63.
What exactly does this score mean? It represents the grade Mint State 63, one of the highest scores on the Sheldon Coin Grading Scale. This scale's modern variant, dating from the 1970s, can be used by such bodies as the NGC to hand each coin they study a score from 1 right up to 70. To date, Grover Cleveland remains the sole U.S. President to have married inside the White House. The Morgan Dollar, like Cleveland's wedding ceremony, has more than sealed its place in history. Today, you can purchase a piece of that history, on the condition that this 1886, Philadelphia-made coin is in sufficient stock.
Features of the 1886 $1 Morgan Silver Dollar NGC MS63