Until 1857, The Spanish dollar was the basis of the United States silver dollar. The U.S. would begin to produce its official silver dollar with the passage of the Coinage Act of 1792.
Over the years, silver dollars have provided value to numismatic enthusiasts and investors alike. This guide will look at the best silver dollar coins to collect, coveted for their unique designs and precious metals content.
History of the Silver Dollar Coin
Silver dollar coins were produced in the U.S. Mint as early as 1794. The first silver dollars were struck and immediately distributed to dignitaries as souvenirs by David Rittenhouse, the Mint’s first director.
The obverse of the original coin designs features an image depicting the flowing hair of Liberty or a draped bust, while the reverse displays variations of an eagle. Over time, while the reverse of each silver dollar variation typically shows a bald eagle, the obverse has depicted notable figures like presidents, public figures, and interpretations of Lady Liberty.
Original silver dollars from this era are extremely valuable thanks to their rarity and are highly sought after by coin collectors. As a result of the early practice of hand engraving each die, a myriad of coin varieties can be traced back from 1795–1803. Many silver dollar coins, especially pre-64 coins, can be extremely rare due to federal government coin recalls to supplement national silver shortages due to wars and other economic events.
Understanding the Value of a Silver Dollar Coin
What is a silver dollar coin worth? At face value, the coin is worth one dollar. Other denominations can be found in half-dollar, quarter, and dime amounts. However, the content of a silver dollar’s character is worth more than its face value thanks to numismatic qualities and intrinsic value linked to its precious metal content. Silver dollars are valued based on their collectibility and silver metal content.
Prices can fluctuate depending on the fineness of the silver content and the spot price for silver, which is dependent on economic supply and demand. A silver dollar should contain 0.7735 troy ounces of pure silver. You can determine its value by multiplying its fine silver content by its spot price. For purely investment purposes, silver dollar bullion coins fit into this category.
Not all silver dollars are inherently equal in value. Silver dollars are considered semi-numismatic coins, so certain rare coins attract significant interest from coin collectors. The scarcity of a particular design, the year or mint in which the coin was issued, or any other variables that contribute to the coin’s rarity can give the coin a much higher overall value. Although silver may be overlooked compared to its gold precious metal counterpart, up until recently, the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar was sold as the most expensive coin of all time in 2013 for $13,280,850.
Types of Silver Dollars To Collect
Over time, the Mint has produced highly prized silver dollar coins. Investors might consider adding the following silver dollars to build their dream portfolio:
Morgan Silver Dollar
The Morgan dollar, named after its coin engraving designer, George T. Morgan, is the first standard silver dollar coin produced by the U.S. Mint. The coin made its debut in 1878, and production came to a halt in 1904. The program has since been reinstated in 2021. The beauty and collectability of this series make them highly marketable. Look for the coin’s mint mark on the reverse (eagle side) between the D and O in "Dollar."
Peace Silver Dollar
Production of the Peace Silver Dollar took place predominantly in the 1920s and 30s. The Mint revitalized this program again in 2021. The coin’s commemorative peace design was decided through an art competition organized by numismatist Farran Zerbe. Anthony de Francisci — the youngest and most inexperienced artist, went on to win the honor of having his design chosen.
Due to a silver recall to support WWII efforts, it is estimated that millions of Peace Dollars were destroyed. This has created scarcity and rarity for the coin, making coins like the 2021 Silver Peace Dollar MS70 Coin all the more valuable, coveted by numismatic hobbyists and precious metals investors.
Front of 2021 Silver Peace Dollar MS70 Coin
Back of 2021 Silver Peace Dollar MS70 Coin
Barber Silver Dollar
The Barber Silver Dollar (1892-1916) comes in a series in various sizes. Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber designed this silver dollar. When numismatic conditions align, even the smallest can pack a powerful punch in value. With a face value of .25 cents, the resale on coins like the 1898 Quarter Dollar Barber Cameo can reach upwards of $40,000.
Seated Liberty Silver Dollar
The Seated Liberty dollar (1840-1873) was designed by its chief engraver, Christian Gobrecht. It was the last silver coin of that denomination to be minted before the adoption of the Coinage Act of 1873. The coin is named after an image of a seated Lady Liberty resting on its obverse. This series also began engraving “In God We Trust” into each coin in the 1860s.
The value of these coins fluctuates depending on condition and mintage. Like other silver coins from that era, a silver shortage recall has contributed to their rarity. For instance, the $6,000 price tag on this 1871 PF65 edition almost seems modest compared to its 1853 MS65 $95,000 counterpart.
Front of 1871 Half Dollar Seated Liberty Cameo PCGS PF65
Back of 1871 Half Dollar Seated Liberty Cameo PCGS PF65
Other honorable mentions include the: Eisenhower Silver Dollar (1971-78), Susan B. Anthony One-Dollar Coin (1979-1981), Trade Silver Dollar (1873 to 1885), Walking Liberty Half-Dollar Coin (1916-1947), Franklin Half-Dollar Coin (1948-1963), and Kennedy Half-Dollar Coin (1964-present).
The U.S. Gold Bureau — Your Trusted Precious Metals Dealer
The U.S. Gold Bureau is well-equipped to help you navigate all aspects of your silver dollar coin acquisition process. Our Precious Metals Experts undergo extensive training to bring integrity and ease to your coin selection experience. As an authorized bulk purchaser of coins and bullion from the U.S. Mint, you can custom-build your dream portfolio, and rest assured your purchase comes from a knowledgeable and trustworthy dealership.
Call us at 800-775-3504 for a best-price quote, or reach out to us through our live chat to discover how to grow your dream portfolio with silver metal investments sustainably.