Landmark Extremely Fine 1895 Morgan Dollar to be Sold in Spring 2023 Rarities Night Auction

In the mid-1890s, the Philadelphia Mint struck 12,000 Morgan dollars for circulation, none of which are known to exist today. According to recent research by Roger Burdette, the 12,000 coins struck for circulation were likely melted under the terms of the 1918 Pittman Act, leaving just the 880 Proof coins for collectors assembling a date set of Morgan dollars. While a typical mintage for Proof Morgan dollars, this quantity is minuscule when compared to typical mintages for circulation-strike coins. This mintage ensured rampant demand for the 1895 Proof issue, earning it the moniker “King of Morgan Dollars.” Interestingly, some of the 880-coin Proof mintage circulated, as evidenced by an example graded Proof-45 by NGC that we will be offering in our Spring 2023 Rarities Night Session at the Official Auction of the Whitman Spring Expo.

Dozens of circulated 1895 Proof Morgan dollars are known; at time of writing, NGC reports one example in the Poor-About Good range; the lowest reported grading events at PCGS are in Proof-6. NGC reports 45 examples in Proof-45. However, certified populations outnumber the issue’s mintage, indicating that a number of reported events are for coins being “crossed” from one service to another, regraded, or otherwise listed more than once in these censuses. The precise number of coins in any given grade from a particular service is thus hard to determine. It is clear the Mint released a number of 1895 Proofs into circulation, a practice common in the era, but coins more consistent with what collectors would expect for the Proof designation outnumber their circulated counterparts by a wide margin.

The lightly circulated 1895 Morgan dollar that we’re offering is very pretty. Our cataloger describes it as: “Richly toned surfaces display steely-olive patina in the fields and recesses of the design elements. The high points are a bit lighter in medium silver-gray. Lightly worn overall, yet with abundant boldness of detail remaining, freedom from troublesome marks further enhances the appearance of this handsome specimen.” Counterintuitive as a circulated Proof coin might seem, experienced Morgan dollar collectors know a coin with the boldness and coloration of the offered example is a real prize.

In any case, 1895 Morgan dollars are exceptional rarities, true “Kings.” For collectors interested in an attractive circulated “king,” this 1895 Proof Morgan dollar presents an opportunity not to be missed.

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