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What Is The Obsession With Morgan Dollars With So Many New And Intermediate Coin Collectors?

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Valued Member

United States
106 Posts
 Posted 08/09/2022  8:20 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add coinnewcomer1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I wonder why Morgan dollars are so highly valued among coin collectors. Historically they are the epitome of political pork barrel and the majority were sitting around in banks. The design is , to me, not that great - a dowdy woman on one side and a run-of-the-mill for its time eagle. I think most are overvalued. Yes there are VAMs but there are varieties too in recent coinage as well as a great diversity in early 19th and late 18th century Half Cents and cents.

Finally, I think the Peace dollar has a far superior design to the Morgan. If I were to get a silver dollar from the period of 1880 - 1935, it would be a Peace dollar.

What I find strange is how the coin dealers and media hype Morgans so much --- or so it seems to me.

Anyway, would like opinions on this --- or maybe I may be mistaken and Morgan are not as collected as it appears.
Valued Member
United States
421 Posts
 Posted 08/09/2022  8:25 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hozer to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I feel the same
Pillar of the Community
United States
9334 Posts
 Posted 08/09/2022  8:35 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ijn1944 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Alas, it's the marketplace--warts and all. Demand--no matter how irrational--drives the Morgan business. People behaving like people.
Pillar of the Community
United States
904 Posts
 Posted 08/09/2022  8:37 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add NumismaticsFTW to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You sound just like this guy I met at my LCS!

He was sitting there for 30 minutes trying to convince me that the Peace dollar is far more superior, I was actually laughing.

It was funny because he was trying so hard to change my opinion.

I like the Morgan better.
Valued Member
United States
324 Posts
 Posted 08/09/2022  8:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ericgreen to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Clearly lots of collectors like Morgan's. I love them. I much prefer them to Peace dollars. It just comes down to collecting what you like!
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Australia
14653 Posts
 Posted 08/09/2022  9:11 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
From an outside-of-America perspective:

19th century American coins, generally, aren't much to write home about - the artwork is generally inferior to what the British and Europeans were putting out at around the same time period. But for me personally, the Morgan is still superior to the Peace dollar. On the obverse, that spiky headgear doesn't look merely uncomfortable, it looks downright dangerous if she as much as blinks, let alone sneezes. The Peace dollar eagle reverse has that subtle, diffuse, "half-melted" Art Deco look, the same look that you find (and which I also dislike) on early 20th century French coins; it's the only early 20th century US coin design that I actively dislike; subtlety and diffusion might work great on stone and other art media but simply doesn't work for me on coins. I look at any Peace dollar and my instinct says "wow, that coin is weakly struck", then I remember "no, it's actually supposed to look like that".

All of which means that, as a coin collector, I have difficulty appreciating the difference between a VF Peace dollar and an MS Peace dollar - which therefore makes it hard for me to justify paying a premium for an MS example. I have no such difficulty spotting where the wear and high points on a Morgan ought to be.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
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United States
71660 Posts
 Posted 08/09/2022  9:13 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Designs aside, the Morgan dollars are a vastly more complicated series to collect than the Peace dollars, which I'm sure accounts for their greater appeal.
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United States
904 Posts
 Posted 08/09/2022  9:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add NumismaticsFTW to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Peace dollars are boring.

Terrible Strikes-YES

Proof Likes? Nope

DMPL? NOPE

Cameo? NOPE

Proofs? Not many. Definitely not within range of the majority of collectors.

Morgan's have a massive amount of interesting VAM's to dive into.

The list goes on...

It's not just the design appeal difference.

Morgan>Peace
Edited by NumismaticsFTW
08/09/2022 9:35 pm
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United States
5374 Posts
 Posted 08/09/2022  10:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hfjacinto to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have a few Morgan's for my type set and as a series they are very popular, but I'm not a fan. I've always liked Peace dollars. To each his own, collect what you like and don't worry what others collect.
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United States
2269 Posts
 Posted 08/10/2022  12:13 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jacrispies to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I think most are overvalued.

I personally think every single one of them are overvalued, compared to other coins of the same rarity.

Take this as a golden opportunity to buy rarer coins for a lower price. Proof Two Cent Pieces, nice Shield nickels, and other overlooked types. Genuine rarity for a fraction of the price! I am collecting capped bust halves while I can, before the masses recognize the true rarity.
Valued Member
United States
210 Posts
 Posted 08/10/2022  12:24 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Pmint1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Morgan dollars are from a unique time in American history. The allure of a Carson city dollar with silver mined from the comstock load has a lot of appeal. Morgan's have so many finishes. Frosty , satin, semi proof like, prooflike and my favorite deep mirror prooflike. The length of the series presents many challenges. All of the coins are affordable to most collectors with the exception of perhaps the 1895 proof. I love Morgan's. They couldn't be a more attractive coin to me. The only USA coin I like the looks of as much or more would be a flowing hair design.
Peace dollars are ok. They don't have the history. They are softly struck and I don't find the eagle design appealing.
Bedrock of the Community
United States
17740 Posts
 Posted 08/10/2022  01:00 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Conder101 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Why are Morgans so popular new collectors?

They are big.

They are silver.

They are attractive.

They have a lot of historical background to them.

They have that "Old West" appeal.

They are mostly 19th century (old).

They are readily available, and in high grade.

A large portion of the set can be assembled in AU or Unc without costing an arm and a leg.
Gary Schmidt
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New Zealand
4352 Posts
 Posted 08/10/2022  01:18 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Again another out of USA Perspective.

I think its because they are just so large and so old. I mean you can buy coins back to 1878 at double silver price in AU/UNC. I know a lot were released around 1962 or something and many of the early Las Vegas casinos had silver dollar bars.

Plus because they are quite romantic with the connotations of the wild west and gilded age. They are an imperial coin like a Halfcrown, a 5 Francs or a 5 Mark piece.

Also mintages were very high, some years more than 10 or 15 million were minted and some dates from the 1880s are dirt common.

Now compare this to the earlier dollars, Trades and Seated, they are majorly unaffordable in comparison. Could you get an EF/AU 1860s Seated Liberty dollar for $80? I don't think so, you may get one in G4 if you were lucky. Also other coins before 1892 are quite unaffordable, Seated Liberty and Bust Liberty coins are pretty expensive above VF or better, even low grade pieces are expensive for what they are.

Plus whether its beautiful or not, its an iconic design, that eagle for one. How many knockoff Seated Liberty dollars do you find compared to fake Morgans?

Most global people when they think of classic US coins, they instantly see a Morgan dollar.

I went through a phase with them between 1997 and 2001 when a AU or UNC Morgan cost around $25 NZ (I have a 1997 US Coin mag, which has dealers selling AU Morgans for like $8.45 each and bulk worn ones in G6 for like $6.98 each (That was when silver was $3.59 an ounce). But now not so enamoured by them. I agree the Peace dollar is awful.

So that is it - lots of them, romantic, old, large (Bling sized coins are always hit) and most importantly iconic. The Morgan dollar really is the McDonalds, Elvis, Coca Cola and Mickey Mouse of US coins!

Of course that does not mean I am a fan of them. Many dealers here in NZ sell them for like $70 each for average dates (1886) in average (Fine) condition ($70 of our pesos is like $45 of yours).

I love COINS!!!
Pillar of the Community
Russian Federation
960 Posts
 Posted 08/10/2022  05:14 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Slerk to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I think the thing is that the Morgan dollar is a big coin, a silver coin, an old coin.
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Australia
4272 Posts
 Posted 08/10/2022  07:42 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add triggersmob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

I also prefer Morgans over the Peace dollar.
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Bedrock of the Community
Australia
20052 Posts
 Posted 08/10/2022  08:04 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I am a Morgan fan, but I don't have any more than a coupe of examples. I rank the design No3 behind St Gaudens $20 and Walkers.
But that is just my preference.

With the pork barreling of the 19th Century in regard to Morgans, the average modern collector is the beneficiary. It could have been any other silver dollar design, which was current at the time. Morgans are the fortunate candidate.
Much for numismatic study

Nevertheless, the spiked head Liberty reminds me of the Statue given to the US by the French. When I think about it, the obverse Peace design would look good on a French silver coin

I have to admit:-
Conder101's reasoning happens to align with my way of thinking.
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