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1888 Silver Dollar

The 1888 silver dollar is called a Morgan Silver Dollar, so named after its designer, George T. Morgan. It is composed of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. Read on for more information about the 1888 silver dollar and its value.

About the 1888 Silver Dollar

The 1888 Morgan Silver Dollar was minted at the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New Orleans, Louisiana; and San Francisco, California. It is one of the Morgan series of silver dollars that was minted from 1878 to 1904, and again, for one year, in 1921.

A few of the Morgan silver dollars are valuable, with some of them bringing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here is the approximate value of some of the more valuable 1888 dollars. The prices depend on the condition of the coin.

  • 1888 $14 to $180
  • 1888 O $14 to $460
  • 1888 S $60 to $3150
  • 1888 O with a doubled obverse $60 to over $3000. This has been nicknamed the “Hot Lips” coin.

As you can seem there are not many of the 1888 dollars that are worth very much. Today, any Morgan Silver Dollar has worth from the amount of silver it contains. That means you can sell one to be melted down for its silver. The melt value of an 1888 silver dollar as of October 29, 2010 is $19.14.

Design of the Morgan Silver Dollars

As is the case with many early US coins, the front, or obverse, of the Morgan Silver Dollars had an image of Lady Liberty. Around her are the words “E Pluribus Unum” at the top, the date at the bottom, and 13 stars between the words and the date. There are seven stars to the left of the date and six stars to the right. Morgan’s monogram is near her neck.

The reverse, or backside of the coin, has an eagle with his wings spread. When the coin first came out, he looked a little scrawny and the coin was called the “buzzard coin”. Almost immediately, the design was changed to give the eagle a fuller breast. The eagle holds arrows in his talons and an olive branch. The inscription around him is the “United States of America” and “One Dollar”. The mintmarks are found between the D and O in the word DOLLAR. No mintmark stands for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a D stands for Denver, Colorado, an S stands for San Francisco, California, an O stands for New Orleans, LA, and a CC stands for Carson City, Nevada.

Only the US Mints at Philadelphia, Carson City, and San Francisco made the Morgan Silver Dollars beginning in 1878. The US Mint in New Orleans started production in 1879, and the US Mint in Denver only produced them in 1921. The US Mint in Carson City did not mint any coins from September 1885 to 1888. It resumed operations in 1889.

History of the Morgan Silver Dollars

How these Morgan Silver Dollars came to be minted is an interesting story. It all started with the Comstock Lode in the area of what is now Virginia City, Nevada. This was a major silver and gold discovery. The news of it spread in 1859. The rush lasted until 1874, when the output of the mines started to decline.

Because of all the excess silver, Congress passed the Bland-Allison Act in 1878 that authorized the US Treasury to purchase huge amounts of silver to be made into coins. They decided to make silver dollars.

Minting proceeded from 1878 to 1904, when there was an abundance of silver dollars and little silver bullion left. In 1918, Congress called for 270 million silver coins to be melted down to make new coins. Production of the Morgan Silver Dollar started up again in 1921, but was replaced that same year with the Peace dollar.