1880 Morgan Silver Dollar Value: The Complete Collector‘s Guide

The Morgan silver dollar is one of the most popular and iconic coins among American numismatists. Minted between 1878 and 1904, and again in 1921, these large silver coins were named after their designer, United States Mint Assistant Engraver George T. Morgan. The 1880 issues in particular are sought after by collectors for their rarity, varieties, and historical significance.

Whether you‘re a seasoned collector or just starting to explore the world of numismatics, this in-depth guide will cover everything you need to know about 1880 Morgan silver dollars. We‘ll delve into the coin‘s fascinating origins, examine its design and characteristics, compare the valuable varieties from each mint, and provide a comprehensive grading and price guide. By the end, you‘ll gain a thorough understanding and appreciation for this prized piece of American coinage.

The Birth of the Morgan Dollar: Historical Context

In the aftermath of the Civil War, silver mining increased significantly in the Western United States. This led to political pressure on Congress to pass legislation monetizing the large silver reserves and boosting the economy. The Bland-Allison Act of 1878 required the U.S. Treasury to purchase between $2 million to $4 million worth of silver each month to be coined into silver dollars.

Mint Engraver George T. Morgan was tasked with redesigning the silver dollar, which hadn‘t been minted for circulation since 1873. Morgan‘s design was selected, and production began later that year at the Philadelphia Mint, with other mints soon following. From 1878 to 1904, hundreds of millions of Morgan dollars were struck across five different mints: Philadelphia (no mintmark), Carson City (CC), New Orleans (O), and San Francisco (S).

The Morgan dollar served as a key part of American currency until the early 20th century. However, vast numbers were melted down over the decades to provide silver for other purposes. This, combined with the high mintages and old age, makes certain dates and varieties particularly scarce and valuable to modern collectors.

1880 Morgan Dollar Design and Specifications

The Morgan dollar‘s iconic design showcases the exceptional engraving skills of George T. Morgan:


  • A left-facing profile portrait of Lady Liberty wearing a Phrygian cap, a symbol of freedom and democracy
  • E PLURIBUS UNUM inscription along the top rim
  • 13 stars representing the original colonies, with 7 on the left and 6 on the right of Liberty
  • The date 1880 centered at the bottom


  • A majestic eagle with wings spread, clutching an olive branch and arrows
  • Inscriptions encircling the eagle: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA at the top, and ONE DOLLAR at the bottom
  • The motto IN GOD WE TRUST in Gothic lettering above the eagle‘s head
  • If present, the mint mark is found below the wreath on the reverse


  • Composition: 90% silver, 10% copper
  • Diameter: 38.1 mm
  • Thickness: 2.4 mm
  • Weight: 26.73 grams
  • Edge: Reeded
  • Face value: $1

1880 Morgan Dollar Varieties by Mint

1880 saw Morgan dollars produced at four different U.S. Mint facilities. Each mint had its own unique characteristics and levels of output that year:

1880 Philadelphia (No Mintmark)

The mother mint in Philadelphia produced 12,601,355 silver dollars in 1880, a substantial mintage. An interesting variety is the 1880 8/7 overdate, where leftover 1879-dated dies were repunched with an 1880 date. Look for traces of the underlying 79 beneath the 80. An extremely rare variety, a mint state example sold for $28,000 in 2006.

1880-S San Francisco

The San Francisco Mint struck 8,900,000 Morgan dollars in 1880, but most entered circulation at the time. As a result, mint state examples are somewhat scarce today. Well-preserved pieces are highly sought after, with an 1880-S graded MS-67 selling for over $23,000 in 2019.

1880-O New Orleans

5,305,000 silver dollars were produced at the New Orleans Mint in 1880. Many survived in mint state due to being held in treasury vaults. High-grade examples are relatively obtainable, but gems like the 1880-O in MS-66 that sold for $28,000 in 2014 are condition rarities.

1880-CC Carson City

The famous Carson City Mint struck just 591,000 Morgan dollars in 1880, the lowest mintage of the year. Many were later melted, leaving a mere 10% survival rate. An 1880-CC is the key date in the series alongside the 1889-CC, and mint state examples always command a high premium. An MS-66 sold for $47,000 in 2012.

Grading and Valuation

As with any coin, an 1880 Morgan dollar‘s condition and grade directly impacts its collectibility and market value. Grading takes into account factors like wear, luster, strike, and any marks or imperfections. Coins are graded on the Sheldon scale from 1 to 70, with higher numbers indicating better condition:

  • Good (G-4): Heavy wear with only basic design elements visible
  • Very Good (VG-8): Less wear but lacking finer details
  • Fine (F-12): Moderate wear with some details visible
  • Very Fine (VF-20): Light wear with most details sharp
  • Extremely Fine (EF-40): Slight wear on high points, nearly full details
  • About Uncirculated (AU-50/53/55/58): Traces of wear, mint luster may be present
  • Mint State (MS-60 to 70): No wear, varying levels of luster, marks, and eye appeal

Here is a value chart for 1880 Morgan dollars across the different varieties and grades:

Variety G-4 VG-8 F-12 VF-20 EF-40 AU-50 MS-60 MS-65
1880 Philadelphia $30 $35 $40 $50 $65 $100 $150 $300
1880-S $30 $35 $45 $60 $75 $125 $200 $850
1880-O $30 $35 $40 $45 $65 $100 $135 $850
1880-CC $150 $200 $250 $350 $500 $1,500 $3,500 $15,000

*Values are estimates and may vary based on current market conditions. Rare varieties like the 1880 8/7 overdate or coins graded higher than MS-65 can be worth significantly more.

Collector Tips and FAQs

Whether you‘re building a complete set of Morgans or just appreciate owning a piece of American history, here are some tips for collecting 1880 Morgan dollars:

  • Always buy from reputable dealers and look for coins graded by PCGS or NGC, the leading third-party grading services.
  • Consider starting with the more affordable Philadelphia issues in circulated grades before moving on to key dates like the 1880-CC.
  • Study variety guides to understand the nuances between different 1880 issues and what to look for.
  • Be patient and selective. Building a collection takes time, so don‘t feel pressured to buy everything at once.
  • Store your coins properly in acid-free holders or albums to preserve them for the long term.

Q: Are 1880 Morgan dollars a good investment?
A: Like many rare coins, Morgan dollars have historically appreciated in value over the long term. High-grade key dates can be excellent stores of value. However, collectors should be wary of any get-rich-quick schemes and buy coins they genuinely enjoy owning.

Q: What is the most valuable 1880 Morgan dollar?
A: The 1880-CC is generally the most valuable business strike issue, while the 1880 8/7 overdate is extremely rare. Proof strikings from Philadelphia are also highly sought after. Ultimately, the most valuable individual coin is the finest known example of its variety.

Q: How rare are 1880-CC Morgan dollars?
A: Out of 591,000 minted, only about 55,000-60,000 are estimated to still exist. Most are in circulated condition, with mint state examples quite rare. PCGS and NGC have together certified just 137 in MS-65 or higher. This compares to over 40,000 graded for the common date 1880-S.


1880 Morgan silver dollars offer something for every collector, from novices to advanced numismatists. These coins are not only beautiful pieces of art, but also tangible links to the Old West and a bygone era of American history. By understanding their background, varieties, and grading, you can build a meaningful collection that will be treasured for generations.

Whether you‘re drawn to the incredible rarity of the Carson City issues, the accessible Philadelphia strikes, or the 8/7 overdate, 1880 Morgans are an essential part of the numismatic landscape. With their enduring popularity and potential for appreciation, these silver dollars will continue to captivate collectors for decades to come. Happy collecting!

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