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How To Calculate The Value Of Silver Dollars

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This is a classification of specific metals that are considered rare and have a higher economic value compared to other metals. There are five main precious markets openly traded on various exchanges. Silver is the second-largest market in this specific sector.

Silver is sometimes referred to as monetary metals as it has historical uses as currencies and is seen as a store of value, particularly as silver dollars. However, silver has a significant industrial component, equivalent to almost half of its markets, because it is less reactive, a good conductor, and highly malleable.

Data analyzing in commodities metal market

Silver is precious not just because of its perceived has a lot of other uses as well!

Silver Price - Futures Market

The spot silver price refers to the price of silver for immediate delivery. Transactions for bullion coins are almost always priced using the spot price as a basis. The spot silver market is trading very close to 24 hours a day as there is almost always a location somewhere in the world that is actively taking orders for silver transactions.

New York, London, Sydney, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Zurich are where most of the trading activity takes place. Whenever bullion dealers in any of these cities are active, this is indicated with the message “Spot Market Is Open.” For the high and low value, we are showing the lowest bid and the highest ask of the day.

The silver futures market is one of a number of commodity futures, wherein contracts are entered into, agreeing to buy or sell silver at a certain price at a specified future date. Silver futures are used both as a way for silver producers and market makers to hedge their products against fluctuations in the market and as a way for speculators to make money off of those same movements in the market.

A precious metals futures contract is a legally binding agreement for delivery of a metal in the future at an agreed-upon price. The contracts are standardized by a futures exchange as to the quantity, quality, time, and place of delivery. Only the price is variable.

Hedgers use these contracts to manage their price risk on an expected purchase or sale of the physical metal. They also provide speculators with an opportunity to participate in the markets by lodging exchange required margin. There are two different positions that can be taken. A long (buy) position is an obligation to accept delivery of the physical metal, while a short (sell) position is the obligation to make delivery.

Silver contracts are rarely settled in physical metal. The great majority of futures contracts are offset prior to the delivery date. For example, this occurs when an investor with a long position sells that position prior to delivery notice. There is usually a difference between the spot price of silver and the future price.

The future price is used for futures contracts and represents the price to be paid on the date of a delivery of gold in the future and represents the price to be paid on the delivery of gold in the future. In normal markets, the futures price for gold is higher than the spot.

The difference is determined by the number of days to the delivery contract date, prevailing interest rates, and the strength of market demand for immediate physical delivery. The difference between the spot price and the future price, when expressed as an annual percentage rate is known as the “forward rate.”

How To Determine The Real Value Of Old Silver Dollars

So you’ve decided it’s time to figure out how much you can get for those old silver dollars that a relative left you when she passed away. Maybe you’re planning to sell them or maybe you need to know their value for insurance purposes. Silver dollars that are made of actual silver can be e decades or even centuries old and can be rare and valuable. The best way to determine their value to have a professional coin dealer look at them.

Start by weighing your silver dollar to ascertain how much silver could be recovered if your coin was melted. Coin scales also called jewelry scales or numismatic scales, measure in grams and are available online or in any hobby shop. Be aware that the blanket term “silver dollar” is used to describe all coins that are worth one dollar, but the last true silver dollars - the ones made of mostly silver - were minted in 1964.

If your “silver dollar” is from 1965 or later, it’s made of mostly a cheaper alloy or contains no silver at all. Silver is traded on the commodities exchange and its price can vary, sometimes sharply, from one moment to the next. Silver, like gold, generally has an opposing relationship with currency such as the U.S. dollar (one tends to rise when the other falls).

Its value can fluctuate wildly depending on a broad range of outside influences like market trends and political upheaval. The current value of commodities such as silver can be found in the business section of most major business media websites such as CNN’s Money Index Use an online melt-value calculator to determine how much your coin is worth for just its weight in silver. This is the base price of your coin.

Next, find the year that your silver dollar or a half dollar was minted, and its troy ounces, and if it’s a rare coin. It’s printed on the coin, usually on the front or back on the bottom of the images. Also look for your coin’s mint mark, which is an inscription that indicates the U.S. Mint branch where the coin was struck, whether the Philadelphia Mint or San Francisco Mint.

The mark, which is usually a letter denoting a city of origin, and its location on the coin vary by date from coin to coin, depending on the minting. Now, use an online guide like Coin Facts to help determine which type of silver dollar coin or silver bullion you have and the coin's key dates. There are several varieties of U.S. silver dollars, with the most common including, from almost to least valuable, in general: Bust Dollars (1794-1803), Liberty Silver Dollars (1836-1873), Morgan Silver Dollars (1878-1921), and Peace Dollars (1921-1935).

A person examines a coin from the collection

Due diligence is a must before you approach professional coin dealers and collectors.

Determine Condition And Book Value

Examine your coin carefully and try to determine its condition. Coin grading is a complicated procedure that requires skill and experience, so don’t expect that you’ll be able to determine an exact grade. There are several grades of coin conditions used in the industry, with most systems using these most often” Poor (P), Good (G), Very Good (VG), Fine (F), Very Fine (VF), Extremely Fine (XF), Almost Uncirculated (AU), Uncirculated (U) and special “proof” states, in which the coin is dyed with chemical treatments.

Find a pricing guide site like Heritage Auctions and determine your coin’s value. Keep in mind that prices fluctuate, so try and use the most up-to-date guides. Shop around to several coin dealers or private collectors to see who will give you the best price. Don’t shop around until you’re armed with enough research so that you know roughly what the market should bear.

You shouldn’t assume all collectors and dealers are dishonest, but they’re generally trying to make money as well, so you should always assume they’re going to quote you prices that are in their best interest, which might not involve paying you top-dollar prices. Thus, getting several quotes decreases the odds you’ll get low-balled when selling.

What Kind Of Silver Dollar Do You Have?

If you have an older silver dollar, or you come across one, the first thing you want to do is identify what type of coin it is and the value of the coin. The easiest way to start is by breaking down the coin by its date. There are 3 main groups by time period:

1794-1873: This covers the early dollars such as the Flowing Hair Dollar, Bust Dollar, Gobrecht Dollar, Seated Liberty Dollar, and also the Trade Dollar (although the Trade Dollar was minted until 1885 it’s usually lumped in with these coins.

1878-1935: This is the meat and potatoes of the silver dollar era and the most popular. This period comprises two coins, the Morgan Dollar (the most popular silver dollar - and arguably the most popular U.S. coin) and the Peace Dollar.

1971-1976: This period covers strictly Eisenhower Dollars (known as “Ikes” amongst avid coin collectors). Only a handful of specific dates were made in 40% silver composition, the rest of the circulating Eisenhowers were composed of copper-nickel clad and contain no silver. Please keep in mind many factors are involved such as the date of the coin, the mintmark, variations, grade, etc. For the sake of the value below, I am applying a grading range from Almost Good to Mint State.

Flowing Hair Dollar (1794-1795)

The Flowing Hair Dollar is one of the earliest dollars minted by the United States. While there are many varieties that can be found, it is very difficult to keep track of their details because all of these early dies were made individually. Because modern technology was not available, no two dies were the same, and as such, strike variations occurred.

Not only were the dies different, but the silver blanks that were used prior to being stamped were weighed by hand as well and if a die was overweight it was filed down (again by hand) to achieve the correct weight. Conversely, if a blank was too light, a silver plug was inserted in the center of the blank planchet before the coin was struck.

Value: $1,100 - $750,000

Draped Bust Dollar (1795-1804)

Very similar to the Flowing Hair Dollar, the Draped Bust Dollar has many variations when it comes to their uniformity (different thicknesses, off0ceter dies, etc.). There was also a design change in 1798 called the Heraldic Eagle Reverse where the eagle design was changed from an anemic-looking eagle (many in the industry call this bird sickly-looking) to a more patriotic eagle with a shield. Also, there is a very rare variation known as the 1804 Dollar.

Value: $825 - $108,000

Heraldic Eagle Reverse Bust Dollar (1798-1804)

Note: there are more expensive Heraldic Eagle Reverse Draped Bust Dollar coins, most notably 2 that are dated 1801 Proof Restrike dollars (reverse struck from the first die of 1804 dollar) that are valued at $1,000,000.

Value: $900 - $450,000

1804 Dollars

The 1804 dollar is one of the most publicized rarities in the entire series of United States coins. There are specimens known as originals (first reverse), of which eight are known, and restrikes (second reverse) of which seven are known, one of which has a plain edge.

Numismatists have found that the 1804 original dollars were first struck at the Mint in 1834 through 1835 period, for use in presentation Proof sets. The first coin to be owned by a collector, a Proof, was obtained from a Mint officer by Matthew Stickney on May 9, 1843, in exchange for an Immune Columbia piece of gold.

Later, beginning in 1859, the pieces known as restrikes and electrotypes were made at the Mint to supply the needs of collectors who wanted examples of these dollars. Evidence that these pieces were struck during the later period is based on the fact that the 1804 dollars differ from issues of 1803 or earlier and conform more closely to those struck after 1836, their edges or borders having beaded segments and raised rims, not elongated denticles such as are found on the earlier dates.

Although the Mint record states that 19,570 dollars were coined in 1804, in no place does it mention that they were dated 1804. It was the practice in those days to use the old dies as long as they were serviceable with no regard in the annual reports for the dating of the coins. It is probable that 1804 total for dollars actually covered coins that were dated 1803.

Value: $2,300,000 - $4,140,000 (Total of 19 known coins)

Gobrecht Dollars (1836-1839)

Suspension of silver dollar coinage was lifted in 1831, but it was not until 1835 that steps were taken to resume coinage. Late in that year the Mint director, R.M. Patterson ordered engraver Christian Gobrecht to prepare a pair of dies, based on designs by Thomas Sully and Titian Peale. The first obverse die, dated, 1836, bore the seated figure of Liberty on the obverse with the inscription C. GOBRECT F. (“F” is an abbreviation for the Latin word, Fecit, or “made it”) in the field above the date.

On the reverse was a large eagle flying left, surrounded by 26 stars and the legend the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA * ONE DOLLAR *. It is not known whether coins from these dies were struck at that time. A new obverse die with Gobrecht’s name on the base of Liberty was prepared, and in December 1836, 1,000 coins were struck for circulation. These coins weighed 416 grams, which was the standard enacted in 1792.

Value: $11,646 - $35,754 (Though, many Gobrecht Dollars can be found on eBay for much less)

Liberty Seated Dollars (1840-1873)

Starting again in 1840, silver dollars were issued for general circulation. The seated figure of Liberty was adopted for the obverse, but the flying eagle design was rejected in favor of the more familiar form with olive branch and arrows used for certain other silver denominations. By the early 1850s, the silver content of these pieces was worth more than their face value, and later issues were not seen in circulation but were used mainly in export trade.

Value: $260 - $70,000 (Raw, ungraded Seated Liberty Dollars can be purchased for less)

Trade Dollars (1873-1885)

This coin was issued for circulation in Asia to compete with dollar-sized coins of other countries. They were legal tender in the United States, but when silver prices declined, Congress repealed the provision and authorized the Treasury to limit coinage to export demand. In 1887, the Treasury redeemed all trade dollars that were not mutilated. The law authorizing trade dollars was repealed in February 1887.

Value: $130 - $1,565,000

Morgan Dollars (1878-1921)

George T Morgan, formerly a pupil of William Wyon in the Royal Mint in London, designed the new dollar. His initial M is found at the truncation of the neck, at the last tress. It also appears on the reverse on the left-hand loop of the ribbon.

Coinage of the silver dollar was suspended after 1904 when demand was low and the bullion supply became exhausted. The Morgan dollar design, with some slight refinements, was employed until the new Peace design was adopted later in that year.

Value: $20 - $575,000

Peace Dollars (1921-1935)

This new Peace dollar was placed in circulation on January 3, 1922; 1,000,473 pieces had been struck in December 1921. Legislation dated August 3, 1964, authorized the coinage of 45 million silver dollars, and 316,076 dollars of the Peace design dated 1964 were struck at the Denver Mint in 1965. Plans for completing this coinage were subsequently abandoned and all of these coins were melted. None were preserved or released for circulation.

Value: $18 - $100,00


Although their popular circulation stopped in the 1970s due to the United States’ transition to paper currency, the silver dollar was once the standard currency in the U.S. First minted in 1794, the silver dollar has a rich history that spans the length of America’s lifetime.

While no longer minted, this coin still has an intrinsic value that continues today. The reason being is that the value of silver, while no longer the standard, is still increasing with time. This is great news for anyone in possession of silver dollars, whether they are considered rare collectibles or nothing more than junk silver.

If you happen to be in possession of a silver dollar and coin collecting, you might be wondering just how much it is worth. For this reason, we have explored the ways in which you, a silver collector, can determine the value of your silver dollars.

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All articles are provided as a third party analysis and do not necessarily reflect the explicit views of GSI Exchange and should not be construed as financial advice.

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