Why is a 1890 Silver Dollar Rare?At first, the 1890 Silver Dollar might seem like a random selection out of the series’ lengthy history. After all, the Morgan Dollar enjoyed one of the highest production rates of American silver coins. However, an 1890 Silver Dollar is justifiably sought after by both investors and collectors alike. Its mint date corresponds with a crucial point in the rich history of Morgan coinage. Understanding the history and value of this iconic investment-grade coin can make it easier for investors to determine if it’s a good choice for their portfolios.

Why is a 1890 Silver Dollar Rare?

1890 marked the 13th iteration of the extremely popular Morgan Silver Dollar series which was produced from 1878 to 1904 with a brief resurgence in 1921 and modern releases in 2021 and 2023. The 1890 Silver Dollar was minted at the Philadelphia, New Orleans (O), San Francisco (S), and Carson City (CC) Mints with a total production of more than 38 million coins.

This mint year stands out from the decades of Mogan Dollar production because of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. Passed in 1890, this legislation forced the government to increase its purchase of physical silver. This resulted in a temporary increase in the minting of silver coins which primarily benefitted the production of Morgan Dollars.

👉 Further Reading: Morgan vs Peace Dollars: A Detailed Comparison

Near the end of 1890, the US government had largely exhausted the national silver bullion supply, leading to a dip in Morgan Dollar production in subsequent years. In fact, the large-scale minting of 1890 wouldn’t be outdone until the re-release of the series over 130 years later. This historical backdrop makes this mint year a momentous period for the famed Morgan Dollars.

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1890 Morgan Silver Dollar Specs

  • Mints: Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Carson City
  • Designer: George T. Morgan
  • Composition: 90% silver, 10% copper
  • Weight: 26.73g
  • Diameter: 38.1mm
  • Edge: Reeded

1890 Morgan Silver Dollar Mintage

PhiladelphiaNew OrleansSan FranciscoCarson CityProofTotal

How much is an 1890 silver dollar worth?

The value of an 1890 silver dollar varies greatly depending on the condition, scarcity, mint mark, and historical significance of the coin. At auctions, these coins have sold for around $30 on the low end and up to a record of $45,531. However, the vast majority will only be worth slightly over their weight in gold given the high production rate of this mint year and the circulation of the coinage.

Here’s a quick rundown of the value of an 1890 silver dollar based on its mint mark and condition:

GradingPhiladelphia New Orleans (O)San Francisco (S)Carson City (CC)Proof
PrAg (Poor-About Good)$35.50$35.50$35.50$100NA
G (Good)$37.50$37.50$37.50$110NA
VG (Very Good)$38.50$38.50$38.50$120NA
F (Fine)$39.50$39.50$39.50$130NA
VF (Very Fine)$44.50$44.50$44.50$165NA
XF (Extremely Fine)$50$50$50$195NA
XF+ (Extremely Fine+)$52$52$52NANA


Sources: https://www.ngccoin.com/coin-explorer/united-states/dollars/morgan-dollars-1878-1921/17196/1890-1-ms/





What determines the value of an 1890 silver dollar?

Mint Mark

The mint location of an 1890 silver dollar considerably influences its value, given each branch’s varying production levels and historical characteristics. The provenance of a silver dollar is indicated by the mint mark which can be found on the bottom of the reverse side between the wreath and the DOLLAR inscription.

1890 silver dollars bearing the “CC” mint mark are among the most sought-after due to limited circulation and the short lifespan of the Carson City Mint. However, other mint marks could indicate scarcity for well-known mint error versions of the 1890 silver dollar.

Condition or Grade

An 1890 silver dollar’s condition has a considerable bearing on its value. Since the overwhelming majority circulated in the nation’s money supply, specimens that escaped with little to no wear and tear are exceedingly scarce. As a result, coins in better shape tend to fetch higher prices.

Coin grading is the process of assessing the condition of a coin based on a variety of aesthetic characteristics including luster, color, strike, and the absence of wear and tear. Although receiving an evaluation from a reputable coin grader isn’t necessary for an 1890 silver dollar to boast impressive preservation, it’s a handy short-cut method for identifying valuable specimens.

Purity Rating

The Morgan series, including the 1890 silver dollar, boasts an impressive 0.900 silver rating. This high concentration of precious metals imbues the coin with significant inherent value, independent of other factors. The value of silver dollars fluctuates based on the spot price of silver which is further influenced by various market conditions such as supply and demand.

Regardless of the condition, mint mark, or other factors, an 1890 silver dollar is always worth at least its weight in silver. However, this isn’t a distinguishing factor among individual Morgan Dollars since all coins in this mint year share the same precious metals contents.


Scarcity is another essential metric when determining the value of an 1890 Silver Dollar. With over 38 million coins in this mint year, a run-of-the-mill specimen isn’t going to generate a high evaluation due to its abundance. Some features that make an 1890 silver dollar rarer than its more common counterparts include limited production, mint errors, and condition.

Coins minted at the Carson City Mint are automatically more scarce because of this branch’s comparatively low output. Furthermore, wear and tear is standard on these circulated coins which means those in excellent condition are extremely rare. Proof versions of the 1890 silver dollar are also exceptionally scarce with only 590 released.

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