Morgan Silver Dollars are among the most popular of all classic U.S. coins … but unknown to most collectors, there are a few spectacular coins that are almost never seen but that are the keys to a well-rounded collection. These are the ERROR coins … coins that were made with rarely-seen quirks and one-time-only mistakes.
Check out this fascinating selection of the greatest Morgan Silver Dollar error coins!
1879 with 1878 Reverse
The first Morgan Silver Dollars were made in 1878, but the very next year the reverse was changed from a flat-breasted eagle to a rounded-breast eagle. In early 1879, though, the U.S. Mint in San Francisco accidentally struck a few coins using the old “flat breast” reverse design from 1878. Only about one-half of one percent (0.5%) of the 1879 coins from San Francisco are known to have been struck in error with the wrong design, making it a scarce and sought-after collector’s item.
On rare occasions, the U.S. Mint found itself with a surplus of Morgan Silver Dollar dies for one branch – and not enough for another. This is what happened in 1882, when it took an existing S-mint die created for the San Francisco Mint and changed it to O-mint dies for the New Orleans Mint. The “O” was punched over the existing “S” – and you still see part of the original “S” under the “O” mint mark!
Another dramatic re-punched Morgan Silver Dollar die is one that that was created for the Carson City Mint and changed for use at the New Orleans Mint in 1900. Since the Carson City Mint closed in 1893, this was an old “CC” die that was eventually recycled. You can still traces of the original “CC” under the “O” mint mark!
1888-O Hot Lips
In 1888, the New Orleans Mint created a dramatic error on a small number of Morgan Silver Dollars. Some coins were accidentally double-struck, creating a doubling of Liberty’s lips, nose, and chin. Soon, this highly desirable error was dubbed the “Hot Lips” Morgan!
1889-O Micro O
In 1899, the New Orleans Mint struck a distinct variety of the Morgan Silver Dollar. One die, which was used for just a few thousand coins, was punched with the wrong “O” – producing a much smaller mint mark. It’s like a small lower case “o” instead of the regular upper case “O,” and it became known as the “Micro O” error. Speculation is that the small “o” mint mark for a Barber Quarter was used by accident!