Did you know that the 1901 silver dollar is among the rarest ever minted at the Philadelphia facility in mint, uncirculated condition? The only other rare coin minted in Philly is the 1895 Morgan dollar.
Generally, the 1901 silver dollar is worth more than face value, but how much the coin is worth will largely depend on its condition. All in all, it is a good idea to hold on to your 1901 silver dollars, as they could be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars!
In this guide, you will find out about the interesting history of the Morgan dollar, the qualities of a 1901 silver dollar and what to look for in one, the value of the different varieties, and the errors that might be worth three or six figures.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
1901 Morgan Silver Dollar Value Chart
|1901 No-mintmark Silver Dollar Value||$50||$60||$120||$650,000|
|1901 S Silver Dollar Value||$45||$55||$85||$40,000|
|1901 0 Silver Dollar Value||$36.50||$38.50||$50||$50,000|
|1901 Proof Silver Dollar Value||–||–||–||$37,000|
History of the 1901 Silver Dollar
The 1901 silver dollar belongs to the Morgan dollar coin series. The Morgan dollar was the first silver dollar minted since the Coinage Act of 1873, marking the end of silver’s free coining. The coin took after the name of its engraver, George T. Morgan.
At the start of 1876, legislators, key among them Richard P. Bland and William B. Allison, introduced laws calling for the resumption of the free coining of silver. A combination of laws aptly known as the Bland-Allison Act mandated the Treasury to buy two to four million dollars of silver each month and to coin the metal into silver dollars.
The following year, the Superintendent of the mint at Philadelphia, James Pollock, commissioned George Morgan to prepare the obverse and reverse dies.
Mintage of the Morgan dollar began in 1878 at five mints, including Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Carson City. Production was stable until the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 was passed, requiring the Treasury to purchase more silver and use it to make more coins. Supporters of the Act believed that by increasing the amount of silver the Treasury bought, there would be an increase in inflation, which would help decrease the pressure on farmers at the time.
The 1901 Morgan dollars, like the other Morgan dollars, were released into circulation soon after they were minted. A total of 22,566,813 silver dollars were minted that year, but today, only about 10% of circulated 1901 Morgan dollars are available. These coins are extremely rare in uncirculated condition and command a high numismatic value.
Features of the 1901 Silver Dollar
In this section, we’ll look at the physical attributes of the 1901 silver dollar. Knowing what to look for can help determine whether your 1901 Morgan silver dollar is worth anything.
The Obverse of the 1901 Silver Dollar
The obverse, also known as the heads, is the up side of a coin. The obverse of the 1901 silver dollar showcases the portrait of teacher and philosopher Anna Willess Williams. Her left-facing portrait depicts the concept of Liberty.
The motto, E PLURIBUS ENUM, appears around the top of the coin’s obverse, and the coin’s year of manufacture is embossed around the bottom edge. Thirteen stars flank the lower half of the coin’s obverse, with seven stars on the left and six on the right.
The Reverse of the 1901 Silver Dollar
The reverse is the back side of a coin and is also known as the tails. The reverse of the Morgan dollar from 1901 features a left-facing balding eagle with wings spread out.
The eagle is perched on a bunch of arrows and holds an olive branch in its talons. A wreath of olive branches flanks the coin’s bottom edge, encircling the eagle.
The words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA appear around the top half of the coin’s reverse, while the coin’s denomination, ONE DOLLAR, is inscribed around the lower edge. Two stars, one on either side, separate the words at the top and bottom of the coin.
On the coin’s face, right above the eagle’s head, is the motto, IN GOD WE TRUST, inscribed in a calligraphic font different from the other coin letters.
Other Features of the 1901 Silver Dollar
The Morgan dollars of 1901 were minted in Philadelphia, New Orleans, and San Francisco. The ones minted in Philadelphia do not have a mint mark, but the others will have a mintmark O and S, respectively. The mint mark is placed on the coin’s reverse right under the center of the wreath.
The coin contains 90% silver and 10% copper, weighs 26.73 grams and has a diameter of 38.10mm.
George Morgan was the coin’s engraver/designer from whose name the coin was derived.
Here are the specifications:
- Philadelphia mintage: 6,962,000
- Philadelphia mintage proof coins: 813
- San Francisco mintage: 2,284,000
- New Orleans mintage: 13,320,000
- Weight: 26.73 grams
- Diameter: 38.10mm
- Metal composition: 90% silver, 10% copper
1901 Silver Dollar Value Guides
The 1901 silver dollar was minted only at the Philadelphia, New Orleans, and San Francisco mints. Except for the proof coins minted in Philadelphia, the other 1901 Morgan dollars released into circulation were generally poorly stricken.
It helps to consider the coin’s condition when determining whether your 1901 silver dollar is worth anything. This coin was minted long ago, so the ones still in circulation are likely to be worn or damaged.
There are three varieties to consider when assessing the 1901 silver dollar value. These include:
- The 1901 no-mintmark silver dollar
- The 1901 S silver dollar
- The 1901 O silver dollar
Let us now look at the value of each coin type.
1901 No-mint mark Silver Dollar Value
A total of 6,962,000 silver dollars were minted at the Philadelphia facility in 1901; therefore, these coins do not have a mintmark.
Because of their high silver content, 1901 silver dollars are worth their weight in silver. This means that the coin’s value is pegged to the spot price of silver metal at any given time.
Circulated grade 1901 Morgan dollars are readily available, but they can be expensive because of how rare and expensive mint state 1901 silver dollars are. In circulated condition, 1901 silver dollars are worth between $45 and $1250.
There are few examples of 1901 Morgan dollars in grades MS60 to MS62, but the coin is extremely rare in higher grades, with about 100 examples in MS63, about 10 in MS64 and only 1 or 2 known examples in MS65. In mint, uncirculated condition, the 1901 Morgan silver dollar can be worth as much as $650,000.
With nearly no examples in mint state, the 1901 silver dollar is the rarest of all coins in the entire history of the Morgan silver dollar.
Because of its rarity and the premium prices it fetches, the silver dollar from 1901 is prone to fraudulent activity. Some collectors/dealers file off the O or S mint marks from 1901 dollars to make it look like these are rare coins from the Philadelphia mint.
When buying 1901 silvers, I strongly recommend only using a certified and reputable coin grading company to avoid being a victim of fraud.
1901 S Silver Dollar Value
The San Francisco mint produced only 2,284,000 silver dollars. Almost all of these coins were released into circulation immediately after production, making the 1901 silver dollars rare in circulated condition but rarer in uncirculated condition.
The coins minted at the San Francisco facility have an S mint mark on the reverse, just underneath the wreath.
In circulated condition, the 1901 S silver dollar value ranges between $40 and $370.
Though hard to find, Morgan dollars from 1901 in mint, uncirculated state can be worth as much as $40,000. The most expensive 1901 silver dollar was graded MS67 and auctioned for $42,300 in 2015.
If you have a 1901 S silver dollar, you should definitely hang onto it, especially if it is not worn and has most features intact.
1901 O Silver Dollar Value
The third mint to produce 1901 silver dollars was the one in New Orleans, which struck 13,320,000 of these coins. However, the minting facility ceased business, creating a 1901 O silver dollars shortage. The coins were transported to Philadelphia and Washington, DC, for storage, from where they started trickling back to the market.
In the 1950s, Treasury released large quantities of 1901 silver dollars from the New Orleans mint into the market. More coins were released in the early 1960s, filling the market with hundreds of thousands of 1901 silver dollars in mint state.
Circulated 1901 silver dollars are common and can be obtained affordably. Because of the massive release of coins in the 1950s and 1960, there are equally many uncirculated mint state 1901 O Morgan dollars though these are obtainable at a premium.
In average circulated condition, 1901 Morgan dollars are valued at $34.50 to $63. In uncirculated condition, the Morgan dollar from 1901 can be worth up to $50,000.
The most expensive 1901 O Silver dollar was auctioned in 2015 at grade M68 at $55,813.
1901 Proof Silver Dollar Value
In addition to the standard strike coins, the Philadelphia mint produced 813 proof coins for collectors. These were obviously very few coins, considering the demand for proofs among collectors.
The fact that the no-mintmark regular strike coins were so rare in the mint state increased demand for 1901 proof coins. Examples of cameo and ultra-cameo proof coins from this year are available but rare.
In lower grades between PF 50 and 58, the 1901 proof silver dollar can be worth between $975 and $1300. A proof silver dollar from 1901 in pristine condition can fetch up to $37000.
1901 Silver Dollar Errors
As you can see, the silver dollars from 1901 are worth much more than their face value and can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on their origin and condition.
The error varieties are other 1901 silver dollars that might be worth a lot. There aren’t many errors in the 1901 Morgan dollar series, but the most valuable ones are visible, interesting mistakes that stand out.
1901 Silver Dollar Doubled Die Reverse Error
The most common 1901 silver dollar error is the doubled die reverse variety.
The DDR error on the coin is noticeable on the eagle’s features, which include a doubling of its feathers, arrows, talons and beak. The doubling also makes the eagle appear shifted and slightly higher on the coin instead of centred.
The most expensive 1901 silver dollar with a doubled die reverse error was graded MS62 and sold at $41,125 in 2015.
1901 Silver Dollar VAM Doubled Ear Error
The initials VAM stand for Leroy Van Allen and George Mallis, the collectors who cataloged errors on the 1901 silver dollar.
The collectors identified the doubled ear error on 1901 silver dollars in which there is a visible doubling on Liberty’s ear.
Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) records indicate that the most expensive 1901 silver dollar VAM doubled ear error was graded MS61 and auctioned for $9,000 in 2020.
What makes the 1901 Morgan dollar so valuable?
The 1901 Morgan dollar is the second rarest Morgan dollar in mint state. Less than a dozen examples of this coin exist in higher grades. The 1901 silver dollar is rare in mint state because most of the seven million coins struck were released into circulation, and collectors melted the remaining few for their silver value. The rarity of mint state 1901 Morgan dollars puts pressure on circulated 1901 silver dollars, making them quite valuable despite their generally poor strike.
Where is the mint mark on a 1901 silver dollar?
If your 1901 silver dollar was minted in Philadelphia, it will not have a mint mark. The mint mark on this coin appears on the reverse, just underneath the wreath of olive branches and immediately above the coin’s denomination spelt ONE DOLLAR. The 1901 coins minted in San Francisco and New Orleans will have the mintmark S and O, respectively.
How many 1901 Morgan silver dollars are there?
A whopping 22,566,813 Morgan silver dollars were minted in 1901. Today, about 10% of these coins exist in general circulation. 1901 Morgan silver dollars are fairly easy to obtain in circulated condition but extremely difficult to come by in mint, uncirculated condition. You must be willing to pay a premium price for the uncirculated coins.