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The Coin Geek

1903 O Morgan Silver Dollar

Despite the nearly 4.5 million coins produced at the New Orleans mint in 1903 it is a coin that is very rare. But that rarity has had one major bump in the road. Most of the 1903-O Morgans were melted down. Through the early 1960’s the 1903-O was actually considered the key to the series (setting aside the proof only 1895 issue).

1903o

1903 O Morgan Dollar. NGC MS64.

In the 1963 US Red Book  the 1903-O listed for $400 in Extra Fine and $1,500 in Uncirculated. By way of comparison the  1893-S  listed for $125 in XF and $1,200 in UNC.  Between 1962 and 1964 the US Treasury released many uncirculated bags of the coins. This had what you would call an adverse effect on the price of the coin. In the 1964 US Red Book the 1903-O listed for $15 in XF and $30 in UNC.  Ouch.

Although some have suspected upwards of 300,000 of the coins were released it seems unlikely since NGC has only graded 7279 pieces to date.  What is interesting is that of those, only 121 are in circulated condition. That is a whopping 98.4% in uncirculated condition! The largest portion of which are graded MS64 (37%). Contrast this with the 1893-S Morgan. NGC has graded 2,695 of the 1893-S Morgan dollars, of which a scant 27 pieces are in uncirculated condition.

Today the  1903-O in VG lists for $270 and in MS60 it lists for $365. There are not many coins that have that small of a spread from VG to UNC.  The 1903-O is still a hard coin to come by. If you ever find one circulated, you’ve found a truly rare coin. It is in fact a conditional rarity.

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