1887 Morgan Silver Dollar - Honest Yay or Nay?
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Hi! When recently cleaning out my parents house, I found several coins my grandparents had given to my sister and I while we were growing up. They have basically been sitting in a drawer for the last 20-30yrs-- but have been kept in these neat little blue velvet boxes. (I'm over 35yrs old...so its been at least 20yrs...the plastic slips they were in are actually snapping and cracking) 

I have no idea where to even start... but alas, I went to local coin dealer to see numbers they would throw at me...which were not very high. Then I decider to "google" local coin dealers again but this time I searcher from Better Business Bureau website for BBB accredited dealers and of course, there are ZERO where I live. However, i was able to submit a few request for quotes from BBB search for dealers which are about an hour and half from me (both North and South). 

Thought this would be helpful until i started receiving a few responses. Somehow, the more responses I get from dealers, the more uncertain I am.... these quotes range from $20 all the way to $2K, with one just saying that would need to see in-person but could be in thousands? And again, these were all directed via BBB website tool, so i have no idea what to think. This range also includes quote from local dealer today, who only quoted me $30-40 (but worth noting that might not be best source as shop isn't even BBB accredited, his quote was higher than some who responded via BBB website tool? But goes both ways-- significantly lower than highest quote in the same respect...from BBB website. lol.).

So now I'm basically here begging for someone to just give me an honest answer on whether it is worth to drive an hour and half out of town (one way) to get an in-person quote from dealer who is actually BBB certified as well as these authorized 3rd party grading dealer? Or was the local coin dealer giving me a fair price here? I've tried to include better pictures this time (than what I started with earlier today on BBB website quotes) and tried to get angles where reflection from light doesn't interfere. 

(Also-- I only have 4 total coins...I'm just using this one as example as the local dealer told me it was the most valuable) 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated-- gas is sooo expensive right now, it feels foolish to drive 3 hrs for a 10 minute visit to someone who I cant even really say is the "expert" or giving me a fair "estimate". 

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Edited by TinySteiny
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First welcome to the forum!   You have a very nice Morgan dollar with what most will consider eye appealing toning.   I am going to provide you a link to the NGC explorer page for 1887 Morgan dollars, 1887 link   Here you can find lots of information about this coin (and the other coins you have too) including rarity, pricing, photos, and some commentary.   I agree with Bobby that this coin grades MS63 or MS64, and retail for a raw coin in this current market is $75 give or take.

In your reverse photo you appear to be holding the coin out of the plastic flip, I caution you to take care when handling your coins and only hold them by the edge when handling them outside of a holder.   The oils on our skin are acidic and will leave fingerprint marks that eat into and etch the coin's surface which will lower the value.

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Morgan Silver Dollars are all over the place in terms of value, with most that were in circulation being worth little more than the content of silver in the coin, and with a handful of less common ones being worth much more, even in poorer condition.  It's understandable that your running into issues trying to value the coins without enough information needed for that, particularly the condition of the coin. It would be like saying you want to sell a 1986 Ford without the buyer knowing the model, mileage and condition of the car.  Unfortunately, the coin in your hand appears to be a regular issue 1887 coin from the Philadelphia Mint, with a lot struck that year (20 mil) compared to other years/mints, so it's likely very common even without a lot of wear, which that coin does not appear to have.

One thing to note about that coin is that there is a variation worth significantly more than the average coin from that year and mint. It's one where an 1886 die was re-used with an 1887 date that didn't hold up, called a "7 Over 6" (see pic), because a 7 was struck sometimes with indications of the old 6 present. There may be some marks around the 7 on that coin, but it's very difficult to see due to the significant toning of the coin. Have someone check for that looking at the actual coin (forget more pics, it won't help), before you sell the coin. And like others have noted don't actually handle the coin with your bare hands as that gets oils on the coin.

Good luck with selling them, and I wouldn't go too nuts on driving significant distances unless there isn't a local coin dealer who you can show the coins to that you feel comfortable with. And ask about the "7 Over 6" for the 1887 (P) coin.

1887-7-over-6-closeup-morgan-silver-dollar.jpg

Edited by EagleRJO
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On 7/16/2022 at 2:20 PM, EagleRJO said:

It's one where a 1886 coin was re-struck with a 1887 date, called a "7 Over 6" (see pic), because the new 7 couldn't completely eliminate the old 6.

Good point.

One minor correction. The 1886 die was first repaired by filling the "6" as completely as possible, then smoothing the field. Then a "7" or and "87" logo was punched into the die and the die hardened for use. During use small parts of the filler separated, making the faint lines pointed to by the red arrows. That is, the new 7 was not actually punched over a 6.

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On 7/16/2022 at 2:51 PM, RWB said:

Good point.

One minor correction. The 1886 die was first repaired by filling the "6" as completely as possible, then smoothing the field. Then a "7" or and "87" logo was punched into the die and the die hardened for use. During use small parts of the filler separated, making the faint lines pointed to by the red arrows. That is, the new 7 was not actually punched over a 6.

The re-striking may have been in multiple steps, but in my mind was simply re-struck over existing 1886 coins, or what seems to just be called a "7 Over 6" ;-)

I'm not saying that 1887 is a "7 Over 6", but there may be marks around the 7 which in my mind warrants at least looking into that.

1887 Morgan 7 Over 6.jpg

Edited by EagleRJO
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  • Member: Seasoned Veteran
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The re-striking may have been in multiple steps, but in my mind was simply re-struck over existing 1886 coins

That's not something the U. S. Mint would ever do with coins of that vintage. In its earliest days it resorted to using cut-down commercial tokens and mis-struck cents as planchets for the making of half cents, but all of that ended after 1800. Here's a nice 1795 half cent revealing the undertype still quite visible.

Overstruck half cent.jpg

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On 7/17/2022 at 11:39 AM, DWLange said:

That's not something the U. S. Mint would ever do with coins of that vintage. ...

So the US Mint would not flatten the date on a 1886 Morgan with a filled in die, and then strike the 1887 date (the multiple steps)? How did we get the 1887 "7 Over 6" coins?

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It was done just as RWB states. The overdate was created in the actual die. I was commenting on the mistaken notion that existing 1886 coins were overstruck with 1887 dies.

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On 7/17/2022 at 4:29 PM, DWLange said:

It was done just as RWB states. The overdate was created in the actual die. I was commenting on the mistaken notion that existing 1886 coins were overstruck with 1887 dies.

Wait, you guys are confusing me.  So, they didn't first strike the 1886 coins with a filled in die to flatten all/part of the date and then strike it with a die that had the "7" in the 1887 date, or what I was calling re-striking the coin?  I was led to believe that "re-striking" a coin could be done in one of two ways:

(1) simply strike another coin with a new die, without first flattening the feature to be changed (like the 1795 half cent you posted); or

(2) first strike an old coin with a die that has the features you want to change filled in (e.g. the "6" in 1886 is filled in), in order to flatten that element, and then strike the flattened coin with a new die that has the desired element (e.g. a die that has the 7 now in the 1887 date), like the 1887 "7 Over 6" coin.

What am I missing here, or when you guys say "re-striking" is that only technically a reference to the second part of the multi-step process? 

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Only the die has been changed is what they are trying to say. The mint doesn't restrike a older coin like DW and Rodger said. 

Edited by J P Mashoke
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On 7/17/2022 at 5:22 PM, EagleRJO said:

Wait, you guys are confusing me.  So, they didn't first strike the 1886 coins with a filled in die to flatten all/part of the date and then strike it with a die that had the "7" in the 1887 date, or what I was calling re-striking the coin?  I was led to believe that "re-striking" a coin could be done in one of two ways:

(1) simply strike another coin with a new die, without first flattening the feature to be changed (like the 1795 half cent you posted); or

(2) first strike an old coin with a die that has the features you want to change filled in (e.g. the "6" in 1886 is filled in), in order to flatten that element, and then strike the flattened coin with a new die that has the desired element (e.g. a die that has the 7 now in the 1887 date), like the 1887 "7 Over 6" coin.

What am I missing here, or when you guys say "re-striking" is that only technically a reference to the second part of the multi-step process? 

No double striking. Eliminate that from your mind. 

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Overdating a die was a way to save money and time. Each working die cost about $25 in 1887. If unused dated dies remained after the close of a calendar year, they could not be used (leftover 1886 obverse in January 1887). Rather than deface and discard the prior year die (1886) and loose all of its value, the Engraving Dept could anneal the die and fill the "6" digit with soft steel. This was forced into the "6" until the hole was tightly filled. Any excess sticking above the die surface was smoothed with a graver. A new digit was punched into the die. The die was given its final hardening and temper, then gently rebaisened (abraded to a uniform radius or curvature), dipped in acid to remove oxidation from heating, and released to the Coiner for use.

It might have cost $5 in labor to do this and could be accomplished in half a day. Raising a new die from the 1887 hub would require 7-8 blows from the hubbing press with an annealing between each blow. Only two annealings could be done in a day, so the full working die required 3-4 days before it was complete. [I suspect overdating worked best if the die had never received its final hardening -- as would be the case with dies reserved to be mintmarked.]

The work would be invisible on coins if the repair held. If the repair began to fail under the high pressure of use, tiny flakes and grains of the filler would fall out, mostly along the edge of the original digit. This is what is seen on an 1887/6 dollar and the many overdates of 1880/79, and the well known 1900-O/CC varieties.

Edited by RWB
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Okay, thanks for the explanation. So, I was in fact misled into believing that they might re-strike old coins with newer features.  That's what you get from reading stuff on the web ... ;-P

 

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On 7/18/2022 at 9:59 AM, EagleRJO said:

Okay, thanks for the explanation. So, I was in fact misled into believing that they might re-strike old coins with newer features.  That's what you get from reading stuff on the web ... ;-P

 

There is a fellow in the Colorado Rockies who does what you suggest to this very day. 

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On 7/18/2022 at 11:21 AM, VKurtB said:

There is a fellow in the Colorado Rockies who does what you suggest to this very day. 

Counterfeits?

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On 7/16/2022 at 1:32 AM, TinySteiny said:

Hi! When recently cleaning out my parents house, I found several coins my grandparents had given to my sister and I while we were growing up. They have basically been sitting in a drawer for the last 20-30yrs-- but have been kept in these neat little blue velvet boxes. (I'm over 35yrs old...so its been at least 20yrs...the plastic slips they were in are actually snapping and cracking) 

I have no idea where to even start... but alas, I went to local coin dealer to see numbers they would throw at me...which were not very high. Then I decider to "google" local coin dealers again but this time I searcher from Better Business Bureau website for BBB accredited dealers and of course, there are ZERO where I live. However, i was able to submit a few request for quotes from BBB search for dealers which are about an hour and half from me (both North and South). 

Thought this would be helpful until i started receiving a few responses. Somehow, the more responses I get from dealers, the more uncertain I am.... these quotes range from $20 all the way to $2K, with one just saying that would need to see in-person but could be in thousands? And again, these were all directed via BBB website tool, so i have no idea what to think. This range also includes quote from local dealer today, who only quoted me $30-40 (but worth noting that might not be best source as shop isn't even BBB accredited, his quote was higher than some who responded via BBB website tool? But goes both ways-- significantly lower than highest quote in the same respect...from BBB website. lol.).

So now I'm basically here begging for someone to just give me an honest answer on whether it is worth to drive an hour and half out of town (one way) to get an in-person quote from dealer who is actually BBB certified as well as these authorized 3rd party grading dealer? Or was the local coin dealer giving me a fair price here? I've tried to include better pictures this time (than what I started with earlier today on BBB website quotes) and tried to get angles where reflection from light doesn't interfere. 

(Also-- I only have 4 total coins...I'm just using this one as example as the local dealer told me it was the most valuable) 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated-- gas is sooo expensive right now, it feels foolish to drive 3 hrs for a 10 minute visit to someone who I cant even really say is the "expert" or giving me a fair "estimate". 

20220716_011758.jpg

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20220716_012452.jpg

20220716_011641.jpg

20220716_010552.jpg

20220716_012546.jpg

20220716_013840.jpg

One quibble - the BBB is a cruel joke. It’s about paying up to the BBB, nothing else. Never trust ANYTHING to do with the BBB. It is quite literally a protection racket. 

Edited by VKurtB
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On 7/18/2022 at 11:03 AM, EagleRJO said:

Counterfeits?

Nope, fantasy overdates struck over real coins of the same type. He overstrikes dates that never existed, like a 1907 Lincoln Cent, or a 1933 Buffalo Nickel. 

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On 7/18/2022 at 12:03 PM, EagleRJO said:

Counterfeits?

Yes.

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On 7/18/2022 at 9:03 AM, EagleRJO said:

Counterfeits?

No not counterfeits, notwithstanding Roger's usual misinformation on this subject, you may have noticed that Roger has a major chip on his shoulder about a few things in the hobby.   What we are now talking about is Dan Carr and his moonlight mint operation.  

Moonlight Mint website

Dan takes US coins (and maybe darkside coins, I'm not a follower of his operation) and will use those as planchets which he restrikes with new dies.   On his website there is a gallery section where you can see several of the coins he has created, including some that mimic US mint designs but with dates the mint never produced, like a 1964 Peace dollar.   You can see another example of his work towards the bottom of page 66 of the "love for copper" thread here on in the US, world, and ancient section of the forum, a copy of a Lincoln cent coin with a date of 1908-S.

There are very avid collectors of his work, and there are a few (obviously) that have an axe to grind over his work.   I personally don't collect his stuff nor do I care either way, I see his stuff as a form of art, certainly nothing to get worked up about.

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On 7/18/2022 at 4:24 PM, Coinbuf said:

... What we are now talking about is Dan Carr and his moonlight mint operation.  

Moonlight Mint website

Dan takes US coins (and maybe darkside coins, I'm not a follower of his operation) and will use those as planchets which he restrikes with new dies ...

I checked out his website and he has some really interesting stuff, like this "1964-D Morgan" spoof coin ... "1964-D Morgan Silver" fantasy issue, High-Grade Finish, CLASHED Die Pair 2 Proof-like.  I also didn't know this from his website ... " Defacing of US coins is legal so long as the defacement isn't for fraudulent purposes"

Seems like he has really popular stuff because it looks like he is sold out of everything.  What a bummer, I would have loved to get one of his 1964-D Morgan Silver tokens coins from his website.

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