1882 is what is known as a semi-key date in the Morgan dollar series. While they are not the most valuable silver dollars out there, some rare varieties in mint state are worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Those 1882 silver dollars minted in Philadelphia and San Francisco can fetch high prices at auction when in mint state, but the mintage was much higher and hence these coins are not as valuable as those minted in New Orleans.
New Orleans dollars from 1882 carry a notable error – the 1882 O/S error, also known as 1882 O over S. These are the most valuable of the bunch on average. However, a regular 1882 O silver dollar made a whopping auction record, scooping $108,687.50 in 2015!
Today, we will run through the background information, provide a value chart and a guide to 1882 Morgan dollar auction records. We’ve assembled a basic but useful coin grading guide, and a buying and selling guide. Whether you want to add the 1882 silver dollar to your collection or find the value so you can sell it successfully, you have come to the right place!
1882 Silver Dollar: Background
The 1882 silver dollar is also known as the 1882 Morgan dollar. The Coinage Act of 1873 had ended the production of silver dollars, but the Bland-Allison Act of 1878 authorized their production again. Following this, the Morgan dollar series were issued every year between 1878 and 1904, and once again in 1921 as a one-off special. These dollars were designed by George T. Morgan, a renowned engraver. The US government commissioned a new design as a replacement for the Seated Liberty dollar.
Around this time the Comstock Lode was discovered – large amounts of silver located in the western USA. Therefore, the government decreed a large number of one dollar coins be minted with designs celebrating the US.
During 1882, the Morgan dollar was minted at Philadelphia, Carson City, and San Francisco mints. This coin had a total mintage of over 20 million! Due to the high cost of silver, many of these dollars were hoarded and later melted down making these silver dollars rarer and hence more valuable today.
1882 Silver Dollar: Design And Specifications
The 1882 silver dollar is 38.1 millimeters in diameter and weighs 26.73 grams. It is composed of 90% silver and 10% copper and has a reeded edge.
The obverse features the well-known portrait of Lady Liberty who was famously based on a school teacher called Anna Willess Williams. George T. Morgan used Anna as a muse and based his “distinctly American” portrait of Liberty on her. On top of Lady Liberty’s head is the Phyrigian cap and a band with the inscription “Liberty” on it. Surrounding the head is a string of stars with the latin phrase “E. PLURUBUS UNUM” above and the date “1882” below.
The reverse side features the American bald eagle with an arrow bundle and olive branch clutched in its talons. These items are intended to symbolize war – the arrows – and peace – the olive branch, implying togetherness and united defense in the face of threat to America, and a commitment to achieving peace.
There is a wreath beneath the eagle, and the mint mark can be found below this wreath if there is one. If the coin was minted in Philadelphia it will have no mint mark. If minted in San Francisco it will display an “S”, and in Carson City it will display a “CC”. Above the eagle is the motto “In God We Trust”, and surrounding the eagle are the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ONE DOLLAR”.
1882 Silver Dollar: Value Chart
When it comes to valuing the 1882 Morgan dollar, the mint mark, condition and rarity are the key factors which will dictate the overall value.
The market value of rare and collectible coins fluctuates with changing interests and new entries to the market. Keep an eye on Coin Trackers, a site which tracks the value of different versions of coins and is updated regularly.
Here, we’ll list the average prices the 1882 silver dollar currently fetches. Please note that values are correct at the time of writing according to USA Coin Book. Entries marked with a “-“ indicate that no or not enough samples of this coin have been sold by auction to calculate the average value.
|Extremely Fine (EF40)
|About Uncirculated (AU50)
|Mint State (MS65)
|1882 O (O over S)
The 1882 silver dollar minted in Philadelphia is the most common with a mintage of 11,101,100 and hence holds the least value. However, the auction record for this coin in MS67+ condition was $32,900 in 2015!
Next up, the 1882 Morgan dollars minted in San Francisco had a mintage of 9,250,000 and are worth around the same as those minted in Philadelphia. The auction record for this coin with grade MS68+ was $27,025 in 2019!
The New Orleans dollars are the stand-out dollars of 1882. The regular 1882 silver dollar minted in New Orleans will fetch a higher price on average, especially those in mint state because the mintage was lower at around 6,090,000. The auction record for this kind of coin with grade MS68+ was a stunning $108,687.50 in 2015!
One of the most notable error coins of this year is the 1882 New Orleans O over S, also known as the 1882 O/S. As you can imagine, this form of error features the “O” mint mark of New Orleans which has been struck over the top of an “S” San Francisco mint mark. It is mostly the central diagonal section of the “S” which can be seen inside the “O”. You can see the differences between the error and non-error O varieties here. The auction record for this coin in MS65+ condition was $84,000 in 2022!
The 1882 silver dollars minted at Carson City are also more valuable than the Philadelphia and San Francisco varieties. These are relatively rare coins with a mintage of only 1,113,000. The auction record for this kind for a coin with the grade MS65 was $46,000 in 2001!
1882 Silver Dollar: Coin Grading
Coin grading takes years of training and experience to master. It’s highly recommended to have your valuable coins appraised by a professional coin dealer or grading service to get an accurate idea of the condition and therefore value. This is done in person so the expert can inspect the coin in detail – be aware that this service will cost you.
However, there are a few ways you can get a good idea of the condition of your coin by yourself:
- Surface preservation – Look for signs of wear, scratches, or damage on the coin’s surface.
- Strike quality: Look for signs of weakness in the coin’s detailed features. A common example is a lack of definition of the eagle’s feathers on the reverse side.
- Luster: Look for signs of original luster. This is defined as the shine a coin has when it is freshly minted.
- Eye appeal: This is defined as the overall aesthetic appeal of the coin.
But when we say good, fine, extremely fine, and uncirculated condition, what do we mean? Here’s a quick guide:
- Good – lowest market value, heavy damage, difficult to make out the lettering and patterns
- Fine – typically in circulation a long time but without major damage, features mostly visible, higher market value.
- Extremely fine – close to perfect! Potentially a small flaw or scratch, but otherwise lettering and images totally clear, higher market value.
- Uncirculated – the best of the best! Basically in mint condition with only perhaps some natural discoloration, highest market value.
Coin grading uses a 70 point scale, agreed upon and standardised by professional numismatists (coin experts). Find out more here.
1882 Silver Dollar: Buying And Selling Guide
When you want to buy or sell an 1882 silver dollar, it’s important to be aware of the coin’s condition, mint mark location, and rarity, including whether you have an illusive error coin or not. As a geberal rule, the better the condition, the more valuable the coin. As illustrated by the value chart, coins minted at some mint locations can be more valuable than those minted at others.
Buying rare and unusual pennies online can be easy as long as you have put in the research and know exactly what you are looking for. Equipping yourself with knowledge is the best way to identify fake coins and become familiar with the key features of your desired coin.
Make sure you are buying pennies from a reputable seller. Usually reputable sellers include detailed information and several photographs in the coin listing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to find out more – most coin enthusiasts are happy to share information and spread their knowledge. Also look out for valid certification in the listing from Third Party Graders like the PGCS.
If you are selling coins is it advisable to do the same – include all the relevant details and valid certification. Reply to questions quickly and efficiently, and list your coins on the right platforms.
Three sites you can try to buy coins from are:
- eBay – here you can search for the exact type of coin you are looking for, and get an idea of the kinds of prices they are sold for. You can filter by mint location, certification, grade, date, price, and more! Selling through eBay is also recommended. Bear in mind you will build your reputation through successful selling, so if you have already sold good through eBay and received 5 stars you are already considered a reputable seller.
- Numista – through this site, you can find out a lot of information about coins from around the world. You can also swap coins with other members (Coin Swappers) and track down listings for the coin you are interested in purchasing.
- USA Coin Book – here you can find all rare and collectible coins in circulation! This link takes you to a page listing all the Morgan dollars under year and mint mark. Simply select the right coin and scroll down to see live auctions and where it can be bought.
You can also try stores specialising in coins and paper money, or ask around on specialised numismatic forums for advice and potential coin swaps.