In 1899, the United States was in a period of economic growth and expansion due to its industrialization efforts. The country’s continued population growth, technological advancements, and territorial acquisitions provided an environment for increased agricultural output, manufacturing capabilities, and job opportunities.
It was also a year of territorial expansion. 1899 saw the end of the Spanish-American war, with Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines being ceded to the United States. However, the Philippine-American war would break out right after.
The mint also kept its production of Morgan dollars. Coins were minted in Philadelphia, New Orleans, and San Francisco. Mint Director George Roberts was concerned that the high demand for circulating silver coinage would exhaust the supply of silver bullion, leading to an increase in minting costs.
Fast forward to today, the 1899 silver dollar value is still one of the most sought-after coins among collectors. It has become a symbol of American economic prosperity and an ode to past technological advancements and territorial acquisitions.
Whether you’re looking to add it to your collection or want to know more about this iconic piece of American history, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn more about the 1899 silver dollar value and what makes it unique.
The History of the 1899 Silver Dollar
The 1899 silver dollar is part of the Morgan Dollar series, which was minted from 1878 to 1904. The coins were designed by George Morgan and feature a left-facing Liberty head on the front, also known as the “obverse,” along with an eagle holding arrows and an olive branch on the back, or the “reverse.”
1899 saw three silver dollar mints in operation: Philadelphia, New Orleans, and San Francisco. This was due to the high demand for these coins, as they were heavily circulated in everyday transactions at the time.
As mentioned earlier, 1899 was a period of significant economic growth and expansion for America, which meant the demand for circulating silver coinage was incredibly high. Thankfully, the mints could keep up with this demand and produced over 15 million coins between the 3 mints, the vast majority of which came from New Orleans.
The design features Liberty wearing a Phrygian cap and a ribbon with the word “LIBERTY” on it. On the reverse is an eagle holding arrows in its left talon, symbolizing strength and preparedness for war, and olive branches in its right talon, representing peace. The coins were minted from 90% silver and 10% copper.
Evaluating an 1899 Silver Dollar
Anyone who wishes to start collecting coins must have a basic understanding of valuing coins. There are 2 reasons for this:
- Avoid overpaying for a coin worth less than you thought it was.
- Avoiding scams.
Several factors determine the value of any given coin. Here’s what you should be looking at when evaluating a coin:
- Condition—The coin’s disease, or grade, determines its value. Coins preserved in excellent condition will fetch much higher prices than coins showing wear and tear.
- Rarity — The rarer a coin is, the more valuable it is. This can be due to specific minting errors or damage and mintage levels.
- Demand — The more people want a coin, its value will be higher. Simple supply and demand laws.
- Mint mark— This refers to the mint that stamped the coin. The three mints in operation in 1899 were New Orleans, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. In the case of the 1899 silver dollar, the mint mark can be found on the reverse, just below the eagle’s tail feathers. A lack of mint marks signifies the coin was minted in Philadelphia.
Here’s a video showcasing a few rare and valuable 1899 silver dollars to give you a better idea of their potential value:
Regarding authenticity, there are several ways to determine whether you have a genuine 1899 silver dollar. The first is checking the coin’s edge for irregularities or tool marks, which could indicate that it has been altered somehow. You can also weigh it against other currencies of the same era and use a magnifying glass to inspect the condition and any markings present.
1899 Silver Dollar Value: How Much Does it Worth?
The best place to start your search is online, where you can find several reputable sellers who specialize in coins and currency. Remember to always do your research and take the time to look up each seller’s history.
Alternatively, you can go to a reputable coin dealer in your area. They can help you find what you’re looking for and offer advice on the best places to buy (and sell) coins.
If you have time, you can visit a few local coin auctions. Remember that the higher-profile auction houses will demand a fee for you to bid, so be prepared to pay if you decide to go this route.
Regardless of where you buy your 1899 silver dollar, make sure the transaction is conducted in a secure environment. If the seller accepts credit cards or PayPal, that’s a good sign. You should also look for feedback from previous buyers and sellers to get an idea of what sort of experience you can expect.
Since values vary greatly even among the same coin, we compiled a list of average values for 1899 silver dollars.
1899 Silver Dollars – Poor to Fine (Grades 0 to 15)
These are the lowest-grade coins and will have heavy wear and other signs of damage. Poor graded coins only have enough features to make them recognizable. Fine coins look slightly better. They are still very worn but have all significant details intact.
Prices in this category start at around $20-$30; here are a few:
- This G6-O silver dollar sold for $19
- This F12-S silver dollar sold for $20
- This ungraded details silver dollar sold for $38
The next big price cluster is at around $150-$200:
- This NG0 silver dollar sold for $171
- This NG0 New Orleans silver dollar sold for $180
- This semi-prooflike San Francisco silver dollar sold for $161
The top-priced coins in this category are all ungraded, and they all go for thousands of dollars:
- This NG0-O silver dollar sold for $2,600
- This NG0 silver dollar sold for $8,000
- This NG0-S silver dollar went for a whopping $21,000
Next up are the Very Fine to About Uncirculated coins.
1899 Silver Dollar – Very Fine to About Uncirculated (Grades 20 to 58)
Coins in very fine and about uncirculated grades show little to no wear or damage. The details are clearly visible, with distinct denticles, stars, lettering, and date. Coins at this grade may have some luster remaining, although most of the mint luster has been worn away. The strike will be full and sharp.
A few sold for less than $10:
- This VF20-O silver dollar sold for $3
- This EF40-S silver dollar sold for $3
- This VF20-O silver dollar sold for $7
Most start at around $30-$50, like:
- This VF30-S silver dollar sold for $31
- This XF45-O silver dollar sold for $33
- This AU58 silver dollar sold for $41
Prices then slowly rise, reaching up to around $500; here are a few examples:
- This AU50-O silver dollar sold for $360
- This AU58-S silver dollar sold for $504
- This AU58 silver dollar sold for $506
1899 Silver Dollar – Uncirculated to Select Uncirculated (Grades 60 to 63)
Uncirculated coins are coins that were never used in daily life. Uncirculated coins have no wear or damage. Their details are fully visible, with distinct denticles, stars, lettering, and date. The strike will be sharp and full. Mint luster is still present on the coin’s surfaces. The surface may be either frosty or brilliant.
Prices for these dollars start at around $20 for New Orleans coins:
- This MS60-O silver dollar sold for $21
- Here’s another MS60-O silver dollar that sold for $21
- This MS62-O silver dollar sold for $25
Prices then slowly rise and get to around $60-$100, which is where Philadelphia and San Francisco minted also start showing up:
- This MS63-O silver dollar sold for $62
- This MS60-S silver dollar sold for $109
- This MS61 silver dollar sold for $104
The highest price pieces sell for thousands of euros, with New Orleans minted-ones having the highest value:
- This MS62 silver dollar sold for $1,840
- This CH BU-S (Choice Brilliant Uncirculated) silver dollar sold for $4,950
- This MS63-O silver dollar sold for $6,500
1899 Silver Dollar – Choice & Gem Uncirculated (64 to 66)
These coins are a step above uncirculated. They still have minor flaws — but you’ll need a magnifying glass to notice them.
Editor’s note: This MS64-S silver dollar sold for $3, but it is an exception.
Prices for coins in this category start at around $30, though it’s exclusively New Orleans-minted ones that go for this price:
- This MS64-O silver dollar sold for $31
- This MS64-O silver dollar sold for $34
- This MS64-O silver dollar sold for $37
We start meeting coins minted in Philadelphia at around the $130 mark:
- This MS64 silver dollar sold for $132
- This MS64+-O silver dollar sold for $134
- This MS64 silver dollar sold for $150
You have to get up to around $300-$400 to see the first coins minted in San Francisco:
- This MS64-S silver dollar sold for $299
- This MS64-S silver dollar sold for $375
- This MS64 silver dollar sold for $278
The most expensive coins reach the price of thousands of dollars:
- This MS66 silver dollar sold for $8,338
- This MS66DMPL-O (Deep-Mirror Proof Like) silver dollar sold for $9,300
1899 silver dollars minted in San Francisco get up to tens of thousands of dollars:
- This MS65DMPL-S silver dollar sold for $20,400
- This MS66-S silver dollar sold for $26,450
- This MS65-S silver dollar sold for $27,600
1899 Silver Dollar – Superb & Perfect Uncirculated (Grades 67 to 70)
The coins in these grades are perfect. They have no wear or defects, which makes them look like they were freshly minted.
Prices for these silver dollars start at around $1,000: for New Orleans mints:
- This MS67-O silver dollar sold for $978
- This MS67-O silver dollar sold for $1,093
- This MS67-O silver dollar sold for $1,150
You have to get to $4,000 to see the first Philadelphia coins and $6-7,000 for San Francisco ones:
- This MS67 silver dollar sold for $3,910
- This MS67-S silver dollar sold for $6,325
- This MS67 silver dollar sold for $7,475
The rarest and most valuable pieces in this category sell for tens of thousands of dollars:
- This MS67+ silver dollar sold for $21,150
- This MS68-O silver dollar sold for $29,900
- This MS67+-S silver dollar sold for $49,938
- This MS67PL-S (Proof Like) silver dollar sold for $37,600
1899 Silver Dollars Minting Errors
Some 1899 silver dollars were produced with errors in their design. These coins are scarce and can fetch high prices at auction.
The most common minting errors you’ll see are:
- Micro-O— where the O mint mark is barely visible
- O/S— where the O mint mark was punched in upside-down
- S over S— where the S letter in “United States” overlaps with another S from a previous coin
- Double die— where parts of the design appear doubled
Other errors include missing rims, misaligned mint marks, and damage from impurities in the silver. If you find an 1899 silver dollar with one of these errors, be prepared to spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on it.
FAQs about 1899 Silver Dollars
Can I still spend 1899 silver dollars?
No, these coins are no longer in circulation and are considered collectibles. Technically they are still legal tender, but good luck finding someone willing to accept them. And anyway, f you have any old silver dollars in your possession, they may be worth quite a bit of money, so it’s better to keep them.
Are 1899 silver dollars rare?
Some 1899 silver dollar types are more common than others, with prices varying based on scarcity and condition.
How can I tell if my silver dollar is authentic?
There are several ways to determine whether your 1899 silver dollar is real or fake. Weight it to ensure that it’s made of the correct amount of silver, check for marks or engravings that shouldn’t be there, and use a magnet to see if the metal is genuine silver. If you need more clarification on its authenticity, take your coin to a reputable appraiser or dealer.
1899 silver dollars come from a fascinating period in American history and are a popular collectible item today. Experienced and beginner collectors will find something to entice and excite them in the wide range of silver dollars minted over a century ago.
Whether you’re looking for your first 1899 silver dollar or want to add to an established collection, there is something for you. With their unique history and growing popularity as an investment opportunity, there’s never been a better time to start collecting 1899 silver dollars.