Where is the mint mark on a 1880 silver dollar? The 1880 silver dollar is a popular coin for collectors looking to add valuable Morgan silver dollars to their collections. Naturally, one of the first questions when examining any coin is locating the mint mark to identify where the coin was struck.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: the mint mark on 1880 silver dollars is found on the reverse (tails side) of the coin, near the bottom under the eagle and above the letter D in “DOLLAR”.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about finding the mint mark on 1880 Morgan silver dollars, including:

Key locations to check for mint marks, images showing mint mark locations, identifying rare variant coins missing mint marks, and tips for storage and preserving your 1880 coins.

What is a Mint Mark?

A mint mark is a small letter or symbol that is stamped onto a coin to indicate at which United States mint the coin was manufactured. Mint marks have been used on U.S. coins since the early 1800s as a form of quality control and source verification.

There are currently four active mint facilities in the U.S. that produce coins for general circulation:

  • Philadelphia (P) – No mint mark
  • Denver (D)
  • San Francisco (S)
  • West Point (W)

In the past, other mints such as Carson City, Charlotte, Dahlonega, and New Orleans were also in operation at various times and marked their coins accordingly. Looking at a coin’s mint mark can provide information about when and where it was made.

Purpose of Mint Marks

Mint marks serve several key purposes:

  • Quality Control: If issues arose with a certain batch of coins, the mint could be identified by the mark and held accountable.
  • Collectibility: For coin collectors and numismatists, mint marks are an important factor in determining a coin’s rarity and value.
  • Identifying Counterfeits: Fakers may not accurately replicate the proper mint mark, helping authenticate genuine coins.

When Mint Marks Began

The first mint marks appeared on U.S. coinage in the late 1700s, with the letters C, CC, D, and O used to denote branch mints at Charlotte, Carson City, Dahlonega, and New Orleans. However, it was not until the mid-1800s that mint marks became more standardized and widely used.

As the U.S. expanded westward, new mints were built to keep up with coin demand. The “CC” mint mark for Carson City appeared in 1870, the “S” for San Francisco began in 1968, and the “W” for West Point debuted in 1984.

Exception – Coins Struck at Philadelphia

An exception to the mint mark practice is that coins struck at the Philadelphia Mint generally do not carry a letter designation. As the first and main U.S. coin facility for many decades, Philadelphia did not need a special mark.

This changed temporarily from 1980-2008 when “P” mint marks were added to coins struck in Philadelphia. But since then, the standard has returned to no mint marks on Philly coins.

So when looking for the mint mark on a coin and not finding one, it likely originates from Philadelphia.

Where to Find the Mint Mark on Morgan Silver Dollars

Tail Feathers Below the Eagle

One of the best places to look for the mint mark on Morgan silver dollars is below the eagle’s tail feathers on the reverse of the coin. Under the eagle’s arrow tips and above the writing “ONE DOLLAR,” you’ll often see a small letter indicating the coin’s mint of origin.

For example, coins struck at the Philadelphia Mint generally have no mint mark, while those from Carson City feature a tiny “CC” in that location.

Checking this spot below the eagle is a quick and easy way to identify where your Morgan dollar was minted. Sometimes the mark can be quite faint or partially obscured by wear, so you may need good lighting and a magnifying glass.

But this remains the most common mint mark position used on these classic silver cartwheels.

Above the O in Dollar

In 1878 and 1879 only, the mint relocated the mark to a spot above the letter O in the word “DOLLAR” on the reverse. This short-lived style can be challenging to locate, as the letter is microscopic. You’ll need a strong magnifier to read the M, S, CC, C, or blank/O mint stamps found there on early Morgans.

Grading services like PCGS often insert an arrow by these tiny initials on coin slabs so collectors can identify them more easily.

Finding one of these special 1879 dollars with the mint mark over the O is a great treasure hunt for silver dollar enthusiasts. The tiny CC indicates the coin is an exceptionally rare Carson City issue worth over $10,000 in circulated grades.

So be sure to check that spot carefully if you have an early date Philadelphia, San Francisco, New Orleans, or Carson City Morgan.

Identifying Coins Missing Mint Marks

1879-CC Morgan Dollars Without Mint Marks

The 1879-CC Morgan silver dollar was minted at the Carson City mint in Nevada. This mint is famous for not putting mint marks on some of its coins, including the 1879-CC Morgan dollars. Without the tell-tale “CC” mint mark, identifying these coins can be tricky.

According to the numismatic website Greysheet.com, approximately 12,000 of the original 1879-CC mintage of 350,000 coins were released without a mint mark. This was likely an accident or oversight at the mint.

So how do you identify one of these rare and valuable mint mark-less 1879-CC dollars? Here are some tips from the experts:

  • Examine the coin closely under magnification for traces of a mint mark – sometimes a very faint “CC” is still visible
  • Study the coin’s luster and compare it to other 1879 Morgan dollars – the 1879-CC has a distinct satiny look
  • Weigh the coin – the 1879-CC dollars are slightly heavier than other Morgans
  • Use atomic spectroscopy or X-ray fluorescence tests to analyze the silver content – the 1879-CC coins have unique impurities compared to other mints

Properly identifying one of these elusive mint mark-less coins can mean the difference between a coin worth face value and one worth over $10,000! It takes a keen eye and solid knowledge of minting characteristics.

1880-O Morgan Dollars Without Mint Marks

Like the Carson City mint, the New Orleans mint was also known to release coins missing their “O” mint mark in 1880, including Morgan silver dollars.

According to Heritage Auction records, only 880 examples of the 1880-O Morgan silver dollars from a total of 5,305,000 coin mintage were released without a mint mark. Interestingly, all of the identified examples have been discovered in one numismatic hoard found in a basement in Tennessee in the early 1960s.

So how do you determine if an 1880 Morgan dollar was minted in New Orleans without the mint mark?

Date digit size/shape New Orleans coins have a distinctively curved “8” digit and smaller “0” digit in the date compared to Philadelphia and San Francisco Morgans.
Weight differences New Orleans Morgans are slightly heavier due to trace metals in the locally sourced silver.
Silver content


Atomic spectroscopy can identify unique impurities in the silver from the different mints.

As you can see numismatic forensics gets quite interesting with these tricky missing mint mark coins! Using science, old records, and a sharp eye for subtle differences allows properly attributing these rare dollars.

Tips for Storage and Preservation

Paper Envelopes

Storing an 1880 silver dollar in a paper envelope is one of the most affordable and convenient options. However, paper envelopes provide minimal protection and do not guard against environmental factors that can damage coins over time.

For short-term storage needs, paper envelopes work well, but for long-term preservation, upgraded storage solutions are recommended.

2×2 Cardboard Holders

2×2 cardboard holders offer more protection compared to paper envelopes. The rigid cardboard material protects the surfaces of coins from scratches or dings during handling or storage. Key benefits of 2×2 cardboard holders include:

  • Low cost at around $0.10 per holder
  • Standard size makes storage uniform and space-efficient
  • The clear plastic centre allows viewing coin details without direct handling

While 2×2 cardboard holders are an economical choice, they still allow environmental risks over many years. For serious collectors invested in preservation, album storage is superior.


Archival-quality coin albums provide professional-level protection and longevity. Key traits of top-shelf albums include:

  • Inert plastic pages guard against moisture and gases
  • Felt cavities prevent surface contact and abrasions
  • Tamper-proof enclosures maintain their original condition
  Paper Envelopes 2×2 Cardboard Holders Albums
Affordability High Medium Low
Protection Level Low Medium High
Longevity Low (less than 5 years) Medium (5-10 years) High (decades)

For collectors seeking to preserve 1880 silver dollars for generations, archival albums provide optimal conditions for maximizing longevity and maintaining pristine condition over decades. Reputable manufacturers like Lighthouse create museum-grade products that meet conservation standards.

Where Is The Mint Mark On A 1880 Silver Dollar – Conclusion

As you have learned, identifying the mint mark on 1880 Morgan silver dollars involves carefully inspecting the reverse of the coin near the eagle’s tail feathers and above the letter O in “ONE DOLLAR”. While most coins clearly show their mint, a few rare variant issues lacking mint marks require extra scrutiny to evaluate properly.

Armed with the knowledge in this guide, you can now confidently locate mint marks on 1880 silver dollars and preserve your coins for long-term storage. This will help ensure you don’t accidentally overlook a rare and valuable mint mark variety when building your Morgan Dollar collection.

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