Silver Dollar Blog Posts - May 2012
What is a mispositioned mint mark?
The mint mark is positioned approximately between the D and the O above the word dollar and the bottom of the wreath. I added a white box to help see what exactly that means. Since the mint marks were punched by hand you can find their positioning to be just a bit off sometimes.Just like I added that box around the CC so it could be slightly off as well, but very close! The two common words you will see a lot when talking about mispositioned dates would be:
1. Shifted - If the mint mark is shifted it could be shifted to the left, right, low or high. It still could be in that box, but shifted away from the exact center of it.
2. tilted - to the left or right or sometimes you will see it referred to as rotated to the left or right same thing.
With those two you can get some crazy combinations. For instance you can have the O set high and tilted right or the O shifted right but tilted or rotated left.
You will also find mispositioned dates since they were also punched by hand. You can find those dates left, right down or up and slanted as well, but the most obvious one would be the left or right. The position of the dates can vary where they sit for different years plus changes were made like the date getting smaller in 1884 which would have changed the exact positioned as well.
O.K. Morgan Dollar fans! How about this one your very own Morgan Dollar White T-Shirt by Cafe Press! It only comes in white, but they offer many different sizes in white! Prices range from $25.25 - $28.25!
There is large image of the 1885 Morgan Silver Dollar on the front and the reverse of that coin on the back of the shirt. The picture on the back is a little bit smaller then the picture on the front! Great conversation starter. Want to meet someone else interested in Morgan Dollar's just put this shirt on and walk down the street. For sure you will strike up a conversation! This shirt is fun for collectors and non-collectors!
Regular list price is between $32.50-$35.50, but today it's on sale between $25.25-$28.35!
I scanned this picture from The Comprehensive Catalogue and Encyclopedia of U.S. Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars by Leroy Van Allen and A. George Mallis. I think it's an excellent example of how a piece of fine silver makes it's way to becoming a counted, weighed bag full of Morgan Dollar's ready for circulation!
Let's start at the beginning first they didn't just use silver from the mines they also re-used silver that had already been through the process. Any extra clips or condemned coins that didn't make the cut were thrown back into the melting pot. 900 parts per thousand of silver was mixed with 100 parts per thousand of copper in the melting pot. The hot melted combination of silver and copper were poured into a cast to produce ingots. Assay samples were taken at this point to ensure proper fineness tolerance.
The result is a nicely shaped perfectly proportioned ingot. Now it was time to send that ingot to the rollers so you could punch out the blank planchets. As the the blank planchets went over the sieve any clippings or off-sized planchets were sent back to the the beginning stages to be re-melted. Even back then they were doing a good job at recycling!
Time for to bring on the heat! The planchets were then annealed at about 1100*F. Annealed means to heat and allow to slowly cool this process will remove internal stresses and toughen the planchet. Once polished and lean they were now treated as money. Every department is held accountable at this stage for how many planchets they received and sent to the next step.
We're almost holding a Morgan dollar.... Time to work on the raised edges on the rim, weigh inspect and off to be struck. Once there were a 1,000 coins in the bag they were done! The scales they used through out the process are extremely sensitive. This last one could detect if there was plus one or minus one coin. There had to be exactly 1,000 silver dollars in the bag!
1887 Silver Dollar
Mintage Circulation strikes: 20,290,000
There is no mint mark on the coin which means it was minted in Philadelphia.
1887-S Silver Dollar
Mintage Circulation Strikes: 1,771,000
Minted in San Francisco– S
1887-O Silver Dollar
Mintage Circulation strikes: 11,550,000
Minted in New Orleans– O
Random Facts of 1887
First Official Groundhog Day On Feb. 2nd, 1887 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania of course.
First man to ride a bicycle around the world staring in San Francisco and ending there too.
Fort Keogh, Montana world's largest snowflakes are reported about 15 inches wide and 8 inches thick! Now that is one big snowflake!
The electoral count has been around since 1887 when congress created it to avoid any disputed national elections.
U.S. Senate approves a naval base lease of Pearl Harbor
At age 6 blind-deaf Helen Keller begins being instructed by teacher Anne Sullivan
Fishing rod of telescoping steel tubes is patented by Everett Horton
Earmuffs were patented this same year by Chester Greenwood of Maine
Barbed wire is patented by Rowell Hodge
Carlisle D. Graham makes yet another trip down the Niagara waterfall in a barrel. During his time he went down Niagara Falls 4 times in a barrel surviving them all.
Sherlock Holmes makes it's way to print in "Study in Scarlet"
Sir John Layton Jarvis, 1st British race horse trainer knighted
Up for sale at Amazon is a Harris 2x3 Morgan Dollar Holder. You might want to have your Morgan on display, but want to keep it safe from scratches and such. This Harris holder is designed just for that... coin display and long term storage. Just so you know even though the picture above has a Morgan Dollar inside this is just a holder.
Your rare Morgan's are probably tucked away in a nice safe place perhaps even a safe or nicely sealed in their PCGS case, but maybe you want a case that can open and close so you can take your coin out to share. Everyone has something special that sits on their desk perhaps a token from a loved ones or your kids. I have a couple treasurers from my kids and an 1899 New Orleans mint Morgan Dollar. It is not rare or valuable very worn, but the kids can look at it and I don't make them put on the white gloves first. It is just for the pure enjoyment I get when I see it or to feel the weight of silver in my hand.
So if you're like me and like to keep at least one Morgan out that so you can feel and touch. Perhaps you want just a bit more protection then sitting on your desk or the plastic bag it came in. This might be just what you're looking for!
There are three major steps when involved when producing Morgan silver dollars. You can find varieties of Morgan's in all three.
1. Fabrication of the planchets
Occluded Gas in Planchet - sometimes gas got trapped during the cast when they were struck later this gas would expand. You might also find a clipped planchet if you're lucky. The fact that planchets were separated by hand at the selecting table weighed, and inspected in so many other ways very few will be found in this category. A clipped planchet would happen when the punch overlaps as you're getting close to the end of the strip. Laminated Planchets are when grease or dust or something of that nature was in the silver strips. This would cause a lamination to form or a thin layer that could come off leaving a blank area on the coin.
2. Making of dies
You can find lots of Morgan errors in this category! In the early years of producing the Morgan they were still trying to perfect the die technology and the design. Also it's large size and sharp design detail made this an interesting die to create. A die error is an error on the die that ends up on the coin.. Could be from the engraver, die breaks and cracks, hub breaks and cracks, doubled dies, mispositioning either dates or mint mark. Doubling up on the dates or mint marks etc.
3. Striking of the coins
These errors happen when you strike the coins for instance when you strike double or struck through strikes. Struck through strikes that sounds confusing doesn't it. That is when something like a silver sliver falls on the reverse die or planchet when struck leaving a missing portion on the design. Kinda sounds like a lamination error, but you can tell the two apart because the one struck has a smooth feel to it plus a little detail can be see sometimes. The lamination error will feel a bit rougher and have no detail showing.
I only briefly touched on each category to give you a taste of what to look for. Each category has many more varieties in them that I didn't list today. You will find most of your varieties happened during the making of the die process. There was a lot of individual inspection going on so a lot of the planchet errors and striking errors would have been seen, but not all! The place you will find the most varieties is the die errors.