How to grade Morgan Silver Dollars using photos as reference points.
Coin grading is and always has been largely a matter of opinion. While there are fairly accurate guidelines detailing the standard practices for grading, the process as a whole is subjective. It’s often stated that art is subjective, meaning different people see and appreciate different aspects of a painting or photo. The same is true when it comes to coin grading. Graders apply the basic rules set forth by the Numismatic Community and Grading Associations. Each grader will also make small adjustments based on the overall look and visual “feel” of the coin. On top of all this, grading standards change over time. Meaning a coin graded 30 years ago may likely have a slightly better or worse grade if reevaluated today in 2023.
Click the coin to enlarge and learn more about how to grade a Morgan Silver Dollar.
Coins have no wear. Lower mint states have bag marks or weak strike areas. Highest mint states without any marks and near perfect luster.
Visible wear is what primarily distinguishes AU coins from Ms ones. A large percentage of Luster will be present.
Highest points of the coin have noticeable but light wear.
Moderate to light wear on many portions of the coin. Highest peaks all but removed. Stars and letters wearing down.
Modest to substantial wear. Overall design with some details. Very little hair. Edge wearing down.
Extremely well worn. Higher portions of the coin are missing. Very few details are left. The eye is likely missing altogether.
The name sort of says it all. AG or Almost or About Good. It's not in very good condition. Just close to good. Very few details present other than major outlines.
The Morgan Dollar is a large and heavy 90% silver coin with reeded edges. They were minted and placed in large cloth bags containing up to a thousand coins for easy transportation. Coins with reeded edges tend to be sharper and more destructive than those with a smooth edge. Because of this Morgans have more significant “bag marks”. Silver has a mohs hardness rating of somewhere between 2.5-3, much softer than Nickel which is a 4, meaning silver coins in general will have more blemishes. That being said, here is what to look for when grading Morgan Silver Dollars.