My Morgan Collection Part 20 (1902-S - 1904)
We’re winding down here but the 20th century Morgans offer a lot of surprisingly challenging dates.
The 1902-S is reasonably expensive but they are usually nice-looking coins, It’s easier to find a good one than the rest of the S mints after 1897. PL coins are extremely tough though and there is but a single DMPL at PCGS. I have never seen a nicely toned one in person but CoinFacts does show one example that would command a substantial premium. Mine has a little bit of toning near the rims attesting to it’s originality.
1902-S MS65 CAC
1903 is not really common but still fairly easy to locate. Like most dates in this range, PLs are tough, DMPLs are very rare and nicely toned ones are extremely difficult. However, the coins come flashy and very well struck so as a 20th century type coin, 1903 would be a great choice. My coin is hammered and the obverse is nearly perfect. There is some discoloration on the reverse. It doesn’t really bother me but I think it held the grade back. It isn’t haze and I’m not sure if it’s toning that could be dipped out, but if that patch were bright white I think it would grade 67 or better.
1903 MS66 CAC
You may know the story of the 1903-O. Up until 1962, the 03-O was THE key date in the Morgan series ahead of the 93-S and 95 Proof. An Unc example (of which there were perhaps 10 known) would have cost $1500, a huge sum at the time. Since then perhaps a hundred (or more) bags were discovered and prices plummeted overnight. Now the 03-O is still a curiosity and essentially a high-priced slightly better date coin, like an 81-CC. Similarly, it has a flat pricing curve since it is hardly ever encountered in circulated grades. The population isn’t much different than the 1903 in MS but it is twice as expensive in grades up through MS66. Like the other New Orleans Morgans from 1898-1904 the coins are flashy and generally well struck. Finding a nice example is easy but a mirrored coin is definitely a challenge. Despite a huge hoard sitting in treasury vaults for 59 years, I have never personally seen a beautifully toned one (though there is one on CoinFacts that looks decent). Mine is clean and flashy but has virtually no contrast (as is typical).
1903-S is a semi-key that no one ever talks about. It has a similar (but slightly cheaper) price curve as a 79-CC despite roughly equal circulated pops and about 1/3rd as many graded MS examples. CoinFacts estimated totals indicate there must be a large ungraded population, which I don’t really believe. You will encounter far fewer 03-S Morgans in all grades relative to a 79-CC. It is harder to find a nice circulated example than the semi-key mid-90s Morgans although not as tough in higher MS grades. It goes without saying that mirrored or toned examples are exceptionally rare. I may one day go for an upgrade but I love the look of my VF35. Of all of my Morgans in this grade range I think this is the most original.
1904 is a surprisingly tough Philly coin. They do not come nearly as nice as 1903, on average. I think there is just less interest in these later dates as there are quite a few sleepers in this range. There are a handful of mirrored examples but toned coins are extremely rare. Mine has about as much color as I’ve found. It has a great look that’s unlike any other Morgan I own.
1904 MS64+ CAC
As always, please post comments, questions, Morgans of your own from this range, or perhaps any sort of summary requests for the last installment!