How much is the silver worth in a silver dollar?

The silver content in a standard silver dollar is worth between $13 to $16 in melt value as of November 2023, depending on silver spot prices at the time. This value does not take into account any numismatic or collector value that rare dates, mintmarks or condition could add.

What is a silver dollar?

A silver dollar is a one dollar coin produced by the United States Mint that is composed primarily of silver. Silver dollars were minted from 1794 to 1935. The two main types of silver dollars are Morgan dollars, minted from 1878 to 1904 and 1921, and Peace dollars, minted from 1921 to 1935.

Morgan dollars contain 0.77344 troy ounces of silver while Peace dollars contain 0.7734 troy ounces. These large silver coins have a diameter of 1.5 inches and a weight of 26.73 grams.

Silver content of a silver dollar

The silver content of a standard silver dollar is 0.7734 troy ounces for Peace dollars or 0.77344 troy ounces for Morgan dollars. This amount of silver is worth between $13 to $16 at current silver spot prices in the $16 to $21 per troy ounce range (November 2023).

Here is an overview of the silver content and melt values for common silver dollars:

Silver Dollar Type Silver Content Silver Weight Melt Value at $16/ozt Melt Value at $21/ozt
Peace Dollar 90% silver 0.7734 ozt $12.38 $16.24
Morgan Dollar 90% silver 0.77344 ozt $12.38 $16.24

As you can see, a common silver dollar contains approximately 3/4 of an ounce of pure silver. This silver content alone gives the coins a melt value around $12 to $16 if melted down strictly for the silver bullion value.

Calculating silver dollar melt value

Figuring the melt value of a silver dollar involves some simple math:

  1. Check the current silver spot price – This can be done online from sites like Kitco or Apmex. For example, if silver is $20 per troy ounce.
  2. Determine silver content in troy ounces – A Peace dollar contains 0.7734 ozt and a Morgan dollar 0.77344 ozt silver.
  3. Multiply silver price by silver weight – With silver at $20/ozt, a Peace dollar would contain $20 x 0.7734 = $15.47 of silver.

Doing this calculation with varying silver prices gives the following silver melt values:

Silver Price Peace Dollar Value Morgan Dollar Value
$16/ozt $12.38 $12.38
$18/ozt $13.92 $13.94
$20/ozt $15.47 $15.47
$22/ozt $17.01 $17.00
$24/ozt $18.56 $18.56

As you can see, the melt value of a silver dollar based solely on silver bullion content ranges between about $12 to $19 based on the current price of silver.

Factors that affect value

There are a few main factors that determine the value and worth of a silver dollar beyond just the silver melt value:

  • Silver spot price – The current market rate for an ounce of .999 pure silver.
  • Numismatic value – Collector value based on mintage, demand and availability for the date and mintmark.
  • Condition – The grade and state of preservation of the coin.
  • Rarity – Low mintage coins or keys dates are worth more.

For common silver dollars in circulated condition, the silver content makes up the majority of the value. But for rare uncirculated coins or low mintage key dates, numismatic collector value can far exceed the silver melt value.

Key date silver dollars

Certain rare dates, mintmarks and varieties of silver dollars command significant collector premiums. Here are some of the key dates to look for:

  • 1804 Draped Bust Dollar – One of the most famous rare coins; only 15 exist.
  • 1895 Morgan Dollar – Low mintage of only 12,000 business strikes.
  • 1895-O Morgan Dollar – Scarce New Orleans issue with a mintage of 450,000.
  • 1893-S Morgan Dollar – Low mintage of only 100,000 coins from the San Francisco mint.
  • 1927-D Peace Dollar – Lowest mintage in the series at just 361,667 coins.
  • 1871 and 1872 Carson City Silver Dollars – Early scarce CC mint Morgan Dollars.

These rare dates can be valued from the hundreds to the millions of dollars depending on the individual coin’s condition and demand from collectors.

Circulated silver dollar values

For well-circulated, common date silver dollars, the value is largely derived from the silver bullion content. However, there are still some premiums based on mintmarks and demand from coin collectors.

Silver Dollar Type Very Good Fine Extremely Fine
1921 Morgan Dollar $17 $20 $25
1922 Peace Dollar $17 $20 $22
1881-S Morgan Dollar $17 $18 $20
1934-S Peace Dollar $18 $20 $25

Circulated silver dollars that grade Very Good, Fine, or Extremely Fine are worth modest premiums over the silver melt value. Grading is subjective so professional appraisals from a coin dealer are recommended.

Uncirculated silver dollar values

For uncirculated silver dollars still in Mint State condition, the value reflects substantial premiums based on condition rarity. Here are some typical values:

Silver Dollar Type MS-60 MS-63 MS-65
1884 Morgan Dollar $65 $75 $125
1926-S Peace Dollar $60 $140 $600
1878 Morgan Dollar $80 $150 $350
1934-D Peace Dollar $70 $100 $450

Gem quality MS-65 or MS-66 graded silver dollars can sell for steep premiums even for common dates. But very few silver dollars still survive in pristine uncirculated condition.

Proof silver dollar values

Proof versions of Morgan and Peace dollars are very rare and valuable. Here are typical values:

Silver Dollar Type Proof-60 Proof-63 Proof-65
1889 Morgan Dollar $2,500 $3,750 $6,000
1921 Peace Dollar $2,750 $3,500 $5,000
1878 8TF Morgan Dollar $4,000 $7,500 $10,000
1936 Peace Dollar $3,000 $5,500 $9,000

Only a few proof Morgan and Peace dollars exist, making them highly coveted by collectors. Even grades like Proof-60 or Proof-63 can be valued in the thousands.

Condition impacts collector value

When it comes to rare and uncirculated silver dollars, the condition greatly impacts the collector value. Some guidelines for important grading terms:

  • About Uncirculated (AU) – Light wear but still very collectible
  • Extremely Fine (EF) – More worn but all major details visible
  • Very Fine (VF) – Well-circulated and worn
  • Fine (F) – Heavy circulation and wear
  • Very Good (VG) – Outlined designs but flat details
  • Mint State (MS) – Uncirculated and unworn condition
  • Proof – Special early strikes with mirrored surfaces

With uncirculated and proof coins, the exact Mint State or Proof grade also impacts value. In general, MS-60 or Proof-60 coins are the lowest collectible grade while MS/PR-70 is perfect.

Finding silver dollar values

Finding the accurate market value of silver dollars involves accessing numismatic coin price guides. Some popular options include:

  • PCGS Price Guide – Values for all US coins certified by PCGS.
  • NGC Coin Explorer – Price guide for coins certified by NGC.
  • – Calculates silver dollar melt values based on silver spot.
  • Greysheet – Coin Dealer newsletter with wholesale values.
  • Red Book – The most popular printed coin price guide.

Online auction records are another excellent way to determine real-time values of rare and graded silver dollars. Lookup recent sales on eBay and Heritage Auctions for a good representation of what collectors are currently paying.

Selling silver dollars

Those interested in selling silver dollars have several options:

  • Local coin dealer – Most buy silver coins and currency for cash based on weight and precious metal content.
  • National coin dealers – Larger dealers buy and sell silver dollars nationwide.
  • eBay auctions – Common dates can be sold directly to collectors.
  • Coin conventions – Big events to buy/sell coins in person.
  • Precious metal buyers – Some bullion dealers buy silver coins solely for metal content.

Maximizing value can require having rare or graded coins certified by NGC or PCGS. Consult a professional numismatist for help selling rare date silver dollars.

Silver dollar highlights

Here are some quick highlight points when it comes to the value and worth of silver dollars:

  • Circulated silver dollars are worth a base silver melt value of $12 to $16.
  • Uncirculated dollars trade for higher premiums based on condition and rarity.
  • Graded coins certified by PCGS/NGC trade for much higher premiums.
  • Key dates like 1895 Morgan and 1893-S Morgan bring big premiums.
  • Peace dollars from the 1930s are worth slight premiums over melt value.
  • Proof silver dollars are worth thousands even in lower grades.


In summary, a silver dollar contains approximately 3/4 of an ounce of pure silver bullion. This gives the coins a base melt value around $12 to $16 depending on silver prices at the time. For common, well-circulated examples, this silver content makes up the bulk of the value along with modest numismatic premiums.

For uncirculated and proof silver dollars, condition rarity results in high collector premiums. Grades like MS-65 or Proof-63 can make a coin worth hundreds or thousands more than the silver value alone. Key dates and low mintage issues also command substantial premiums.

Those interested in buying, selling or collecting silver dollars should study price guides, auction records and certified coin grades to best determine the market value. Learning to accurately grade condition is also important.

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