Getting Started

Morgan Dollar Collecting

One of the most popular coins ever created is called the Morgan Dollar.  The coin is named for George Morgan who came to America from England to design coins for us.  He was already a well known designer before arriving in the United States in 1876.

After arriving in America he was asked to design a new silver dollar.  After several tries he created a design that is now considered to be the best coin ever made for use in our Country.  Many people believe that the daughter of a friend, Anna Williams.

The back of the coin has a picture of an eagle that some people liked and others thought looked more like a turkey because of the long neck.  But in time it came to be accepted as an eagle.


Most coins have things on them that have some special meaning for our Country, and the Morgan Dollar has many of them.


You can get an explanation of these by holding your cursor over the various parts of the coin pictures on the right.


Morgan Dollar Front (Obverse)

Morgan Dollar Back (Reverse)

Lots of Errors

Where to Find Them

Can You Find These 3 Error Coins?

A lot of the fun in collecting Morgan Dollars is finding all the errors.  Because Morgan Dollars were hard to make, mistakes were made many times and in many ways.  It is easy to find errors in the coins once you know what to look for on the coin.


The easiest place to find these errors may be on eBay where there are lots of coins.  But you will learn a lot more if you can go to a coin show and actually hold the coin while looking for the error.


If you do decide to look on eBay get help from a parent and do not try to do it alone.


Here are three 1881-O examples you can look for to learn about Morgan Dollar mistakes.


If you can find these three then you can find a lot of others!



1881-O "Flaky Eye"

When they were making the Morgan Dollars a few of the coins were damaged around the eye and nose just in front of the eye.  It looks like some metal got on the coin die when it was pressing out the coin.


This one is easy to recognize because you only need to look for the messed up eye.  But be careful because as coins were used it was easy for this same area to get scratched.  Looking at all of our examples will help you find this one.


If you want to see how this looks as the coin gets used click here.  You can also see a lot of examples of the coin by clicking here.


1881-O "O/O Right, Doubled 1"

Some of the errors on this coin are a little harder to find, but we found a trick that will help you.  The important part of the error is inside the mint mark on the reverse.  Inside the mint mark there are a bunch of lines that go across it.


Then look at the front of the coin.  The second 1 in the date should have a notch on the right side that was caused when someone got careless and punched the 1 twice.


But the little trick we found to find this coin is in Liberty's hair curls that are way down by her neck.  This is the only 1881-O coin where the hair looks a little bit like the "Lock Ness Monster."  If you see those curls then look for the other errors on the coin.


Be careful because on some coins the hair is almost this way, just not the quite the same.  Other coins have stuff in the mint mark, and lots of them have doubled 1s.  So look for all three things.


You can also see a lot of examples of the coin by clicking here.


1881-O "Double Ear"

Somehow when they were making the die for this coin they really messed up and doubled the back of the ear on Liberty's head.  This error is hard to find and you probably should look for it after you have some experience.


You need to be careful with this one because a lot coins on eBay look like they have this error, but it is just bad pictures and not really the doubled ear.


You can also see several examples of the coin by clicking here and you should study them to be sure you are looking  for just the right error.