The 1881 Morgan Silver Dollar was the first year for which there are relatively few die varieties. Those who closely follow the major VAM (Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Mallis) varieties may disagree that 1881 was a relatively quiet year for Morgan Silver Dollars, but for most collectors, that year represents few challenges for many who are assembling a date-and-mintmark run of the series.
The 1881 Morgan Silver Dollar was produced in four mints: Carson City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. The most valuable 1881 Morgan Silver Dollar carries the "CC" mintmark used by the Carson City Mint. It always carries a premium value because of very low production, making it the rarest 1881 Morgan Dollar. The New Orleans Mint used an "O" and the San Francisco Mint an "S”. The main mint in Philadelphia did not use a mintmark. Proof examples of Morgan Dollars from all years, including 1881, are rare which makes them expensive.
1881 Morgan Silver Dollar Mintage Figures
- 1881: 9,163,000; $35+
- 1881-CC: 296,000; $500+
- 1881-O: 5,708,000; $35+
- 1881-S: 12,760,000; $35+
- 1881 Proof: 984; $3,250+
The 1881-CC Morgan Silver Dollars have a much lower mintage than their branch mint counterparts. This is a good time to remind all Morgan Silver Dollar collectors, be they novices or seasoned enthusiasts, that all Carson City Mint Morgan Silver Dollars are quite scarce and are, collectively, among the most valuable and sought-after coins in the entire series. Morgan Silver Dollar value and much of the popularity of CC-mint silver dollars came to be in the 1970s, when the General Services Administration (GSA) sold off a large hoard of Carson City silver dollars. Today, Carson City Morgan Silver Dollars are generally divided into two categories: raw CC Morgan Silver Dollars and GSA Morgan Silver Dollars. The latter are those that are still in their 1970s GSA plastic holders, and usually command a premium above the prices listed in this article.