During 1888, the Morgan Silver Dollar series saw at least one major variety, and that was the 1888-O doubled die obverse coin. Though not a significantly priced rarity like some doubled dies are known to be, the 1888-O doubled die Morgan Silver Dollar definitely garners the interest of VAM (Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Mallis) followers and is often an inclusion in the more comprehensive Morgan Dollar coin sets. Though, as is the case with all non-regular-strike coins, an 1888-O doubled die obverse dollar is not a necessity to complete a basic Morgan Dollar date and mintmark set.
The 1888 Morgan Silver Dollar was produced in three mints: New Orleans, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. 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 1888, are rare which makes them expensive.
1888 Morgan Dollar Mintage Figures
- 1888: 19,183,000; $35+
- 1888-O: 12,150,000; $35+
- 1888-O Doubled Die Obverse: mintage included above; $50+
- 1888-S: 657,000; $220+
- 1888 Proof: 833; $3,000+
The 1888-S Morgan Dollar is the only real semi-key coin from the year, not counting the 1888 proof Morgan Dollar, which is not usually a coin that collectors include within date-and-mintmark sets. Given the growing prevalence of counterfeit silver dollars on the market, it is usually best to buy any of the scarcer coins as slabbed. Slabbed coins are coins that are placed in special holders and graded by various coin-grading companies to determine what condition the actual coin is in. After all, perhaps one of the most valuable things about coin collecting is the peace of mind you can enjoy about the authenticity of your coins.