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Morgan, Peace Dollar Prices Surge

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In my December 2020 column about the forthcoming 2021 Morgan and Peace silver dollars, I warned to expect rising prices on the circulated common-date issues of these series.

That has already happened.

In mid-January 2020, with the silver spot price about $18, the company where I work was offering 1,000-coin bags of Very Good or better Peace dollars at $16,350. Today, with the silver spot price more than 40 percent higher than then, you would have difficulty even finding that quantity of coins. If you could locate them, you would probably have to pay at least $28,000 (up more than 70 percent in the past year).

This jump in price is occurring as wholesalers seek to supply large quantities to marketing companies for forthcoming sales campaigns tied in with the release of the 2021-dated coins. As these marketing campaigns run their course later this year, the demand is likely to dwindle most of the way back down to where it was a year or so ago.

Given that the current price surge is almost certain to be temporary, I have three suggested actions to consider:

  1. Do not purchase common-date circulated Morgan and Peace dollars right now. A year or so from now, we expect the premium on circulated common-date Morgan and Peace Silver dollars to be much lower.
  2. Beyond avoiding the purchase of common-date circulated Morgan and Peace dollars right now, it may actually be a good time to sell what you may already own. We would not suggest selling immediately as it is possible the prices could be even higher in the next month or so. But at least keep tabs on the market.
  3. If you have an interest in owning some older Morgan and Peace dollars, consider acquiring the higher grade common-date coins in Choice Mint State-63 and higher grades or the affordable scarcer issues in nice Mint State grades. These prices have not increased from where they have been for the past several months. However, we expect that prices will be rising once the 2021-dated Morgan and Peace silver dollars are released (the U.S. Mint has not yet listed an expected issue date on its website).

While these commemorative silver dollars are almost certain to spark new interest in collecting coins and paper money, they would tend to have less long-term impact as a program that includes more coins and runs multiple years. But, guess what, this more extensive new coinage program is exactly what is going to happen!

Two weeks ago, former President Trump signed HR 1923 into law, an act called the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020. Under this new law, U.S. coinage designs will include these changes:

  • From 2022 through 2025, five different quarters per year will be issued featuring individual “prominent American women.”
  • In 2026, the U.S. Mint may change the designs of any circulating coins in celebration of the U.S. semiquincentennial (250th anniversary of independence). This includes up to five different designs on the quarter, and includes the dollar coin.
  • Beginning in 2027, coin designs other than for the quarter and half dollar shall revert to what they were in 2025.
  • Beginning in 2027, the quarters will incorporate a new George Washington obverse. The reverses will feature individual sports played by American youth, up to five different each year. The half dollar obverse will have a different John Kennedy portrait. The reverses (a different one each year) will honor an athletic sport for those with disabilities. Both of these series will continue through 2030.
  • The U.S. Mint will be authorized to issue medals corresponding to each sport depicted on coins.
  • After 2030, the same or similar obverses will be used on the quarters and half dollars, but each will get a new reverse.
  • The U.S. Mint is authorized to issue medals, including gold and silver pieces, for the 2028 Summer Olympic Games to be held in Los Angeles, Calif.
  • The U.S. Mint is authorized to continue to issue bullion .999 fine silver 5-ounce silver coins in conjunction with the releases of the new reverses on both the quarters and half dollars. Further, the Mint will be allowed to issue “fractional” silver bullion coinage of sizes, weights, fineness and denominations “that the Secretary [of the Treasury] determines to be appropriate.”

In plain English, the look of change carried in our pockets this decade is about to become more interesting. Similar to what happened with the introduction of the Statehood Quarter series in 1999, I expect a significant surge in the number of numismatists and in the demand for older U.S. coins and paper money.

Patrick A. Heller was honored as a 2019 FUN Numismatic Ambassador. He is also the recipient of the American Numismatic Association 2018 Glenn Smedley Memorial Service Award, 2017 Exemplary Service Award, 2012 Harry Forman National Dealer of the Year Award and 2008 Presidential Award. Over the years, he has also been honored by the Numismatic Literary Guild (including twice in 2020), Professional Numismatists Guild, Industry Council for Tangible Assets and the Michigan State Numismatic Society. He is the communications officer of Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Mich., and writes Liberty’s Outlook, a monthly newsletter on rare coins and precious metals subjects. Past newsletter issues can be viewed at www.libertycoinservice.com. Some of his radio commentaries titled “Things You ‘Know’ That Just Aren’t So, And Important News You Need To Know” can be heard at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday and Friday mornings on 1320-AM WILS in Lansing (which streams live and becomes part of the audio archives posted at www.1320wils.com).