By Richard Giedroyc
What should I look for on an uncirculated Peace dollar?
It may be easier to grade the reverse first. Watch for modest wear on the neck, shoulder and wing feathers. Strike weakness will be visible on the central wing feathers and should be differentiated from wear. On the obverse watch for wear on the cheek and highest points of the hair.
Is there a difference in what I should look for when grading High Relief versus Low Relief Peace dollars?
The wear points are the same on both varieties, both varieties of just about all dates are notoriously weakly struck.
Is strike quality important on the copper-nickel Eisenhower dollars?
Strike is very important since many of the business strikes lack detail. Areas of the obverse known for being incompletely struck include the hair above the ear and top of the head, the eyebrow, cheekbone and jaw line. The ear, nose and chin can also be a problem. On the reverse the branch, lettering, and moon may be incompletely struck. On the reverse of the Bicentennial dollars the upper and lower bell lines, details of the moon, and lettering between the upper lines are notorious for being poorly defined.
Is the strike quality any different on the silver from the copper-nickel Eisenhower dollars?
The quality of the strike is typically superior on the silver coins. The luster and eye appeal is also typically better as well.
How can I tell the difference between the 1921 Morgan dollar Chapman and Zerbe proofs?
The Zerbe proofs lack the frosted devices and lettering of the Chapman proofs. The Zerbe proofs experienced heavy die polish that resulted in an inferior mirrored field to that of the Chapman examples as well.
In general, from which of the many mints that struck Morgan silver dollars are the better quality coins available?
Well-struck silver dollars are available from each of the mints, however the poorest quality strikes can be credited to the mint at New Orleans, while the best strikes overall originated at San Francisco. The quality of the coins of each year from each mint should be judged separately rather than under the assumption New Orleans never made quality silver dollars or that San Francisco’s silver dollars were consistently the best.
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