Book Reviews

Coin Book Reviews – A Guide to Morgan Silver Dollars by Q David Powers

The 2nd edition of “A Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars, A complete History and Price Guide” was released in paperback form on March 31, 2005.

The first chapter discussed the lure and challenges of collecting Morgan Dollars and some tidbits about the history of the Morgan Dollar. While only 5 and 1/2 pages long, the first chapter is filled with interesting facts. When you enter chapter two, the book goes back and covers the history of dollar coins in general, going back to the Spanish milled dollars, then the Mint Act of 1792 and the beginnings of American coinage. Several paragraphs discuss the first dollar coins, their popularity or lack thereof, and how the dollar was phased out and replaced by the trade dollar.

The book does a very decent job of describing the events that occurred during this period, such as the troubling times for silver corporations and the political involvement to help them that ultimately led to the Morgan dollar. Chapters 3 and 4 are packed with great information about the Morgan dollar design process and the minting process. For a new collector, this is very good information.

Chapter 5 discusses the five, yes five different mints that produced Morgan Dollars, although the Denver Mint only produced Morgan Dollars for one year, the year 1921. Chapter Five also gives some background. history on each of the currencies.

Chapter 6 discusses the various hoards of silver dollars discovered long after the dollar’s demise. Some once thought the alarming dates were now plentiful as the US Treasury began releasing and selling silver dollars held in vaults for years.

Chapter 7 delves into the variety of ways you can collect Morgan dollars. If you’re somewhat familiar with Morgan Dollars, then you know there are tons of ways to collect this coveted coin. Chapter 7 will give you many ideas to help you refine how you might want to collect this series

Chapter 8 discusses the ANA grading and grading scale. If you’re familiar with scales, there’s not much new here. Additionally, this is also where I think the book could be improved. There are pictures providing examples for each level, but like most if not all grading books, there are only descriptions for MS60 and above. I would have liked to see large photos for each grade of MS. This would give collectors a clear indication of the impact of the marks on the bags with respect to grading.

Chapter 9 deals with the many varieties of the Morgan series while Chapter 10 is where the real meat of the book is. Chapter 10 contains a page for each year and mint of the entire Morgan Dollar series. Each page contains information on Collection Keys, Circulation Strikes, Coins, Price Guide, Availability Guide, Mintage & Distribution, and Varieties. Each page is packed with very specific information about each date and mint. Additionally, there is a summary for each year that discusses things happening at the time and other general Morgan dollar information for that year. This type of information has undoubtedly taken years to gather and is invaluable to the serious Morgan Dollar collector.

Chapter 10 is by far the longest and provides incredible detail for every year and every year in the Morgan series. There is a page for each date/workshop which provides information such as optimal collection quality, PCGS population (although obsolete as more coins are certified), estimated field population, total draws, varieties, etc. Additionally, there is a page for each year that deals with collecting and living in that particular year. All in all, Chapter 10 is for the Morgan Dollar collector series.

In summary, if you are a Morgan Dollar series collector, or just a beginner, this is a must read book. The information provided in this book is incredible and provides the collector with incredible insight into collecting one of the most popular coins collected today.

This book gets 4 1/2 stars.

If this book had blasted images of Mint State type coins, it would have gotten a rating of 5. Given that the Morgan dollar is the most sought after in Mint State, it baffles me as to why the Graduated images are not provided.

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