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Coin Book Reviews: A Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars by Q David Powers

Mar 25, 2008
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 appeal and challenges of collecting Morgan Dollars and a few tidbits about the history of the Morgan Dollar. While only 5 and 1/2 pages long, the first chapter is filled with interesting facts. As you enter chapter two, the book goes back a ways and discussed the history of dollar coins in general going back to the Spanish Milled Dollars, then the Mint Act of 1792 and how US coinage began. There are several paragraphs discussing the early dollar coins, there popularity, or lack thereof, and how the dollar was eliminated and replaced with the Trade Dollar.

The book does a very decent job of describing the events that were happening during this time period such as the troubling times for silver companies and the political involvement to help them out that eventually led to the Morgan Dollar. Chapters 3 and 4 are packed with excellent information on the design process for the Morgan Dollar and them 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 a little bit of history about each of the mints.

Chapter 6 discusses the various hoards of silver dollars discovered long after the demise of the dollar. Some once thought scare 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 are at all familiar with Morgan Dollars, then you know that there is a multitude of ways to collect this coveted coin. Chapter 7 will give you many ideas to help you narrow down the way you may want to collect this series

Chapter 8 discusses grading and the ANA grading scale. If you are familiar with the scales, then there is not much new here. Also, this is also where I think the book could stand some improvement. There are pictures providing examples for each grade, but like most, if not all books about grading, there are only descriptions for MS60 and above. I would have liked to see large pictures for each MS grade. This would give collectors a clear indication of the impact of bag marks in regards to grading.

Chapter 9 discusses the many varieties within the Morgan series while Chapter 10 is where the real meat of the book is. Chapter 10 contains a page for each and every year and mint of the entire Morgan Dollar series. Each page contains information on keys to collecting, circulation strikes, prooflike coins, price guide, availability guide, mintage and distribution and varieties. Each page is jam-packed with information very specific to each date and mint. In addition, there is a summary for each year that discussed things going on at the time and other general information about Morgan Dollars for that year. This type of information no doubt took years to gather and is invaluable to the serious Morgan Dollar collector.

Chapter 10 is buy far the longest and provides incredible detail for each and every year and mint of the Morgan series. There is one page for each date/mint that provides information such as optimal collecting grade, PCGS population (although outdated as more coins become certified), estimated field population, total mintages, varieties, etc. In addition, there is a page for each year that discusses collecting and how life was during that particular year. In all, chapter 10 is for the series Morgan Dollar collector.

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

This book gets 4 1/2 stars.

If this book had blown up pictures of Mint State type coins, it would have rated a 5. Since the Morgan Dollar is most desired in Mint State, it puzzles me as to why graded pictures are not provided.
About the Author
Keith Scott has been a collector for over 30 years. His website has Coin Book Reviews. He also writes Coin Collecting Articles for fun. Visit his websites for a history of US coins, metal market updates and news about your favorite coins.
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