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San Francisco Silver Dollar Hoard 1879-1882

5th National Silver Dollar Convention

St. Louis, Missouri

November 8 – 11, 1984



San Francisco Silver Dollar Hoard 1879-1882



As Blanchard & Company has become the largest dealer in U.S. silver dollars in the world, we are usually the first to be offered major hoards of U.S. uncirculated silver dollars which surface in the marketplace.  (For the sake of clarity, I define hoards as those rare occurrences where several original mint bags of silver dollars re-enter the marketplace from the original owner.)  Such discoveries are usually accompanied by fascinating stories.  Remember, anyone who put away original mint bags of silver dollars did so because of a gut feeling and his hard money hoards of silver dollars come out of the West for several reasons.

The Old West and U.S. Silver Dollars

The West was one of the few places where silver dollars circulated.  So, banks always kept large quantities of silver dollars on hand and some of the uncirculated silver dollars were kept as bank reserves and never reached the street.  In addition, the West has always been a haven for independent minded, individualistic hard money types who had little trust in the eastern banking establishment and even had a healthy disrespect for banks in general.  Many of these old time mavericks liked to have real money in their own personal possession.  Thus, from time to time, we’re lucky enough to come across one of these “old timer” hoards.  The stories are fascinating.  Here’s one I think you’ll enjoy.

U.S. Silver Dollar Hoard from a Hard Money Maverick

I got a call from a small banker in Nevada.  He told me he had a customer who was well up into his eighties that had an interest in selling us some of his silver dollars.  These calls are usually disappointing because the coins almost always turn out to be scruffy, circulated coins which we do not recommend as a long-term investment.

In this case I was pleasantly surprised.  Not only were the coins uncirculated, but they were beautiful, original bags of the earliest San Francisco dated Morgan dollars – as you know one of my favorites.  The story behind them is even more interesting.  Apparently, this banker’s customer was a hard money man who mistrusted paper money.  He sent agents to stand in line at the U.S. Treasury in the early 1960s, when silver dollars were sold for $1 each.  Because he was from the West himself, he particularly liked the San Francisco and Carson City dollars and would give a quick $50 profit to those standing in line who had the early San Francisco minted dollars, which of course, are the “real beauties.”  Early in the 1960s, before anyone thought that silver itself would one day be an excellent investment, much less silver dollars, this far-sighted maverick paid $1,050, ($1.05 per coin!) for these beautiful San Francisco minted, original 1,000-coin bags.

Most Beautiful Silver Dollars in Years

When our numismatists opened these silver dollar bags at our vault, they immediately called to tell me that these were some of the most beautiful original bags they’d ever seen.  Although the grades of the coins range from MS60+ to MS65, most are choice uncirculated MS63 coins with unusually strong strike and blazing mint luster.  Even though these coins are a bit more expensive than the most common-date Morgan silver dollars, they are still among the lower priced dollars.  And, every silver dollar market analyst agrees, the early San Francisco minted dollars are the absolute highest quality silver dollars available.

Uncirculated early San Francisco silver dollars will always be in demand, particularly the MS63 coins.  While the MS60+ coins are an excellent buy, I want to repeat my reasons why MS63 dollars right now may be an even better buy:

1. MS63 dollars are likely to become the coins which dealers will later sell as MS65s when grading standards loosen up in the soaring bull market, which we foresee developing over the next several years.

2. Choice uncirculated MS63 dollars are much scarcer than MS60 coins.  Yet, right now they do not trade at a huge premium over MS60 coins.

3. Because many collectors simply cannot afford the already high priced MS65s (even most common-dates are selling over $150 and many MS65s sell for $1,000 per coin), they are more likely to fill out their collections with choice uncirculated consider buying the MS63s when quantities are available.

The other thing that excited me about this San Francisco dollar hoard was the fact that the hoard was made up of original bags of four different dates, 1879-S, 1880-S, 1881-S and 1882-S.  As it happens, these are some of the most sought after U.S. silver dollars in the world because the San Francisco mint in its early yeas, as we have mentioned previously in Market Alert, produced the absolute sharpest strike and brightest luster on their coins.  And, the coins from this hoard are even nicer than what is generally on the market, because they have not been picked over and are in the same condition as they were when they left the mint more than a hundred years ago.

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