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Year of the Silver Dollar
January 14, 2011

Is this the year of silver as some of the investment gurus would have us believe or the silver dollar?

My question arises because Numismatic News Coin Market price guide editor Harry Miller has been pointing out that the Morgan dollar market has been showing some signs of life, if not becoming lively.

Bullion’s rise has pushed prices up from the bottom and the previously slow market in the top grades is waking up.

The silver dollar market was indeed slow.

Silver dollars haven’t lit the numismatic world on fire since their last boom ended in 1989. Someone born that year would be finishing college now. I hope the proud parents didn’t hope to pay for the education with silver dollar profits. They simply didn’t happen for the most part.

However, silver dollars are an historically important part of the numismatic market and they have been for roughly 50 years.

After the bullion boom that topped out in 1980, it was silver dollars that got the baton and ran with it. It was silver dollars that built the third-party grading firms and the silver dollar that created the hubris that led the boom to end in Wall Street-type investment illusions in 1989.

So now what?

I know that long neglected corners of the coin market can wake up after many years and go on a merry run. All coin prices do not rise uniformly over time. The fits and starts of the market leave many prices unchanged for years.

Will 2011 be the year of silver or the silver dollar? It just might be the silver dollar’s turn to arise and shine.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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