How Do I Know if My 1879 Silver Dollar Is Real?


Two different styles of silver dollar coins were minted in 1879, the Trade dollar and the Morgan dollar. The Trade dollar, a special coin minted for foreign markets, was thicker than the domestic Morgan dollar coins. In 1879, just slightly more than 1,500 Trade dollars were minted, all of which were proof coins not meant for regular circulation. Over 10 million Morgan dollars were minted during the same year. Utilize the same basic steps to determine the authenticity of either of these coins.

Things You'll Need

  • Scale
  • Measuring device
  • Learn about the different varieties of 1879 silver dollars. Only one type of 1879 Trade dollar exists, but several different Morgan dollars were minted that year. The 1879 Morgan dollar was minted at four different locations, signified by mint marks (CC, O, S and the absence of a mark) on the reverse of the coin. A legitimate die error occurred on some coins in which the CC mint mark was double struck, so an odd looking CC mint mark does not necessarily mean the coin is fake.

  • Find a high quality picture of a real 1879 silver dollar and closely examine it. Compare your 1879 dollar to this picture. If there are any discrepancies in image size, image orientation, lettering or numbering, your coin is probably counterfeit.

  • Measure the diameter of your 1879 silver dollar. Both Trade dollars and Morgan dollars are 38.1 mm in diameter. If your silver dollar's diameter is anything else, it is fake.

  • Weigh your 1879 silver dollar. 1879 Trade dollars weighed 27.2 grams, while 1879 Morgan dollars weighed 26.73 grams. If your coin weighs significantly more or less (a few hundredths of a gram), your coin is likely fake.

  • Take your 1879 silver dollar to a coin dealer and have him check it out. He should be able to tell you if it is real or not, as well as what it is worth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Get your coin professionally graded if it is particularly valuable. The American Numismatic Association and Professional Coin Grading Service both offer respected coin grading services. Grading the coin will put an end to any questions about its authenticity.


  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images
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