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1893-S Morgan Silver Dollar: How To Authenticate And Identify

The 1893-S is the key date of the Morgan Silver Dollars (1878-1921) and is one of the most faked and counterfieted coins. It stands to reason considering only 100,000 was minted and the lowest grades can fetch over $2,000.

The low mintage is a bit of a bonus when it comes to authenticating this key date Morgan Dollar because only one obverse die and two reverse dies were used to strike this date and mint. So the obverse must have certain characteristics or it's not authentic, and these characteristics are noted below with images.

Before you buy what you think is a authentic 1893-S Morgan Dollar, make sure you look closely at the images provided and look at certified examples, or buy an example that's already certified by PCGS, NGC or ANACS.

Avoid buying raw examples unless you're 100% positive it's authentic. Furthermore avoid buying a possible 1893-S Morgan Dollar from ebay sellers IF they state things like: "I will let you decide if it's authentic." or "Is it an authentic 1893-S?" or "I am not a coin dealer so I will let the bidders decide."

You just can't afford to take a chance and buy a fake or altered key date and if a seller doesn't know the facts then they shouldn't be selling such an expensive coin to begin with and you most certainly shouldn't buy from them.
Obverse Die
There's a die gouge near the R and T of LIBERTY and this is referred to as the "Rabbit Ears".
There's a raised die mark running through the top of the T.
There's several die scratches, below the Phrygian Cap, and in the lower portion of the hair.
If an example doesn't have these charachteristics then it's either a countefeit or is an altered 1893 without a mint mark. All genuine 1893-S Morgan Dollars will have these characteristics and the "Rabbit Ears" and the raised die mark in the T are in protected areas so will be present on all grades, and the date orientation will be obviously evident.
The date of a genuine 1893-S will be titled to the right and the 1 will be situated squarly over the denticle.
Reverse Die
Since only two dies were used to strike the reverses of all 1893-S Morgan Dollars then it's obvious there's only two mint mark orientations found on the entire 100,000 mintage. The first is an upright S that's situated in between the D and O of DOLLAR and well centered between the lower bow and DOLLAR. The second type is a S mint mark slightly tilted to the right.

However, the obverse is most important here and if the obverse does not have the characheteristics shown and explained in the above figures then the reverse isn't going to matter.