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Next 1878 Variety | 1878 Morgan Dollars | Morgan Dollars by Date | Silver Dollars by Type

Obverse of 1878 8 Tail Feathers Morgan Dollar     Reverse of 1878 8 Tail Feathers Morgan Dollar


1878 SILVER DOLLAR -
8 Tail Feathers

PCGS Nos: 7072, 7073, 97073, 7311

Mintage:

Circulation strikes: est. 700,000-750,000
Proofs: est. 500

Designer: George T. Morgan

Diameter: 38.1 millimeters

Metal Content:
Silver - 90%
Copper - 10%

Weight: 26.73 grams

Edge: Reeded

Mintmark: None (Philadelphia)

Images courtesy of Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.

The F.U.N. 2000 Sale, January 5-7, 2000, Lot 7269, NGC PR-65, unsold

Recent appearances:
PCGS Proof-65.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries' Robert W. Schwan Collection Sale, October 26-27, 2000, Lot 1486, "8 Tail Feathers", sold for $5,060.00 From the Bowers and Merena Rarities Sale, January 2000, Lot 230

Proof-63.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 368, "8 Tailfeathers", sold for $2,530.00

Choice Brilliant Proof.  Ex - Stack's "65th Anniversary Sale", October 17-19, 2000, Lot 1187, "8TF", plated, sold for $1,092.50

PCGS MS-66.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 6223, "8 Tail Feathers", illustrated, sold for $9,200.00

NGC MS-65.
  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 3577, "8 Tail Feathers", illustrated, sold for $833.75

NGC MS-65.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 3578, "8 Tail Feathers", not illustrated, sold for $805.00

NGC MS-65. Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "The California Sale", October 2-3, 2000, Lot 1785, "8 Tail  Feathers", sold for $834.00

NGC MS-65.  Ex- Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "October 2000 Long Beach Sale" October 5-7, 2000, Lot 8165, "8 Tail Feathers", not illustrated, sold for $891.25

PCGS MS-65.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Rarities Sale", January 3, 2001, Lot 279, illustrated, not sold

PCGS MS-65.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Lake Geneva Sale", June 28-29, 2001, Lot 1016, not illustrated, sold for $1,150.00

NGC MS-65.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Lake Geneva Sale", June 28-29, 2001, Lot 1017, not illustrated, not sold

NGC MS-64 Deep Prooflike.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, Lot 1993, not illustrated, sold for $805.00

Very Choice Brilliant Uncirculated.  Ex - Stack's "The University of Notre Dame Sale", March 20-21, 2001, Lot 462, "8 TailFeathers", not plated, sold for $109.25

Choice Brilliant Uncirculated and approaching a Gem classification.  Ex - Stack's "65th Anniversary Sale", October 17-19, 2000, Lot 1306, "8 Tail Feathers", not plated, sold for $103.50

Choice Brilliant Uncirculated.  Ex- Stack's "The September Sale", September 12-13, 2000, Lot 634, " 8 Tail Feathers", sold for $115.00

Notes:
The 8 Tail Feather variety illustrates how minute details can often become stumbling blocks.  Apparently, a bald eagle has only seven tail feathers.  When patterns for the Morgan Dollar were designed and struck, the eagle on the reverse displayed the correct number of tail feathers - seven (see Judd 1550 and 1552).  However, for some unknown reason, the dies for the first Morgan Dollars were engraved with an incorrect number of tail feathers - eight, to be exact.  After a substantial number of coins were struck, the error was detected.  By then, it was too late to recall any of the coins that had already been struck, but the remaining 8 Tail Feather dies were corrected by over-punching them with a 7 Tail Feather hub, resulting in the 7/8 Tail Feathers varieties.  The final issues of 1878 were of the anatomically correct 7 Tail Feather variety!

The estimated mintage for this variety may be incorrect because this variety shows up in the market more frequently than any other of the year, even though other varieties (like the 1878 7 Tail Feathers, Reverse of 1878) have estimated mintages as high as seven times as much.

In Uncirculated condition, this variety appears most often in MS-63, with MS-62 and MS-64 nearly tied for second place.  The finest examples graded by the Professional Coin Grading Service are a single MS-67, 10 MS-65 Prooflikes, and 1 MS-66 Deep Mirror Prooflikes.  Proofs are generally available and the number of known examples is consistent with the estimated mintage.

Proofs of this variety are rather scarce- they enjoy the third lowest mintage of the entire series (excluding branch mint and the Zerbe and Chapman Proofs).  Coincidentally, they also have the third lowest population of Morgan Dollar Proofs graded by PCGS.  The finest Proof example graded by PCGS is a single PR-67.

Sources and recommended reading:
"The PCGS Population Report, May 2000" by The Professional Coin Grading Service

   

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