1890-S Morgan Dollar - Crack it out, or leave it in?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by ZoidMeister, Aug 31, 2020.


Liberate Lady Liberty, or not? Please add why . . . . . .

  1. Crack it out!

    6 vote(s)
  2. Leave it imprisioned. (Why?)

    5 vote(s)
  1. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Hamlet Squire of Tomfoolery . . . . .


    Yet another poor Morgan Dollar that has been incarcerated. This 1890-S was turned into a key fob who knows how long ago. I cannot fathom how it got it's surface color and sheen to look like this. If I had to guess, I would think that whomever glued it into its prison put a drop of liquid mercury on its surface. That's how shiny it is.

    The plastic capsule won't be easy to get into. I've tried sticking a knife blade into the seam running around its edge. Nothing wanted to budge. The capsule has a few cracks, perhaps evidence of someone in history trying to give it a "get out of jail free" card. Even at those fracture points, the integrity of the plastic is insanely sturdy and intact.

    My question: crack this one out and liberate it, or leave it in? What would you do?

    I'll stop the relentless questions for today after this one.





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  3. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    It looks to me like it has been polished. I don't think it was dipped in mercury. Note the variation in color around the date and stars.

    Have you tried using an X-Acto knife? It's blade is much thinner than a regular knife blade. ~ Chris
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  4. John Burgess

    John Burgess Well-Known Member

    Up to you, if you break it out of there, take your time, be thoughtful and methodical, and above all else, if you get frustrated or lose your patience, take a break to cool out and get back to it when you are of right mind again, you want to be delicate. I can't tell you how many times i've seen people try to free coins from lucite paperweights and destroy the coin in the process.

    As far as the coin, I don't know, is it real? Has it been machined? Plated?
    I guess that's the real question here, can you verify it is in fact an authentic morgan dollar before going through the work of breaking it out carefully. if real and silver probably worth it for the melt value even if it's real but machined or plated.

    i'd probably work on the edge of the container with a dremel and a shallow grinding tip until I weakened the case enough to break it. can try cruncing around the edge (not over the coin) for a while with pliers also I suppose but that could lead to damage. it should eventually crunch up the plastic though.

    I'd probably go through VAMWorld and try to identify the die pair to authenticate it before doing the work. otherwise it might as well remain a key fob.

    if you can't identify it, it might just mean it's been machined to smooth it all out and make it pretty (polishing). no matter what you do for pictures, while it's encased it's going to reflect poorly and give a false impression from the plastic and won't give a real idea to us of the surfaces. the hair detail looks REALLY good on the obverse. eagles right wing doesn't look so good on reverse. a lot of the encased coins were plated, doesn't mean it isn't real, just means it wasnt' "pretty" enough for them so they plated it. I'd expect more wear though for it to be plated..... I dunno. I'd expect more obverse wear if it was highly polished also especially in the hair and flowers.

    Hard for me to say really.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2020
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  5. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    I'd leave it in there. It seems like more work to get it out and if you go to sell, I doubt it would bring more if cracked out. Plus, someone might like it as is (to use as a key fob).
  6. John Burgess

    John Burgess Well-Known Member

    yeah this, maybe upgrade the chain to a stirling silver ball chain of similar size, kick it up a notch. this would be another candidate for my dogs collar for sure!
  7. Morgandude11

    Morgandude11 As long as it's Silver, I'm listening

    Leave it alone.
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  8. Inspector43

    Inspector43 Collecting Since 1948 Supporter

    I think it is a cast replica. Looking close I can see what looks like porosity. IMO
  9. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Hamlet Squire of Tomfoolery . . . . .

    That makes me MORE intrigued to crack it out . . . . . I also noticed the porosity.

    I know this has been in the family since at least the 1960's or 1970's (I think). It "feeeels" heavy enough to be genuine. I suppose I should weigh it, although I wouldn't be sure how much to "deduct" for the plastic.

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  10. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    It looks polished so I'd leave as is.
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  11. expat

    expat Remember you are unique, just like everyone else Supporter

    Hard to open jewellery type encasements can be opened. Put gently increasing pressure on the seam from two sides simultaneously, with a vice for example. Slowly and gently increase the pressure and you should hear the POP when the seam parts.
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  12. John Burgess

    John Burgess Well-Known Member

    Now that you mention it, yeah, the tail feathers by the arrow fletchings look pretty odd for an original strike.... the wing feathers opposite the eagles breast, the short ones looks Off to me also, like they were "enhanced". I dunno it's like a flatter version of the 1901 reverse or something..
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  13. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Hamlet Squire of Tomfoolery . . . . .

    Oh dang, now I think I've gotta crack it open . . . . . . . must resist . . . .
  14. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Hamlet Squire of Tomfoolery . . . . .

    Well, just for the halibut, I weighed it . . . . .


    This is an absolutely critical diagnostic that yielded very specific information and told me nuthin' . . . . . .

  15. John Burgess

    John Burgess Well-Known Member

    Well the Morgan should weigh 26.73g you've got 35.
    8.27 grams of plastic? Yeah possible I suppose, that holder looks pretty rugged.
    it does tell you it's not lighter than it supposed to be though so there is that. Lol.
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  16. manny9655

    manny9655 Well-Known Member

    What about sticking it in the freezer for a good while and then trying to crack it open? It might make the plastic more brittle.
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  17. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Hamlet Squire of Tomfoolery . . . . .

    Great suggestion. I did try prying at it with a blade similar to an exacto knife, until blood issued forth.

  18. Maxfli

    Maxfli Well-Known Member

    I think I'm here, too. Some things just don't look right.
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  19. gronnh20

    gronnh20 Well-Known Member

    I think this is one of those signs. May be best to leave well enough alone.
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  20. Mike185

    Mike185 Well-Known Member

    You have a lot better chance to sell it like it is in the holder. I looks wized to me. Any way it goes it a 1890 s worth melt value or at least what someone will pay for it in a holder. Don’t crack it out. It’s not worth the blood shed when you slip and cut yourself...

    Red book. ( over priced)
    Vf-20= $35
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  21. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Hamlet Squire of Tomfoolery . . . . .

    Well, nunya all are helping. It looks evenly split although most of y'all haven't taken the time to vote.

    This is one of those, "damned if you do, damned if you don't" exercises. Loathe with future regret. I would hate to sell a forgery for genuine silver prices and hate it even more to sell a genuine for forgery prices.

    Somebody's gotta get this poll off dead center.


    By the way, it's in the freezer now . . . . . . . :rolleyes:


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