If you’ve done your research on Morgan Silver Dollars, then you’ll probably know a thing or two about GSA Silver Dollars. Just in case you haven’t, GSA Silver Dollars are a hoard of Morgan Silver Dollars that were found in a Treasury vault and sold to coin collectors in the 1970s. The stash was called the GSA (Government Services Administration) Hoard because it was the GSA that got put in charge of selling off these coins.
This special hoard included over 3 million Morgan Silver Dollars, most of which were produced at the Carson City Mint in Nevada. Prior to the discovery of these coins, collectors found it extremely difficult to get their hands on high-grade Carson City (CC) dollars. However, nearly all of the coins found in the GSA Hoard were in uncirculated condition, causing much joy to coin collectors everywhere.
The GSA Hoard made up around 84 percent of the entire mintage of Carson City dollars. In addition to the Carson City Morgan Silver Dollars, the hoard also contained approximately 125,000 scarce coins from other mints.
During the late 1950s, certain Morgan Silver Dollars were very rare. The U.S. Government found stockpiles of these coins sitting undisturbed in Treasury vaults, all in uncirculated condition and still sealed in mint bags. After the discovery of these rare Silver Dollars, dealers, investors and collectors flocked to the Treasury Department headquarters in their thousands to trade their silver certificates for bags filled with the coins.
After realizing that the vault-hidden bags contained scarce Carson City dollars in 1964, the Treasury stopped allowing the public to trade silver certificates for the coins. The many bags of coins were given to the General Services Administration (GSA), which was ordered to sort and sell the coins.
The GSA conducted a series of sales that lasted from 1973 to 1980. These sales limited dealers, investors, and collectors to only purchase one coin of each date per household. Many of the uncirculated Carson City Morgan Silver Dollars, such as the 1879, 1890 and 1891 coins sold out fast but others didn’t sell as quickly as the GSA had anticipated.
By 1974, around one million coins remained unsold. These coins stayed in the hands of the U.S. Government until they went back on sale for a set price in 1979. By 1980, the set price was quashed and the remaining coins were sold in another round of mail bid sales. Buyers were originally limited to purchasing no more than 500 coins but the number was reduced to 35 just a couple of weeks before the 1980 sales, which ended in July.
All of the uncirculated GSA Silver Dollars were kept in their original plastic containers before they were sold. As these holders were considered bulky, many dealers took their coins out of the cases and later had them encapsulated in smaller plastic holders or soft packs.
Investors and collectors have been known to look far and wide for GSA Silver Dollars in their original sealed plastic containers. These holders have a black background with CARSON CITY written above the coin and UNCIRCULATED SILVER DOLLAR below. They also include a card that explains the historical significance of the coins, as well as the GSA release. Sadly, hundreds of thousands of the GSA Silver Dollars were removed from their government slabs, making it harder for collectors to find these coins in the original (now scarce) packaging. It’s also worth noting that the coins from the hoard that were not minted in Carson City come in plastic holders with a label that describes them as UNITED STATES SILVER DOLLARS.
Originally issued from 1878 to 1893, the GSA Silver Dollars struck at the Carson City Mint contain .7734 oz of .900 pure silver. Once these coins were discovered and put up for sale, many of the dates in the Carson City Morgan Dollar series that were previously considered scarce suddenly became obtainable. As a result, the GSA Hoard breathed new life into the series and played its part in enticing more collectors to purchase Morgan Silver Dollars.
While the GSA Silver Dollars in their original sealed containers are arguably the most sought after, coins that have been graded by the NGC or PCGS also hold credibility. If you do purchase a coin in a GSA holder and would like involvement from a third-party grading service, the NGC can now grade these coins without needing to remove them from their packaging. The NGC will simply place a tamper-proof label with the NGC emblem and the coin’s grade around the entire holder.
We should also point out that interest in GSA Silver Dollars is increasing and should continue to do so with each year that passes. To ensure you purchase only genuine GSA Silver Dollars, please feel free to contact Capital Gold Group for further advice and professional assistance.