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Coin and Paper Money Collecting/1921 Morgan Dollar Lettering Error on Reverse



Hi.  I have a 1921 Morgan Dollar, which I got from a family member, that had sat in a Whitman book for about 40+ years.  Both sides are lightly tarnished, the front a little more than the back, especially around the edges.  It has light to moderate wear, light scratches all over and a few very small gouges which are difficult to see without magnification.

The unique thing is that the "O" in "DOLLAR" on the back is just barely visible.  At certain angles it seems to even disappear.  The light scratches and tarnish are consistent on and around the "O".  Hypothetically, if the letter height were measured in layers from 1 to 5, every letter would be a 5 and the "O" would be a 1.  It also does not appear to be filed down and there are no unusual markings around it.

I would like to know what your thoughts are on this type of error since I've had a difficult time trying to find other examples like this online.  What possible value might this coin have as it is and with this particular error?  Thank you so much for your time and all that you do.

--Two pictures attached--


Likely a clogged or filled die. This type of error results from gunk, grime, grease, getting trapped on the die surface to restrict the lettering and detail from being fully struck. Your piece appears to be VF, and where it is a common date, the error could add an extra $10 or so to the value to an interested collector. I'm not sure, but it could also be a worn die, and considered a VAM variety. If a worn die, the "O" becomes fainter as a result of the corresponding area of the die blending into it. There is a similar type of error on a 1921D Morgan, where the "U" in "TRUST" is missing. See:

You may want to check US coins listings on eBay from time to time to see if your dollar is listed what these type of items may bring.

Here is a link to find a local shop, they should offer an opinion as to the value at no charge. Always try and get at least two opinions and try and deal with PNG dealers if possible. If you should decide to sell your items to a dealer, remember they will offer about 50% to 60% of the retail value. See:

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Ronald Fern


I can answer most all questions relating to US coins, tokens, and currency. I'm not strong on world coins or ancients. Primary field of expertise is errors and varieties. Over 55 years experience in coin collecting. Part time dealer since 1976. Employed by McDonnell Douglas/Boeing for over 34 years as an Industrial Engineer/Technical Specialist before retiring in 2002.


Worked weekends for "Lonesome" John in the late 1960's to mid 1970's processing error coins, packaging, and preparing orders. Worked with John Devine and Fred Weinberg on several California Error A Rama's in the early 1970's. Served as display judge at annual Error-A-Rama coin shows. Opened and operated mail order coin business DBA "CAL ERRORS" in 1976. Contributor to Alan Herbert's "Official Price Guide To Mint Errors" and Fivaz/Stanton "Cherrypickers' Guide". Worked Saturdays at Huntington Beach Coin Exchange 1980-1999. Had table and sold coins at a number of coin and gun shows in So CA, AZ and NV. Sell coins, tokens and currency on Facebook. Past "Errorscope" Editor. Presently CONECA Examiner.


Errorscope, Numismatic News, Civil War Token Journal, Error and Variety News

AA Degree LBCC pre Engineering, 1964 BS Degree CSULB Ind Technology, 1968

Awards and Honors
1st Place EAR Trophy for Civil War Token Errors, NLG Author of Year Award for best monthly coin column "Error News and Views" in small Numismatic paper, owned and published by Ray Anthony.

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