Didn't Help Marshall Commem
By Paul M. Green
The 2005 Chief
Justice John Marshall silver dollar was
certainly appropriate, but it was not likely to
be terribly popular. Americans have enough
trouble trying to remember who the current Chief
Justice of the United States is, much less the
fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
There is no doubt that Justice Marshall, who was
sworn in on Feb. 4, 1801, and served for 34
years, had an enormous impact both on the
Supreme Court and on the way American judges and
legal scholars would view the law right up to
the present day. His 250th birthday deserved to
be recognized even if relatively few knew who he
was or of his contribution to the nation.
Public Law 108-290 authorized just 400,000
Marshall silver dollars. That was down 100,000
from the normal authorizations of the period.
This is probably because there was no point in
authorizing more as sales were going to be
The design alone should have sold a few extra
examples. By modern commemorative standards, it
is interesting with a profile of Marshall
prepared by John Mercanti from a Marshall
profile by Charles de Saint-Memin. The reverse
is an especially interesting approach that
features the interior of the old Supreme Court
chamber where Marshall served, prepared by Donna
Weaver. We get more than enough buildings on
coins but always the exterior, and that makes
this interior view an interesting change.
Probably sensing there would be limited sales,
the Mint packaged the Marshall dollar with
practically anything and everything. There was a
legacy collection featuring the Marshall dollar
and other issues of 2005 including the Marine
The Coin and Chronicles set that packaged the
Marshall dollar with a print of a statue of
Marshall and a booklet is still basically at its
$59.95 issue price. Appearances would have it
that the 25,000 authorized sets failed to sell
out. This probably reflects the fact that,
despite continued efforts, when the Mint
packages a coin with other items, collectors
rarely respond with much enthusiasm.
In terms of the coins by themselves, the proof
version had a pre-issue price of $35, while in
the regular ordering period it was $39. The BU
was $33 in the pre-issue period and $35 in the
regular ordering period.
The sales turned out to be 141,993 proofs and
48,953 uncirculated examples. The low sales
makes the Marshall silver dollar an interesting
coin for the future in terms of price.
Right now some modern commemorative silver
dollars are not at the prices we might expect
based on their mintages. That is definitely the
case with the Marshall silver dollar. It is,
however, relatively early to expect significant
changes. That will change and when it does, it
would be no surprise to see the Marshall silver
dollar at higher prices.