In January of 1893, the San Francisco Mint had struck 100,000 coins (per Mint records), and allegedly delivered and released the coins into circulation. Following the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in April 1893, no further silver dollars dated 1893 would be struck at the San Francisco Mint. Without the silver purchases required by the Act, there was no longer a need to produce such large numbers of silver dollars since millions were already stored across the country. Thus, the mintage of the 1893-S Morgan Silver Dollar remained at 100,000 pieces, or as recent research suggests, only 77,000 pieces. While mintages of the other Mints were small in 1893 as well, it was the San Francisco Mint which had the lowest.
Most sources suggest that the 1893-S silver dollars were immediately released into circulation. Other suggest that the majority of the coins did not circulate until the 1920s, when they were supposedly released in the mountain states. Whatever the true story, it is believed that perhaps 10,000 of the original mintage has survived with the majority in well circulated grades. It is very well possible that a portion of the mintage was melted under the Pittman Act of 1918, which provisioned for the melting of up to 350 million silver dollars that were in storage. Under the Act, a little over 270 silver dollars were melted, and it is very well possible that this included part of the San Francisco mintage of 1893.
The 1893-S Morgan Dollar was one of the few issues of the series which was not included on a major scale in the treasury hoards that were released in the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, very few examples have turned up in groups, supporting the theory that all entered circulation and stayed there. Q. David Bowers, who has been active in American numismatists since the 1950s only recalls hearing of a single group of twenty pieces that turned up in Montana. These were all quickly dispersed into the market. Rumors had circulated that a full bag of uncirculated 1893-S Morgan Dollars was included in the Redfield hoard, one of the most famous hoards of coins ever formed. However, not a single example from the hoard has been located and the rumor appears to be a case of wishful thinking.
There are a number of key diagnostics that can be used to authenticate genuine 1893-S Morgan Dollars. There were two reverse dies used to strike the coins, and both have a distinctively placed mintmark (upright or slightly tilted to the right). On the obverse, the placement of the “1” in the date should be directly above a denticle. Last, every genuine 1893-S Morgan Dollar, including low-grade examples, should feature a die line in the “T” of “LIBERTY”.