1904 Morgan Silver Dollar. Proof-68 (NGC). This awe inspiring specimen is virtually pristine with smooth, highly reflective surfaces on both sides. The in hand appearance is largely one of gorgeous iridescent toning, swirls of cobalt blue, olive-copper, antique gold and pale pink giving way to areas of silvery near-brilliance over the upper obverse and lower left reverse. Fully struck, and eagerly awaiting inclusion in an advanced numismatic cabinet.The 1904 is the final regular issue Proof in the popular and widely collected Morgan silver dollar series. It is a key date issue for its type, the mintage of 650 Proofs is the lowest in this series after 1891, in which year the same number of Proofs were struck. In his popular 1993 two-volume <em>Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia</em>, Q. David Bowers recounts an interesting story about the rarity and desirability of this issue:<em>"In his sale of the Barnet, Mercer, Broadford, and Zolotzeff collection, May 2, 1931, Thomas L. Elder devoted Lots 540 through 551, 553 through 556, and 558 through 567 to Proof dollars dated 1904, an offering prefaced by this comment:</em>"All [Proof dollars of this date are] rare, and said only about 250 PROOFS STRUCK THAT YEAR. Mr. Mercer was [the] one who accumulated them at the time as offered. No other collector is known to have a quantity of them. This comprises all he owns. These cost him $2.50 to $5.00 each. Mr. Mercer has held them for 22 years or more.<em>"This indicates that Mr. Mercer stopped hoarding them about 1909. After that time, the rare status of the Proof 1904 was set, and other buyers were willing to pay a premium for this date.</em><em>"Due to Mercers attempt to corner the market on this date, Proofs of the 1904 dollar were a popular speculation in the early twentieth century. For a long time coins of this date sold for the highest premium of any year after 1878, except for the 1895. For example, in the Waldo C. Moore Collection auctioned by Ben G. Green in 1905, the recently minted 1904 Proof was called rare and fetched $3.80 (the very rare 1895 Proof brought $4.60), while most other Proofs realized from about $1.15 to $1.30, and the identical Proof mintage  brought $1.15."</em>While no longer regarded as a major rarity, the Proof 1904 Morgan dollar remains popular with specialists due to its final year status and limited mintage. At the level of preservation offered here it is a significant condition rarity, and this coins beautiful toning further enhances its appeal.