The biggest factor in determining the value of an 1898 silver dollar is the level of distress the coin displays. The current price for silver bullion also affects the selling price of an 1898 silver dollar. Markings made by the mint also affect silver dollar prices.
To gauge the level of wear a 1898 silver dollar displays, examine the quality of the face on the front of the coin. In particular, look for signs of damage to the details in the chin, neck line and hair close to the ears. Because these areas are raised, they are usually the first to be damaged. Coins which were never circulated show the least damage and command the highest prices. Circulated 1898 silver dollars are very common and only sell for their weight in silver bullion.
Mint markings indicating the coin's origin also affect the price of coins. Most 1898 silver dollars are unmarked, meaning the coin was made in Philadelphia. A marking of O is also common and indicates the coin was minted in New Orleans. Unmarked and O 1898 Silver Dollars usually sell for the same price. An 1898 silver dollar with an S marking is from San Francisco. This mint marking is rarer, and S marked coins often sell for 30 to 50 percent higher prices. An uncirculated 1898 silver dollar with an S mint mark is by far the most valuable type of silver dollar, often selling for nearly 10 times that of coins in poorer condition or from the other mints.