Mint records from 1895 indicate that 12,000 Morgan dollars were struck for circulation at the Philadelphia Mint; meaning twelve bags (one Mint bag contained 1,000 silver dollars). Yet, not a single circulation strike 1895 Morgan dollar has ever been located and even well-worn examples are still considered to be Proofs.
While numerous scenarios have been offered to explain the fate of the twelve bags of Morgan Dollars which were reportedly struck at the Philadelphia Mint in 1895, most experts now agree that none were ever minted. Modern research into the Mint archives has yielded that the number mentioned was most likely an error; and that the 12,000 coins which were minted were not dated 1895. This theory is supported by multiple facts, including the inclusion of a Proof example of the silver dollar when coins of the previous year were submitted to the assay commission in early 1896. Another possibility (but less popular with modern numismatists as there is not much evidence to support it) is that the coins were minted, but melted at a later date, most likely in 1916.
All of the 1895 Morgan Dollars that are known to exist are proofs and they are all rare. Mint records indicate that a total of 880 silver dollars were struck for inclusion in Proof sets. These Proof sets had gradually become more popular and included minor coinage (cents and nickels) and the silver coinage (dimes, quarters, halves and dollars). Gold denominations were also minted in Proof format, but these had to be bought separately, and had much lower mintages. From the estimated number of survivors, approximately half of the mintage or slightly less, the mintage number of 880 Proofs appears to be correct. Although it has never been challenged, it is very well possible that not all Proofs were sold, and that some were later melted.