Morgan Silver Dollar
Taking its name from George T. Morgan, the British-born seventh Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint who designed was the coin’s designer. Determined to choose a face for his coin that looked “American” and not like the Greek figures often used at the time, Morgan found what he was looking for in the person of a Philadelphia school teacher, a face Morgan described as the most perfect he had seen in England or America. The model, Anna Willess Williams, took on the role only reluctantly. Later she would claim that it was a decision she’d regret for the rest of her life.
Minted from 1878 to 1904, and then again in 1921, the Morgan Silver Dollar was the first silver coin to be produced after the halt of all silver coinage in 1873 as the country shifted to a Gold Standard. Silver mining interests had lobbied successfully for the unlimited free coinage of silver. At the time, critics and gold advocates feared a such a policy could lead to hyperinflation and economic disaster. A compromise was reached and a return to bimetal minting system came with the Bland-Allison Act of 1878. This required the U.S. Treasury to acquire quantities of silver to be minted into dollars at a rate of $2-$4 million monthly (an equivalent of about $100 million today depending on current silver value).
As a result, Morgan Silver Dollars were minted in the tens to hundreds of thousands, depending on year, to over 44 million in 1921. Availability of some vintage years are impacted by loss through melting – the Pittman Act required the destruction of 270 million (mostly Morgan) silver dollars – a volume of coins, it was claimed, that if stacked on one on top of each other, would form a tower over 400 miles in the sky. As a result, the coin would endure some years of scarcity which in turn influences rarity, condition, and the value of available coins. Also, quality and condition could also be affected by minting provenience. As the Morgan was minted across locations and years to varying affect, the quality, quantity, and value varies widely by year and mint.
Each mint may have its own unique traits and strike characteristics. These differences can make particular coins unusual, rare, and collectible.
Other features of the Morgan Silver Dollar:
- Morgan Dollars were issued from five different mints: Philadelphia, Carson City, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Denver. A short collection involves assembling one Morgan Dollar from each of the five mints
- Die work and striking quality may vary with mint and issue
- Surface appearances such as strike character, relief, and finish may also vary by mint
- Contemporary difficulties in transportation and handling affected condition in certain circumstances – e.g. a lack of access to railways resulted in certain Carson City dollars being heavily bagmarked.
- For the issues of 1878, the reverse side image featured an eagle carrying an olive brand and arrows – versions exist with both eight feathers and seven
- Morgan Silver Dollars offer a variety of investment opportunities including Morgan Silver Dollar Business Strikes, Morgan Silver Dollar Rare Proofs, Morgan Silver Dollar Uncirculated, and others including mintage errors that carry a premium
Morgan dollars continue to be one of the most widely circulated forms of silver bullion today, nearly 100 years after the last minting.
Morgan Silver Dollars can offer excellent financial growth opportunities to coin investors looking to add Morgan Silver Dollars to their coin portfolio.
To learn more about the Morgan Silver Dollar and see how it could fit into your investment portfolio, please contact us here and an experienced Mint State Gold representative will be happy to see how we can assist you.
See below for more about Morgan Silver Dollar general specifications:
|Purity||90% Silver and 10% Copper|
|Year(s) Minted||1878-1904, and 1921|
|Where Minted||Carson City/ Philadelphia/ New Orleans/ Denver/San Francisco|
|Composition||0.7734oz ASW and 0.0866oz Copper|
|Total Weight||0.86 troy oz|
|Strike Type(s)||Business/ Proof|