Designed by George T. Morgan, Morgan silver dollars recall America’s Wild West and are among the most popular collector coins. The obverse of the Morgan dollar bears a classic depiction of Liberty facing left in a Phrygian cap and a spray of leaves held by a ribbon inscribed liberty. Minor changes to the reverse created three varieties, each showing an eagle clutching a branch and three arrows.
Dates Minted: 1878-1904, 1921
Mint Mark: Various
Designer: George T. Morgan
Composition: 90% silver, 10% copper
Weight: 26.73 grams
Diameter: 38.1 mm (1.5 inches)
A Brief History of the Morgan Silver Dollar
Being one of the most popular collectible U.S. coins, the Morgan silver dollar has earned the title “The King of America’s Coins”. They were minted from 1878 to 1904, again in 1921, and most recently in 2021. The Morgan silver dollar played a major role in the westward development of the United States, making it of great historical significance.
The Comstock Lode
In 1859, the first deposit of silver ore in the United States was discovered. This valuable and extensive deposit of silver was called the Comstock Lode. In 1878, the Bland-Allison Act restored silver as legal tender, and required that, each month, the government would purchase 2 to 4 million dollars’ worth of silver to be minted into dollar coins. This was the origin of the Morgan silver dollar.
The Morgan dollar continued to be minted until 1904, when the silver reserves had been depleted. Once the Pittman Act was passed in 1978, millions of Morgan silver dollars were melted down and recoined to replenish the governments’ reserves of silver bullion. Morgan dollars were minted for the last time in 1921, until they were replaced by Peace dollars later in the year.
Not until the 1960s, were numerous original bags of uncirculated Morgan silver dollars discovered in the vaults of the Treasury. The Treasury conducted sales of the dollars minted at Carson City through the General Service Administration (GSA) in the early 1970s.
Modern Day Morgan Silver Dollars
The Morgan silver dollar made a comeback in 2021, initially as a commemorative celebrating the 100th anniversary of its final minting. However, the coins are set to resume minting again in 2023 as bullion coins.