Morgan Silver Dollars
A True American Icon
The Morgan Silver Dollar, issued from 1878-1904 and once again in 1921, has long been considered by many to be the “King of Coins.” Its hefty size, classic beauty and colorful history has made it a highly coveted prize for coin collectors around the world. It truly is one of America's most iconic coins.
Historic Silver Discovery
In 1859, on the eastern slope of Mount Davidson in present day Nevada, the first major deposit of silver ore in the U.S. was discovered. The Comstock Lode (named after miner Henry Comstock) produced so much silver that the U.S. government built a mint in the area…the legendary Carson City Mint. In fact, during its’ peak production between 1860 and 1880, the Comstock Lode produced more gold and silver than the rest of the U.S. mines put together.
Powerful Silver Lobby and the Bland-Allison Act
In 1873, to make room for Trade and gold dollars, the last Seated Liberty dollar was legislated out of existence. Needless to say, this infuriated the newly enriched silver miners, and they quickly went to work lobbying Congress for the creation of another silver dollar coin. Their efforts were successful and in 1878 Congress passed the Bland-Allison act requiring the Treasury department to purchase silver bullion at the market price in amounts of not less than $2,000,000 and not more than $4,000,000 each month.
George T. Morgan’s Legendary New Design
The first coin made under the Bland-Allison Act were the Morgan dollars and was named after the designer, George T. Morgan, a talented British immigrant who was an assistant to U.S. Mint Chief Engraver William Barber in the late 1870's. Both Lady Liberty on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse are the most prominent features of the design. The designer's monogram can be found near Lady Liberty's neck on the obverse and on the ribbon's left loop on the reverse. Although the eagle depicted on the reverse featured eight tail feathers in the original coin, soon after production began U.S. Mint officials were advised that the eagle should have seven tail feathers, and the design was changed. As a result, some 1878 Morgan dollars have eight feathers, some have seven, and some depict seven over eight (the rarest variety).
- Massive government melting’s in 1918 and the 1960's seriously depleted the supply of Morgan dollars.
- Experts estimate that only 17% of the Morgan dollars ever produced survive today!
- For more insight into the design of the Morgan, including the fascinating story of the model for Lady Liberty, click here.
*The coins pictured are used strictly to show the design and do not represent the condition of the coins offered here.
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