Morgan Silver Dollars
The Morgan silver dollar was designed by George T. Morgan in 1877. Morgan Dollars are among the most popular of all United States coinage. The metallic content of the Morgan Dollar is 90% silver and 10% copper. The series was introduced in 1878 and minted continuously until 1904, and again in 1921. Morgan Dollars were generally struck in large quantities, at a total of five different nationwide Mints. While most issues of the series are readily available, there are some issues with low mintages or which saw heavy circulation. These mintage and condition rarities are highly sought by collectors.
Upon his arrival at the U.S. Mint in Pennsylvania, Morgan was assigned the task of designing the Silver Dollar and working on patterns for the Half Dollar. At this time, the U.S. Mint struck no circulating Silver Dollars, but the Mint realized it was only a matter of time before a Silver Dollar would be called for once again.
For one of his Half Dollar patterns in 1877, Morgan used Philadelphia school teacher Anna Williams as a model for Lady Liberty because of her "nearly perfect Grecian profile." Following the passage of the Bland-Allison Act on February 28, 1878, Morgan enlarged this pattern to Silver Dollar size, and this was the design eventually used for the Silver Dollars authorized in the Act—the Morgan Silver Dollar. On the front of the coin (obverse) Morgan created a head of Lady Liberty, based on Anna Williams, and graced the back (reverse) with the iconic eagle.
The first Morgan Dollars were struck on March 11, 1878, less than two weeks after the coin was authorized by Congress, at 3:17pm in the afternoon on Press #4 in Philadelphia. It is currently on display at the Hayes Library and Museum in Fremont, Ohio. While most of the Morgan Dollars were minted in Philadelphia, a small mint was established in Carson City, Nevada to also press the coins near the source of the Comstock Lode. The mine, however, played out shortly thereafter and the Carson City mint closed forever in 1893. The Morgan Dollars minted in Carson City are rare and highly collectible today.
In death, as in life, the Morgan Dollar was ignored by the public. The silver dollar was not a collector favorite either, as the smaller denominations were easier to afford. Millions more were melted down for their silver content, especially when silver prices rose. Finally, in 1972, the General Services Administration auctioned off a lot of 2.9 million scarce Carson City Morgan Dollars it had hoarded in its vaults. Suddenly…..the Morgan Dollar was becoming hot among collectors.
hen LaVere Redfield died. Redfield was a stock and real estate investor who made millions. He traded his paper money for Silver Dollars because it’s said he did not “trust” paper money. He would eventually wind up with 400 bags filled with about 1,000 silver dollars each, which he hoarded in his basement. The total of 411,000 silver dollars - weighing 11 tons - was put up for auction by the IRS and fetched $7.3 million, the largest documented numismatic transaction in history at that time.
Now, the Morgan Dollar had reached genuine star status in the coin world. The dealers who purchased the Redfield hoard gradually dispersed the silver dollars into the collecting community, further stimulating interest in the coin. Today, the Morgan Dollar, ignored in circulation, is one of the most famous and desired American coins in existence.
|Grade||Available in MS63-MS66|
|Weight (grams)||26.73 (.85938 troy oz.)|
|Fineness (%)||.900 Silver|
|Fine Content (grams)||24.06 (.77344 troy oz)|
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