The Morgan Dollar is a coin that is no longer being minted by the U.S. Mint, yet it was only minted from time to time between the years of 1878 and 1921. A U.S. dollar coin, it was named for its designer, George T. Morgan, who was also the assistant engraver at the U.S. Mint. It was actually the very 1st standard silver dollar that was minted since the prior design’s production was stopped because of the passing of the Fourth Coinage Act. The prior design was the Seated liberty dollar, and the Fourth Coinage Act was typified by its ending of the free coining of silver. During the years it was issued, this coin was composed of 10 percent copper and 90 percent silver.
In the years that the Morgan Dollars were being minted, the obverse side and the reverse side of the coin each had different designs. The observe side of the coin, which was designed by George T. Morgan back in 1878, had a design called “Liberty”, which had the profile of a woman who stood for Liberty. The reverse side of the coin, which was also designed by George T. Morgan in 1878, featured a design of an eagle with its wings outstretched and clutching an olive branch and arrows.
It was only due to the Bland-Allison Act that this dollar was authorized for minting. The Bland-Allison Act mandated the U.S. Treasury to buy between 2 and 4 million dollars worth of silver at its market value for the purpose of being coined into dollars every month. Then, in 1890, this act was repealed through the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, which mandated the U.S. Treasury to buy 4.5 million troy ounces (equal to 140,000 kilograms) of silver every month, yet only demanded additional silver dollar production for just a year. This second act was finally repealed in 1893. In 1898, the U.S. Congress granted approval to a bill that mandated that all of the leftover bullion bought under the Sherman Silver Purchase Act be coined into silver dollars. However, by 1904, the silver reserves became depleted, thus causing the U.S. Mint to halt production on this coin. By 1918, the Pittman Act was passed, which approved of both the melting as well as the recoining of a lot of silver dollars. Because of this law, the minting of the Morgan Dollar was resumed for only a year in 1921. However, this coin was finally replaced by the Peace Dollar later in that same year.
Between 1962 and 1964, millions of this coin were approved for sale to the general public. The renewed interest in this coin started in 1962 when a highly rare version of the Morgan Dollar was found inside of a collection of silver dollars housed within the Philadelphia Mint. The highly rare version of this coin was one that had a date of issue that was considered very unique. Fast-forwarding to 2006, the design on the reverse side of this coin was actually utilized on a silver dollar that was issued in order to honor the aged San Francisco Mint building.
Morgan Dollars were coins that were issued for only a short time in the history of the U.S., yet it is still remembered by collectors and coin aficionados today. Even though these coins were only issued for a few decades near the close of the 19th century, they briefly experienced a short resurgence in popularity and fame in the early 1960s, mainly due to a chance discovery of a rare issued date at the Philadelphia Mint.