The Morgan Silver Dollar coin is one of the most popular coins amongst collectors. Many investors have also taken an interest in Morgan Dollars as many have increased in value significantly over time.
The series was introduced in 1878 and designed by US Mint Engraver George T Morgan. Morgan Dollars were minted annually until 1904. No dollar coins would be minted again until 1921 when additional Morgan Dollars were produced.
Morgan Dollars were in five different US Mint facilities, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Denver, Carson City and New Orleans.
Morgan Dollars that are in cull, or heavily worn and circulated condition can be found amongst junk silver. Even in cull condition these coins command a premium over their melt value.
Morgan Silver Dollar History
The Morgan Dollar was created as a means to help prop up the mining industry.
In the mid-1800’s, Germany had shifted their economy away from a bimetallic gold and silver standard onto a gold standard. at a time when global demand and the price of silver were declining. By the mid-1870’s much of Europe, including the Latin Monetary Union, followed Germany onto the gold standard and ceased minting silver coins.
Silver and gold mining were a major catalyst in the westward expansion of the United States and the mining industry was critical to the economic growth of the country.
Several factors led to the drop in silver price in the late 1870’s. The switch by Germany and the LMU from bimetalism to a gold standard and the discovery of large silver deposits in western states were seen as key factors. As such, with pressure from the mining industry, Congress developed the Bland-Allison Act.
The Bland-Allison Act required the Treasury Department to purchase between $2 million to $4 million worth of silver each month to be made into $1 coins. The Act was initially vetoed by President Hayes, but the veto was overturned by Congress and passed into law in 1878.
Morgan Dollar Design
The obverse of the Morgan Dollar features a left facing profile of Lady Liberty’s head. On her head is a Phrygian cap with the word “LIBERTY” inscribed. Inserted into the band of her cap are several agricultural elements, such as stalks of wheat, oak leaves and cotton blossoms.
Above the portrait the phrase “E PLURIBUS UNUM” inscribed. To the left of Lady Liberty are seven stars with another six are to the right representing the 13 original colonies. The year of minting is inscribed below the main portrait.
The Morgan Dollar reverse portrays a Bald Eagle facing to the left. The eagles wings are stretched wide. A wreath wraps around the bottom of the eagle. The eagles talons hold an olive branch in one, while the other holds three arrows. The phrase “IN GOD WE TRUST” is inscribed above, with the denomination “ONE DOLLAR” inscribed below. “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” wraps around the edge of the upper two-thirds of the coin.