Morgan Silver Dollars - After the Bland-Allison Act became law, Director of the U.S. Mint Henry Linderman wanted to redesign the nation’s Silver coins, most notably the Silver Dollar. Linderman had hired a new assistant engraver named George T. Morgan. At age 30, Morgan was accomplished in Great Britain but relatively unknown in the United States. His Silver Dollar would bear the likeness of Liberty on the obverse and have an American eagle on the reverse. Morgan hired Anna Williams of Philadelphia to model for Miss Liberty.
After reviewing “patterns” designed by both George T. Morgan and U.S. Mint Chief Engraver Charles Barber, the mint director and the Treasury approved Morgan’s designs. They went into production just one week after acceptance. The coins were so important that all other Silver coins that were supposed to be struck in Philadelphia were shipped to San Francisco, Carson City and New Orleans for striking.
Beginning in 1878, these Silver Dollars were struck at Philadelphia, San Francisco and Carson City. The New Orleans Mint also struck them in 1879. They were struck yearly through 1904, when all raw Silver purchased for Silver Dollar striking had been exhausted. However, millions and millions of coins had been struck by that time.
During World War I, the German government tried to discredit the United Kingdom’s currency in India. They told Indian citizens that British banknotes could not be redeemed for British Silver. This led to a run on the supply of British Silver. The U.S. government sought to help Great Britain and passed legislation (the Pittman Act) that led to the melting of 270 million Silver Dollars. Over 259 million of these coins were melted and sold to Great Britain for $1 per ounce.
As collecting coins flourished in the early 1900s, the “Liberty Head Silver Dollar” name was replaced with something much easier – the Morgan Silver Dollar, after its designer.
With the supply of Morgan Dollars exhausted, the U.S. Mint once again struck these coins in 1921. They were struck at Philadelphia, San Francisco and the 15-year-old Denver Mint.
Between all the Silver melting episodes we have seen through the decades, the GSA auctions of Carson City Silver Dollars and the massive sales of coins to the public, the number of Morgan Silver Dollars in the marketplace is considerably lower than the original mintages.
To view available Morgan Silver Dollars, click on the image representing the Morgan Dollars of your interest: