Morgan Silver Dollar coins enjoy a long and storied history in the United States, and they are second in popularity for collectors to only the Lincoln Cents. The Morgan Silver Dollar is a beautiful coin that is prized by collectors and dealers for both its silver bullion content and its cherished design. Some were issued in very limited numbers, and therefore, some issues can be quite valuable. Each Morgan is composed of .900 fine silver, yielding a total silver content of .77344 troy ounces per coin, and each coin measures 38.1mm in diameter. The Morgan Silver Dollar has an interesting history because of several acts of Congress that both authorized their printing and then limited their release.The origin of the Morgan Silver dollar can be traced to the largest silver strike in history, the Comstock Lode. During the 1850’s, the drop in global silver prices that accompanied the discovery of the mother lode of all silver strikes created political pressure for government intervention. By 1877, this pressure reached a fever pitch, and finally in 1878, the United States Congress responded with the Bland-Allison Act. This act required the U.S. Treasury Department to purchase large amounts of silver for the production of coins. The treasury purchased silver at the astounding rate of two to four million troy ounces per month. Hence, the first Morgan Silver Dollar was minted toward the end of 1878.
The Morgan Silver Dollar takes its name from its designer, the British engraver George T. Morgan. Born in England, Morgan studied there and worked for many years as a die engraver for highly respected English firms. In 1876, Morgan immigrated to the United States where he was promptly hired as an assistant engraver at the United States Mint in Philidelphia. Thereafter, he figured very prominently in the production of pattern coins from 1877 forward. He enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in order to prepare for the Liberty head design for which he is revered today. So respected were his coin designs that he eventually became the U.S. MInt’s seventh chief engraver in 1917. Today, he is most honored for designing the Morgan Dollar, but many other coins are known by his name.
For the representation of Lady Liberty, Morgan was eager to depict the profile of an American woman rather than the more common Greek-style representation. Morgan’s friend and artist, Thomas Eakins referred Morgan to Anna Willess, a Philidelphia school teacher, who agreed to serve as the model for Morgan’s Lady Liberty. Morgan declared William’s profile to be the most perfect he had ever seen, and he thereafter began his most important life’s work with this engraving. On the front of the Morgan dollar, Morgan’s Lady Liberty can be seen in profile with her hair cascading in curls down the back, held in place by a band engraved appropriately with the word LIBERTY. The Latin motto, E PLURIBUS UNIM (from one many) is featured prominently across the top of the coin with thirteen stars representing each of the original thirteen colonies bordering the bottom of the coin. The reverse, or back of the coins, displays a heraldic eagle holding the traditional American symbols of strength and peace. The eagle holds a clutch of arrows and an olive branch in his talons. Morgan Dollars were minted from 1878 through 1904, and again in 1921 at the following U.S. Mints that carry the following mint marks: in Philadelphia (no mint mark), San Francisco (S), New Orleans (O), Carson City, Nevada (CC), and Denver (D). The mint mark is found on the reverse below the wreath and above the ‘O’ in the word ‘DOLLAR’. In addition, the reverse features the motto “In God We Trust,” the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and its denomination of ONE DOLLAR.
Because of its fine silver content, its history, and the classic artistry of its design, the Morgan Silver dollar is a coin that will be a treasured addition to your fine silver collection! Provident Metals offers many years and issues to choose from, and our on-line ordering system will ensure both a swift and secure delivery of your historic Morgan Silver Dollars. Select as many issues as you see fit, and build an impressive collection of these outstanding U.S. coins.