MORGAN DOLLAR (1878- 1904; 1921)
Morgan Silver Dollars were minted by the federal government from 1878-1904 and again in 1921. It was the first standard silver dollar minted since production of the previous design, the Seated Liberty dollar. Production ceased due to the passage of the Coinage Act of 1873 which also ended the free coining of silver. Beginning in 1878, huge amounts of the Morgan silver dollars were produced but few were used as money. The size was too large to carry on business so silver certificates were used instead. The mint made the coins, placed them in their vaults and issued the Silver Certificates instead. This is the reason so many Morgan and Peace dollars can be purchased in AU or UNC condition (near perfect). They sat in bank/US Treasury vaults most of the time. Each coin is composed of 0.77344 troy oz of silver. They were minted at the Philadelphia, New Orleans, Carson City, and San Francisco Mints. The original Morgan dollar was worth $1 in silver at $1.31 per troy ounce. Current silver prices make silver dollars worth considerably more melted down than at face value.
The obverse side of the Morgan Dollar depicts a profile portrait representing Liberty, while the reverse depicts an eagle with wings outstretched. The 1921-dated coins are the most common, and there exists a substantial collector market for pristine, uncirculated specimens of the rarer dates and mint marks. Morgan dollars are second only to Lincoln Cents in collector popularity. The coin is named after George T. Morgan, its designer. The mint mark is found on the reverse below the wreath, above the ‘O’ in ‘DOLLAR’.
PEACE SILVER DOLLAR (1921- 1935; 1964)
Introduced in 1921, the Peace Dollar, designed by medalist Anthony de Francisci, was a commemoration of the signing of the peace treaties between the allied forces of Germany and Austria at the end of World War 1. In 1922 the Mint made silver dollar production its top priority, causing other denominations to be produced sparingly if at all that year. Production ceased temporarily after 1928; original plans apparently called for only a one year suspension, but this was suspended by the Great Depression. Mintage resumed in 1934, but only for two years.
In May 1965, 316,000+ Peace Dollars were minted, all at the Denver Mint and dated 1964-D; however, plans for completing this coinage were abandoned and most of those already minted were melted, with two known strike specimens being preserved (for assay purposes) until 1970, when they too were melted. None were released for either circulation or collection purposes.