United States Silver Dollars

Silver has been used for coinage for thousands of years, and not so long ago US Silver Dollars were one of the most popular silver coins worldwide. Even before the American Revolutionary War silver coins were used for trade and barter by the Colonials in fact many of these silver coins were of European origin. Spanish silver coins better known in those days as “pieces of eight”, were quite popular and considered legal tender. In modern times silver was used almost exclusively in United States coinage until 1964. These coins included common dimes, quarters and half dollars, and contained 90% silver. Better known today as 90% junk silver, these coins are highly coveted by silver bullion investors today who enjoy the lower premiums.

The Morgan dollar and the Peace dollar are popular with investors and collectors because of their stable value, historic relevance and aesthetic qualities. Because of their high bullion content and demand by collectors, silver dollars have a value far greater than their one dollar face value. Since there were millions of Morgan dollars and Peace dollars produced, we usually have a good supply available in conditions ranging from very good (VG) to MS 65 (above average uncirculated). The majority of the Mint State (MS) coins are graded by a third party grading company such as PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service), or NGC (Numismatic Grading Corporation). Third party graded coins are encapsulated in a protective plastic shield and are given a special serial number complete with a bar code. These coins are also included in the population reports published by the grading services.

Morgan Dollar (1878-1921)

The Morgan dollar is one of the most famous and recognized silver dollars in American history. It was present on the streets of Tombstone, Arizona when Wyatt Earp and his lawmen met the outlaws better known as the Cowboys at the O.K. Corral. American pioneers Thomas Edison, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Alexander Graham Bell, John D. Rockefeller and many others carried these very coins in their pockets.

When the Allison–Bland act was passed in 1876, the Morgan dollar was born. Not until 1878 were the first Morgan dollars actually minted. The coins were produced at mints located in New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Denver and Carson City, Nevada at different times throughout its period production. Each coin contained .900 silver (with a net weight of .77344 ounces of pure silver) and were alloyed with .100 copper to give the coin durability for circulation. At the time the Morgan dollar design was considered odd because of its modern appearance. The obverse features a likeness of Lady Liberty in profile, and also includes 13 stars around the rim, the date, and E PLURIBUS UNUM. The Reverse features an eagle with wings spread apart clutching and olive branch and arrows. ONE DOLLAR and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA also appear on the reverse.

George T. Morgan was commissioned to design the Morgan dollar, and his initial M is present on the dollar located at the base of the neck on the obverse, and the left hand loop on the reverse. Morgan learned his skill and was a pupil of William Wyon, who was the official chief engraver at the Royal Mint in London. In 1904, Morgan dollar production was halted on account of low demand and the supply of silver was low. The Pittman Act of 1918 authorized the melting of 270,232,722 silver dollars. In 1921 the Morgan dollar was once again minted at the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco mints with roughly 85 million coins produced. It was a short run and was replaced by the Peace dollar which began production in December of 1921, with circulation beginning in January of 1922. Morgan eventually became the 7th Chief Engraver of the US Mint and will forever be remembered in history for the Morgan dollar.

Peace Dollar (1921-1935)

In 1921 the US Mint began production of the Peace dollar, and released the new dollar coin for circulation in January of 1922. At the time Congress wanted a coin that would commemorate the victory of World War 1, and be a symbol of peaceful times. When Congress passed the Pittman Act in 1918, a pre-determined amount of silver was to be used for the new commemorative coin. The US Mint chose a few select sculptors to submit designs with the winning design being chosen by a special committee of judges appointed to oversee the project. An Italian immigrant by the name of Anthony de Francisci, who was largely unknown was declared the winner. Francisci`s wife, Teresa was the subject he used for the obverse. The reverse featured an eagle, the American symbol for freedom perched atop a mountain clutching olive branches with its wings folded. This is yet another symbol of a peaceful period for which the coin was designed.

The 1921 version of the Peace dollar was designed with a high relief or otherwise a raised design, which proved to be a problem when attempting to stack the coins. Soon after the surface of the coin was flattened. In terms of scarcity the 1921 is one of the scarcest in circulated or uncirculated condition. Peace dollars are highly coveted by collectors because of their rich history, but these days’ investors hoard Peace dollars because of their consistent price stability. Peace dollars were produced through 1935 however many were later melted down to be used for the Manhattan Project, the production of the first atomic bomb. Like the Morgan dollar before it no records were kept regarding dates and mint marks and so many rare dates and rare mint mark coins were lost forever. This is what makes so many of the survivors so valuable today.

Peace dollars were minted at the Denver, San Francisco and Philadelphia mints. Again like the Morgan dollar contained .900 oz of pure silver (.77344 ounce) and .100 copper. The obverse of the Peace dollar featured Lady Liberty with a radiating crown. LIBERTY is above her with the date below and IN GOD WE TRUST from left to write. The obverse displays the eagle clutching olive branches and perched on the highest mountain. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ONE DOLLAR, AND PEACE, are also present on the reverse.

If you want to buy silver coins we highly recommend you buy Peace dollars online at today’s low cost while supplies are available. For those who appreciate history or want coins from the late 1800`s we suggest you buy Morgan dollars online. These silver coins are a remarkable treasure of Americas past.

Call us today at 888-928-3390 to reserve your silver dollars available in circulated or uncirculated condition. We also have a great supply of silver coins graded by PCGS and NGC.