Friday, June 5, 2009
Silver Morgan Dollar Coin
The Comstock Lode, the greatest silver strike in history, was discovered in Nevada in the late 1850s. The strike put downward pressure on silver prices worldwide. The greatest silver strike in history was followed by the greatest coinage boondoggle in history. In 1878, to protect the interest of the western states, Congress passed the Bland-Allison Act which required the Treasury Department to purchase large amounts of silver, and to strike it as coins. For reasons of economy, the Treasury chose to strike the silver as dollars. The mintage was far more than was needed in circulation. These excess silver dollars quickly began piling up. Some original mint bags of Morgan dollars remained in treasury vaults until the 1960s. This strange past has led to one of the greatest collectible series in American coins providing collectors with many dates and mint marks readily obtainable in mint state condition along with challenging rarities. The Morgan Dollar is a silver United States dollar coin. The dollars were minted from 1878 to 1904 and again for one more year in 1921. The Morgan Dollar is named after its designer, George T. Morgan, who designed the obverse and reverse of the coin. Morgan's monogram appears near Lady Liberty's neck on the obverse. The dollar was authorized by the Bland- Allison Act of 1878. It has a fineness of .900, giving a total silver content of 0.77344 troy ounces (24.057 grams) per coin. When the Morgan Dollar was minted in 1878, it was the first dollar issued for American commercial use since the last Seated Liberty Dollar of 1873. The Trade Dollar was minted during this time period but was for trade in the orient. The Morgan Dollar was continuously minted until 1904 when the supply of Morgan Dollars in circulation was high and there was an absence of silver bullion. Then in 1918, the Pittman Act called for over 270 million coins to be melted for silver content. In 1921, the coinage of the Morgan Dollar resumed for that year and was replaced by the Peace Dollar commemorative that would become standard issue. Since 1921, many Morgan Dollars have been melted, mostly when silver prices escalate and they yield silver bullion. Caches of Morgan Dollars produced at the Carson City Mint were discovered and were sold to coin collectors by the federal government in the early 1970s. These dollars were un-circulated and are called GSAs (named after the General Services Administration) and come in holds that mimic the holds used for proof silver Eisenhower dollars.