Each 2021 coin comprises .858 troy ounces of 99.9% fine silver and carries the same $1 face value as the Morgan Dollar did during its original runs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, the original coins contained a metal mix of 90% silver and 10% copper, versus the 99.9% silver contents found in today’s issues.
The 2021 Morgan Dollars are finished in the striking “Uncirculated” fashion. Similar to proof coins, coins issued by the U.S. Mint under what it calls the “Uncirculated” finish are assessed – or graded – according to the Sheldon scale. The Sheldon scale includes numeric grades ranging from 1 on the low end (indicating the most inferior quality) and 70 on the high end (indicating the best quality). “Uncirculated” coins that receive a numeric grade of 60 or higher receive the label “Mint State,” which is abbreviated “MS.” An “Uncirculated” coin receiving the highest quality grade, then, would be labeled “MS70.”
The 2021 releases all bear the same obverse and reverse designs as the original Morgan Dollar, which began production in 1878. This pair of designs was created by George T. Morgan, a British coin die engraver hired by U.S. Mint Director Henry Linderman in the late 1870s to serve as Assistant Engraver at the Philadelphia Mint under Chief Engraver, William Barber. The obverse shows a side profile portrait of Lady Liberty, for which Morgan used Philadelphia resident Anna Willess Williams as his model. In Morgan’s rendition, Liberty wears what appears to be a Phrygian-like cap that is adorned with various “flora,” as the Mint describes it, and the word "LIBERTY," stitched on its brim. Along the top curve of the obverse design on both the original and the 2021 Morgan Dollar appear the words, "E PLURIBUS UNUM," the motto found on the Seal of the United States and means, “Out of many, one.” Several six-point stars appear on either side of Liberty’s portrait – seven on the left side, six on the right side, for a total of thirteen – along with the coin’s strike date along the bottom edge of the coin.
The reverse of the Morgan Dollar – for both the original and the 2021 issues – shows an American heraldic eagle with outstretched wings clasping an olive branch and a bundle of arrows in its talons. The bird is centered within a half-circle wreath and is surrounded by the words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" along the top rim of the coin and the coin’s “ONE DOLLAR” face value along the bottom edge. The two sets of words are separated by a single six-point star on both the left and right sides. The nation’s motto, “In God we trust,” is inscribed just above the bird’s head, in between the tips of its outstretched wings. For the coins that boast a privy or mint mark indicating its production location or location of mention – on both the 2021 and original issues – the insignia appears just above the "D" and "O" in the word "DOLLAR."