Today, the pre-1921 Morgan Dollar, production of which lasted from 1878 until 1904, is coveted by collectors. However, this was not always the case. In fact, the heavy and close-to-palm-sized silver coin of the Morgan Dollar was long met with indifference from the American public.
In early 1878, Congress authorized this coin - and it wasn't even two weeks later before the Morgan Dollar was first struck. That happened at 3:17 pm on March 11 in Philadelphia. Today, the very first Morgan Dollar coin can be seen at Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museums in Ohio.
Not generally deemed a "people's coin" during its period of production, the Morgan Dollar is nonetheless noteworthy for its design. This includes, on the coin's front, the face of the Roman goddess of Liberty and, on the opposite side, an eagle whose wings are outstretched. The bald eagle has long been the national animal of the United States and highly symbolic of the country. While Philadelphia was the location where the majority of Morgan Dollar coins were struck, some production also took place at Carson City Mint in Nevada. This mint, operations of which had commenced in 1870, closed in 1893. Nonetheless, the mint's building remains intact; today, it is the primary home of the Nevada State Museum in Carson City.
Enthusiasm for the Morgan Dollar's arrival was not even stoked as a result of the five-year period since the then-current American silver dollar coin had been made defunct through legislation. Indeed, no apparent mourning had accompanied the end of this coin's existence. The metals comprising the earliest Morgan Dollar were 10% copper but 90% silver.
The Morgan Dollar's popularity had seen no dramatic rise by 1904 when production first came to an end. Minting had, by then, taken place over a 25-year period - at that time, the statuary length for a coin design's production run in the United States.
Though more than 500 million Morgan Dollar coins had been produced, circulation had remained limited outside the West, which had a relatively small population. With large stockpiles having amassed, over 270 million Morgan Dollars were given away as wartime silver for the British in 1918.
Melting down Morgan Dollars, as was done for Great Britain in this instance, would be difficult for many of today's collectors to contemplate. This would be especially the case with Morgan Dollars struck in Carson City; these coins are rare but can be identified from mint marks spelling out 'CC.'
From our stock here at the United States Gold Bureau, it is possible to - provided availability allows - purchase a pre-1921 Morgan Silver Dollar in a condition of AU (Almost Uncirculated) or better. However, consider that, when picking up the coin, 90% of which will comprise silver, there is no guarantee of which date or mint mark you will see, as these remain our choice.
It is also worth considering that, while the pre-1921 Morgan Dollar's production tenure lasted across a quarter of a century, we do not guarantee that multiple coins bought from our stock will display different years of production. Still, none of this takes away from the prestigious reputation that the Morgan Dollar, including the pre-1921 version, has developed in the collectors' sphere.
Features of the Common Date Morgan Silver Dollar Pre-1921 AU+:
Each coin weighs 26.73 grams/0.859 troy ounces
The silver content of each coin is 0.77344 troy ounces
The condition of each coin is at least Almost Uncirculated (AU)