outside the lines

  • In 1873, an act was passed in the U.S. to end free silver coinage. After this, the first silver dollar produced was the Morgan Dollar which was minted from 1878-1904, then again in 1921. It is named for its designer, Assistant Mint Engraver George T. Morgan, who studied at art college to learn how to skillfully engrave the images on the coin.

    Morgan Dollars are recognized by their representation of Liberty (her image inspired by the face of Anna Willess Williams who sat for Morgan) and an eagle with his wings stretched out. On the eagle side, the words ‘In God We Trust’ are engraved. Liberty’s face fills the space fully with her aquiline Roman nose and a strong chin.

    The first coins off of the press were given to President Hayes, John Sherman (then Secretary of the Treasury), and Mint Director Henry Linderman. They were produced at the Philadelphia Mint.

    There was a great deal of political maneuvering over the value of silver during this period. At one point, consumers could have bullion turned into coins when it suited them to make a profit. This practice was ended, but more problems arose when the value of silver dropped following extensive mining operations.

    Legislation in 1890 to produce a set number of silver dollars each month was designed to increase inflation and protect suffering farmers. This led to a surplus of coins. Morgan Dollars minted in 1895 are among the rarest because few coins were minted in this year as a result of the surplus.

    Comments Off on Morgan Dollars And The Conflict Over Silver