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06/14/2024 09:08:11 AM

Silver Dollars

Silver Dollars at BGASC

Silver Dollars have a long history of being a popular option for investors and collectors. These coins were last produced in 1935 but were brought back in 2021 as a collectible option with a very limited mintage by the US Mint. With a lot of history dating back to the 1800s, learn all about Silver Dollars right here, at BGASC.

Background on the Silver Dollar

The very first Silver Dollar was produced by the US Mint in 1804. This coin had a denomination of $1 (USD) however, it was scarcely produced between 1804 and 1836. Silver Dollars became more regularly struck once the US Mint upped the silver content in their coins to 90%.

Silver Dollars were regularly issued from 1836 to 1873. Silver Dollars took a five-year hiatus due to the influx of silver, primarily from mines in parts of southeastern America.

Silver Dollars made a return in 1878 and were produced annually until 1904. They made a return in 1921 and were issued until 1928. They returned from 1934 to 1935 before finally being stopped for good until the 1970s. Arguably, the most popular Silver Dollar design was the design used from 1878 to 1904, otherwise known as the Morgan Silver Dollar.

Morgan Silver Dollar

The Morgan Silver Dollar debuted in 1878 and was produced annually until 1904. They made a one-year return in 1921 and weren’t produced again until 100 years later but as a collectible.

These coins are named after the obverse and reverse designer, George T. Morgan. The director of the US Mint at the time traveled to the Royal Mint to ask Morgan to be the assistant engraver at the Philadelphia branch of the US Mint. Henry Richard Linderman, the director of the US Mint, asked Morgan and Chief Engraver Charles Barber to design a coin with an eagle on the reverse and Lady Liberty on the obverse. Morgan’s design was chosen by Linderman.

The obverse design of the Morgan Silver Dollar features the left-profile relief portrait of Lady Liberty. The design shows 13 stars surrounding Liberty, which represents the 13 original colonies. “E Pluribus Unum” is at the top, while the year of issue is at the bottom. Notably, Morgan used the likeness of a Philadelphia school teacher, Anna Williams, for his portrayal of Liberty.

The reverse of these coins showcases a heraldic eagle. The eagle is seen in front-facing relief, clutching a bundle of arrows and an olive branch in its talons. Inscriptions on the reverse read “One Dollar,” “In God We Trust,” and “United States of America.”

From 1878 to 1921 a total of 656,843,390 of these coins were produced throughout 5 branches of the US Mint.

Peace Silver Dollar

In 1918, the United States melted down nearly 300 million Silver Dollar coins and sold them as bars to the British. The Pittman Act of 1918 required the US Mint to strike millions of new Silver Dollars, thus, it was decided they needed a new design.

The US Mint orchestrated a contest where sculptors and artists would send in designs for the new Silver Dollar, with the winner receiving $1,500. The rules indicated that the obverse would need to depict Lady Liberty, while the reverse needed to show an eagle. The contest was eventually won by Anthony de Francisci, who was only 34 at the time.

The obverse of the Peace Silver Dollar shows Lady Liberty in left-profile relief. Liberty is shown with a radiate crown and flowing hair. Inscriptions such as “Liberty” and “In God We Trust” are shown along with the year of issue. Francisci used the likeness of his wife for this depiction of Liberty.

The reverse of these coins showcases a bald eagle perched on a rock in right-profile relief. The sun is rising from the bottom of the coin while inscriptions such as “Peace,” “One Dollar,” “E Pluribus Unum,” and “United States of America” are shown.

These coins were issued annually from 1921 to 1928, and again from 1934 to 1935. A total of 3 branches of the US Mint struck 190,877,279 of these coins.

Other Designs

  • Seated Liberty: The Seated Liberty design was used from 1836 to 1873. The Chief Engraver of the US Mint at the time, Christian Gobrecht, designed both images. The obverse shows Liberty seated on a rock, while the reverse features a heraldic eagle.
  • Eisenhower Silver Dollars: The final Silver Dollar to ever be released containing actual silver was the Eisenhower Silver Dollar. Frank Gasparro designed the obverse and the reverse. The obverse shows a left-profile relief image of Dwight D. Eisenhower, while the reverse features a modified Apollo 11 patch. Circulation Eisenhower Silver Dollars do not contain silver. The US Mint did release collector’s editions from 1971 to 1978 that had 40% silver.

Certified Silver Dollars

One popular option is to purchase Certified Silver Dollars. Certified Silver Coins at BGASC are coins that have been professionally graded and encapsulated, by a coin-grading provider such as the Professional Coin Grading Service or the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.

Coins are graded on a 1-70 scale. However, due to the age of Silver Dollars, it’s common to see grades of 65 and lower.

Buying Silver Dollars at BGASC

For any questions regarding Silver Dollars at BGASC, contact our dedicated customer service team today. We can be reached via email, through our online chat feature, or by calling us at 888-992-4272.