OverviewOne of the most collected silver coins in U.S. history, the Morgan silver dollar is a thing of Old West legend. Designed by George T. Morgan and first struck in 1878, it was issued to circulate the huge quantity of silver mined from the Comstock Lode.
DesignThe obverse (front) has Lady Liberty’s head encircled by date of issue, 13 stars for the original 13 colonies, “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” Latin for “Out of Many, One,” which was chosen as the first United States motto in 1776.The reverse has a bald eagle with spread wings spread perched on a branch and arrows, and partially surrounded by a wreath. Above its head is “In God We Trust.” Around the rim is “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” separated by stars from “ONE DOLLAR.”Morgan, who studied at the British Royal Mint, placed an “M” on both sides of the coin as his signature. He slightly altered the coin’s design when it was reintroduced in 1921.
MintingThe largest and heaviest silver coin since the Civil War, the Morgan silver dollar is 0.77344 oz. of pure silver. It was minted from 1878- 1904, when the government exhausted its silver bullion supply. Then Congress passed the Pittman Act in 1918, recalling over 270 million silver dollars for melting and reminting. The Morgan silver was minted one last time in 1921, and then it was replaced by the silver Peace Dollar.