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Coin Of the Month

Uncovering America's Heritage... Coin by Coin

1921 Morgan Silver Dollar

Take it from me as the Mint Police Dog, this coin is arresting!  What captures me is that more people seem to like the Morgan silver dollar now than while it was being made.

In the late 1800s, people weren't very excited about silver dollars, which were large and heavy.  Few people used them except in the West.  A law was passed to stop silver dollars from being made in 1873, but in 1878, the Bland-Allison Act brought them back.

Why?  Coining silver dollars was a good way to use the tons of silver that was pouring from the Comstock Lode in northern Nevada.  A branch of the United States Mint was even set up in Carson City, Nevada, so coins could be minted close to the silver's source.  But the mine stopped producing soon after, and the Carson City Mint soon closed.

George T. Morgan designed both sides of this coin.  As mint marks on the coins show, this coin was struck at five different US Mint locations during the years it was made.  When plenty of dollars were circulating and silver was scarce, minting temporarily stopped for these dollars.

Morgan silver dollars were minted for one more year, in 1921.  But, to celebrate the end of World War I that same year, a special commemorative dollar was created, nicknamed the Peace Dollar.  People liked this coin so much that the Peace Dollar design took the place of Morgan's as the regular silver dollar during the following years.  (Plinky presented the Peace Dollar as the December 1999 Coin of the Month.)

Many of these Morgan dollars were melted down, mostly when silver prices were high.  But today, many collectors love to come across a Morgan silver dollar.  And that includes me!

—Nero

Nero, the Mint Police Dog

Teacher Feature

Image shows front of the Morgan dollar.
Obverse:  One of George T. Morgan's models for Miss Liberty was a Philadelphia schoolteacher. She became known as "the silver dollar girl."

Image shows back of the Morgan dollar.
Reverse:  Morgan's eagle holds arrows and an olive branch, which symbolize strength and peace.



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