Morgan Silver Dollar
The truly correct name for this coin is the "Liberty Silver Dollar" however, as is somewhat common regarding American coinage, the coin has become nearly synonymous with the name of it's designer, George T. Morgan. In a bit of irony this coin has become one of the most collected U.S. coins ever, but it was designed by a man from England. The story goes like this; in 1876 the Director of the Mint was Henry Richard Linderman and he was undertaking the redesign of America's silver coins. He contacted the Deputy Master of the Royal Mint in London looking for a talented die-sinker who would be willing to take the position of Assistant Engraver at the Philadelphia Mint. The Deputy Master suggested George Morgan, and the wheels were set in motion. Morgan was to work at the Philadelphia Mint under then Chief Engraver William Barber. Barber was a man of questionable talent historically, though his reputation as a man of self-importance has remained intact throughout the years. At the time there was a myriad of legislations afoot regarding the coining of U.S. Silver Dollars, and as usual within government, one bad idea replaced the next. The Bland-Allison Act officially created the law requiring a new one ounce silver coin in 1873, resulting in the ultimate creation of the "Morgan Dollar", and the new coin entered circulation in 1878. More legislation ended the production of the coin in 1904, and yet another batch of laws required that the coin be minted in massive quantities for one year: 1921.
Design And Specifications
The front, or obverse of the coin features a left facing "Lady Liberty" wearing not only a coronet bearing the word "Liberty", but also a wreath, and a Phrygian cap. An artist friend of Morgan's suggested he use Anna Willess Williams of Philadelphia as his model for Lady Liberty. Williams sat for five sessions as Morgan drafted her profile for integration into his design. Morgan found Anna's profile to be "Perfect". The front of the coin is completed by 7 small stars to the left of Lady Liberty, the words "E Pluribus Unum" arcing over her head, and 6 more small stars to the right of her head, for a total of 13 stars that represent the original 13 U.S. Colonies. Under Lady Liberty is the date of the coin's minting. The reverse of the coin features an eagle holding an olive branch in one talon and arrows in the other. Directly above the eagle are the words “IN GOD WE TRUST” while directly below the eagle is a wreath of laurel tied with a ribbon. Around the circumference of the coin are the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “ONE DOLLAR”.
The coin has a diameter of 38.1 mm and a weight of 26.73 grams. 90% of this mass is silver, and the remaining 10% is copper. The coin has a reeded edge like the present U.S. Dime and Quarter.
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