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Rare Coins 101: The 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar

Imagine designing an unpopular coin with the public and expecting never to be seen again. But instead, it became one of America’s best-known and rarest coins.

The 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar, also known as the Liberty silver dollar, was the last coin of the 19th century. The passage of the 1890 Sherman Silver Act led to a massive drop in the demand for silver, and the Morgan dollar was suspended in 1904. The series was considered dead – until 1921.

How The 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar Came Into Existence

As a result of World War I, the Great Britain government faced an economic crisis that resulted in the United States melting portions of its silver coins to prevent Britain from crashing. This was known as the Pittman Act of 1918, and the majority of silver melted under the act were Morgan dollars minted from 1878 to 1904.

To help restore what was lost in silver, the Pittman Act also required the United States to strike a replacement silver dollar. Which is how the silver dollar made a reappearance in 1921.

The 1921 Peace Dollar was the replacement; however, the design was not finalized in time. Therefore, the Morgan dollar series was forced back into circulation. Since the Morgan series was assumed dead, the plan was destroyed. This caused the Mint to create a new design for the 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar.

The 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar Design

The new design was created by George T. Morgan, who re-engraved a slightly different version of Lady Liberty’s head into the coin.

The design marked a significant United States milestone as it did not follow the traditional Greek style but rather an American-inspired design.

Morgan used a model, Anna Williams, for the design of Lady Liberty to be placed on the front of the coin. He dressed her in a cap of wheat and cotton to signify the agricultural history of America. The back of the 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar featured a beautifully designed eagle perched atop arrows and carrying an olive branch. This design shows America’s readiness to defend borders if under attack and a desire for peace.

The edge of the coin is reeded, and the physical size of the coin is large, thick, and heavy, which are the features people hated most back then.

The re-minting of the 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar didn’t even last one year before being discontinued. However, the coin was minted in large quantities in the short run. The year 1921 holds the record for the most Morgan Dollars stamped.

The 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar Today

The 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar and the 1921 Peace coin are in high demand by collectors.

The features that made the coin unpopular in 1921 are the features that make the coin incredible today. The large size and historical significance make the coin highly sought after by different people.

Depending on the coin’s condition, the value ranges from $23 to $47. Factors like mintmark, date, and errors also determine the coin’s value.

Do you have a 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar sitting around?

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