Return of the Silver Dollar?

What if I told you that we may see a Morgan or Peace Dollar in the future? It could be a possibility if Congress passes H.R. 3757. If passed, there could be 2021 Commemorative Morgan and Peace Dollars. These coins will commemorate the centennial of the last year of Morgan Dollar and the first year of the Peace Dollar. Of course, we currently have the American Eagle Silver Dollar, but that is more of a bullion coin where the Morgan and Peace Dollars were the last circulating silver dollars in the US.

H.R. 3757

The bill, known as the 1921 Silver Dollar Commemorative Coin Act, was introduced in the House of Representatives on July 15, 2019, by Representatives Emanuel Cleaver from Missouri and Andy Barr from Kentucky.

Surprisingly, these coins will be minted in Carson City which hasn’t minted coins since 1893. The once Carson City mint is now the Nevada State Museum. Carson City did mint Morgan dollars but not as many as the other mint branches. So, some Carson City Morgan Dollars are rare and worth a good amount. 2020 will be the 150th anniversary of the Carson City mint opening. The Nevada State Museum does have one of the mint’s historic coin presses on exhibit.

Here are some of the findings included in this bill:

(5) In December 1921, the Peace silver dollar (in this Act referred to as the “Peace dollar”) was approved by Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, replacing the Morgan silver dollar (in this Act referred to as the “Morgan dollar”) and commemorating the declaration of peace between the United States and the Imperial German government.

(6) The Peace dollar was designed by Anthony de Francisci with the Goddess of Liberty on the obverse and a bald eagle clutching the olive branch (a symbol of peace) on the reverse. The Peace dollars were minted between 1921–1935.

(7) The Morgan dollar was designed by George T. Morgan and was minted from 1878 to 1904, and again in 1921. The obverse depicts a profile portrait of Lady Liberty and on the reverse, a heraldic eagle.

(8) The conversion from the Morgan dollar to the Peace dollar design in 1921 reflected a pivotal moment in American history. The Morgan dollar represents the country’s westward expansion and industrial development in the late 19th century. The Peace dollar symbolizes the country’s coming of age as an international power while recognizing the sacrifices made by her citizens in World War I and celebrating the victory and peace that ensued.

(9) These iconic silver dollars with vastly different representations of Lady Liberty and the American Eagle, reflect a changing of the guard in 1921 in the United States and therefore on the 100th anniversary must be minted again to commemorate this significant evolution of American freedom.

Like the Morgan and Peace Dollars of the past, the 2021 dollars would be 90% silver, weigh 26.73 grams, and have a diameter of 1.5 inches. The bill also states producing uncirculated and proof dollars with a mintage of no more than 500,000.

Surcharges from these commemoratives would go toward the following:

  • 40% to be paid to the American Numismatic Association for the purpose of numismatic educational activities.
  • 40% to be paid to the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, for the purposes of education and commemoration activities relating to World War I and its enduring impact.
  • 20% to be paid to the Nevada State Museum for the purposes of: (1) supporting the preservation of the historic features of the museum relating to the United States Mint, (2) designing interpretive programs that connect visitors to the significance of minting in the United States, the Comstock Lode, and the American West, and (3) to support the activities of the Nevada Division of Museums and History.

1921 Morgan Dollar

Morgan Dollars were minted from 1878 to 1904 when silver reserves were depleted. When the Pittman Act passed in 1918, over 270,000,000 silver dollars were melted, and a new dollar design was considered to designate peace after World War I. With the new design not ready, the Mint started producing Morgan Dollars in May 1921. They had to make new dies since the Treasury destroyed the last of the Morgan dies in 1910. Morgans would be minted at all three existing mint branches: Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. In fact, this would be the only year that they would be minted in Denver since this Mint branch opened in 1906.

1921 Peace Dollar

As promised, the Peace Dollar would be minted in 1921. The first Peace Dollars were minted on December 28, 1921. Philadelphia was the only mint branch with the dies at the time and only minted a little over 1,000,000 of them, making it one of the Peace Dollar’s key dates.

By 1922, Peace Dollars would be minted in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. They kept being minted up to 1928 when silver reserves would be depleted once again. Surprisingly, Peace Dollars would be minted again in 1934 and 1935 at a much smaller percentage than what was minted in the 1920s. I say surprisingly because they were being minted in the midst of the Great Depression and people were hoarding more of these dollars than spending them. There was consideration of minting them in 1936, but quickly reconsidered.

Silver Dollars in the 1960s

Between 1962 and 1964, the US Treasury sold many Morgan and Peace Dollars to the public. During this time, there was also consideration to produce either Morgan or Peace Dollars again. In fact, in 1964, there was consideration of minting 45,000,000 Peace Dollars. With the rise of silver in the 1960s, they decided to stop putting silver in US coins except for Kennedy Half Dollars which would be reduced to 40% silver. This resulted in 364,000 Peace Dollars minted in Denver to be melted. There have been rumors that a few 1964-D Peace Dollars may had made it out of the Mint, though none have been discovered in over 50 years.

How Do You Feel About Morgan and Peace Dollars Returning?

Would you like to see Morgan and Peace Dollars again, even if it is only one year? I think it’s a better idea than the gold Mercury Dimes, Standing Liberty Quarters, and Walking Liberty Half Dollars that were released for their centennial in 2016. I know the Mercury Dimes sold out quickly, but the Standing Liberty Quarters and Walking Liberty Half Dollars were not as lucky.

Granted, if the bill does pass, they will be released as commemoratives for one year. When I was born, only Kennedy Half Dollars had some silver in them, but not for long. It would be nice to see one the United States most popular collected coins minted in my lifetime. I’d love to get both silver dollars as it would be a great addition to my collection. Don’t you agree?

Related Articles

Collecting Morgan Silver Dollars
The Peace Dollar – The 20th Century Silver Dollar
The Luck of the US Dollar Coin

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