If you have been collecting coins for some time, you’ll know about the plight of the dollar coin. There have been times in US History where there have been periods with no dollar coins. You would think that the dollar coin would be popular, especially in the United States’s beginning, but this is not so.
The first US Silver Dollars produced would be the Flowing Hair Dollars in 1794 and 1795. A unique 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar would set a record in January 2013 when it was sold in auction for $10,016,875.
The Draped Bust Dollars came out from 1795 to 1804. Supposedly the dollars that were minted in 1804 had 1803 on them. In 1806, the US Government suspended silver dollars being minted. They wouldn’t be considered again for 25 years.
In 1834, President Andrew Jackson wanted to send proof sets of each US denomination to the leaders of the Far East. There hadn’t been a Silver Dollar produced in 30 years, so a new one would be produced for these sets. For some reason, instead of putting 1834 on the dollars, 1804 was placed because that would have been the next year that would had been produced. There are less than 20 known to exist so you know it’s valuable.
Silver Dollars were again allowed into circulation in 1831, but wasn’t considered until 1835. Christian Gobrecht designed a new dollar coin that would be known as the Gobrecht Dollar. The initial dollars had Gobrecht’s name showing right about the year which some didn’t like. So, it would become less noticeable. They would only be minted in 1836, 1838 and 1839 and only a couple thousand were made. Good luck in obtaining one of them.
A rebirth of the US Dollar came in 1840 with the release of the Seated Liberty Dollar. The Seated Liberty survived the 1840’s and 1850’s, but was about to encounter its first obstacle, the Civil War. With New Orleans becoming part of the Confederacy, Philadelphia would be the only mint producing them. With the war extending from 1861 to 1865, there was a significant increase of hoarding silver and gold coins. As a result, silver coins including the dollar were reduced during that period. Production of the Seated Liberty Dollar continued until 1873 when the US and Europe went through a depression that would become known as the Panic of 1873. There were a number of issues that brought this depression about including the US Civil War, the Franco-Prussian War and big fires in Chicago and Boston. When the Germans stopped minting silver coins, the US followed suit with the Coinage Act of 1873. The Act would change minting silver and gold coins to the gold standard. Future silver dollars would only be traded to the Far East giving the name Trade Dollars. With this new act, no silver dollars would be produced for the US for five years.
In early 1878, the Bland-Allison Act would return the Silver Dollar to the United States and introduce the most popular US Dollar, the Morgan Dollar. The Morgan Dollar was popular not just to collectors but investors as well. There are many Morgan Dollars that are attainable, but of course there are the tough ones like the 1893-S, 1895-P and the Carson City Dollars. As popular as the Morgan Dollar would be, they would stop minting them in 1904 when the silver bullion supply was significantly reduced. With the Pittman Act of 1918, over 270,000,000 dollars were melted and the silver dollar would resume with 1921. This would be the last year of the Morgan Dollar.
As the US would see the end of the Morgan Dollar, they would be introduced to the Peace Dollar in 1921. The Peace Dollar started off well like the Morgan Dollar, but as before, a Great Depression would reduce demand of the silver dollar. None would be minted between 1929 and 1933. Mintage of the Peace Dollar would resume in 1934, but would be short lived. 1935 would unexpectedly be the last year of the Peace Dollar though there had been some consideration in 1936 to continue it. Though government silver reduced during the early 1960’s, there was consideration of minting a 1964 Peace Dollar. Unfortunately, the government was afraid that most people would hoard the new dollars than spend it, it was decided to stop production and melt the 316,000 Peace Dollars that were minted in Denver.
The Coinage Act of 1965 removed the silver in dimes and quarters, and reduced the amount in Kennedy Half Dollars from 90% to 40%. After 1970, the silver was removed from the half dollar as well which would have no silver in any US circulating coin from 1971 to present.
When general and former President Dwight D. Eisenhower passed away on March 28, 1969, Congress decided to put him on a dollar with no silver. President Nixon didn’t seem to have a problem with that, seeing that he was Eisenhower’s Vice President back in the 1950’s. It was decided that the circulated dollars would be clad and collector coins (blue and brown packages) would be 40% silver. A lot of Ike Dollars were produced, but people weren’t using them because of their size and weight. Imagine having a number of Ike Dollars in your pocket. The Eisenhower Dollar would only last from 1971-1978.
By the time it was decided to produce the Susan B. Anthony Dollars in 1979, the dollars were reduced in size and for the first time, a woman would appear on a circulating US coin. Unfortunately, this dollar would be unpopular even quicker than the Ike Dollar because its size was close to the Washington Quarters. The SBA Dollar only lasted 3 years from 1979 to 1981. The one place that saw a lot of the Susan B. Anthony Dollars was the Post Office. After all, the Post Office is a Federal building.
The United States would go through another lull with no dollars for the next 18 years. In 1999, the US mint would produce another set of Susan B. Anthony Dollars for vending machines.
In 1987, the Canadian Mint, seeing the problems with the Susan B. Anthony Dollar, made their dollars with nickel and bronze giving it a gold color. It would be known as a ‘Loonie’ because of the loon on the coin. With some popularity of the loonie, the Canadian one dollar banknotes would be eliminated in 1989. In 1996, they would also introduce the toonie, which was a combination of two and loonie. Though it was a two dollar coin, it would have a bear on it instead of a loon. Why didn’t they call it a ‘bearie’? This coin would eliminate the two dollar banknote.
Seeing the success of the loonie, the US mint started minting dollar coins in a gold color with the introduction of the Sacagawea Dollar in 2000. Once again, the dollar would not be popular and would be removed from circulation in 2002 and would be available for collectors. In an attempt to popularize the coin, they would put a different reverse each year starting in 2009. It didn’t help and would be removed from circulation again in 2012.
With the popularity of the State Quarters, the US mint produced Presidential Dollars starting in 2007. There would be four different Presidents displayed each year except the last year (2016) which would have three. Unpopular like the Sacagawea Dollars, they would be removed from circulation in 2012.
2018 saw the introduction of the American Innovation Dollar which will be minted until 2032. Will people find any interest in this dollar?
So, what do you think about the dollar coin here in the US? It seems to be working in Canada. Why is it having problems here? Why doesn’t the public accept them? I wonder what the future of the US Dollar will be.
Hello interesting article on,American dollar coins,I am not very educated in coins or coin collecting but I do see a pattern here where the dollar coin only circulates for a short period of time before taken off the production line, because of its unpopularity.
The older and the more rear the coin is seem to be worth a lot of money.
As a whole the,American dollar is strong as in the sense of it’s worth compared to the world stock market.
Thanks for your review,Kevin.
Hey Sonny! Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, the American Dollar has had problems since the beginning between the silver content and popularity.
WOW! You have struck PAY DIRT with a site as interesting and well written as this! Good Job.
I am quite the novice in coin collecting and will be adding your site to my study guides for sure. I found myself drifting into as many of your pages and posts as I could. Your Glossary is especially valuable. I will be back again and again.
Oh, please help me with this… what contributed to the uniqueness of the 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar you wrote of that set a record in 2013 when it was sold at auction for $10,016,875? That is an incredible piece of trivia.
Thanks for the comment on my site! I hope you do come back!
In terms of $10 million dollar Flowing Hair Dollar, you have to understand that it was the first year, a little over 100 are known to exist and this particular coin was graded the highest at Specimen-66. Not bad for an over 200 year coin. A grade of 70 for a coin is considered perfect.
I very much enjoyed your website especially bringing back fond memories of when I was a kid and used to go to the bank with a silver bill to get a silver dollar for my collection. I remember those Whitman books and searching through the change for matches. I found your site very informative and it has given me yearnings to start collecting again. Thanks.
Thanks for the great comment Sam! I’m glad you enjoyed my site and hope you come back again. I’m hoping to get people interested in coin collecting again.
Hello there I thought I’d leave another comment as I had to read your article again as there is a lot of information.I found it interesting because of the history,I think you mentioned that the first silver dollar was the flowing hair styles back in 1794 to 1971 with the last silver coin being the,Kennedy Half Dollar.
I’m not sure what the future lies with the US Silver dollar coin I only can guess but I think it is like a cycle and silver dollars will be produced again maybe in another 20 years.
Hey Sonny! The 1935 Peace Dollar would be the last Silver Dollar minted in circulation. After 1970, there were no circulated coins in the US that contained silver. Unless they find more silver deposits, the only way we would probably see silver coins in circulation again would be to melt the older coins like they did back in 1918. I don’t think that will happen.