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"Echoes of Silver: Unveiling the Intriguing Background of the Silver Dollar"

Updated: Jan 22

"The Silver Dollar Renaissance: A Tale of Morgan and Peace Dollars"

Collecting and investing in Morgan and Peace Dollars saw a dramatic rise in the 70's and into the 80's and have become one of the most widely collected coins of the entire U.S. series. Why has the silver dollar been thrust into the limelight of contemporary collecting and investing when in the 1960's, few people weren't even interested? To answer that we will look at several factors. 1. Availability. It was ironic that since silver dollars were not generally used by the public in years past because they were heavy and bulky apart from the old west. Some 570,000,000 Million Morgan dollars were minted between 1878 and 1904. Tragically about 270 MILLION were melted in 1913 and 1919 under the Pitman Act. (which was basically a United States federal law sponsored by Senator Key Pittman of Nevada and enacted on April 23, 1918. The Act authorized the conversion of up to 350,000,000 standard silver dollars into bullion and its sale or use for subsidiary silver coinage, and directed purchase of domestic silver for recoinage of a like number of dollars, most of this Bullion was sold to Great Britain) Then over 52,000,000 Million silver dollars were melted in 1943 for wartime uses. When Silver prices soared in the 1980's up to over $50 dollars an ounce (wouldn't that be nice) over 340,000,000 were thus melted. This leaves us with roughly 250,000,000 Million Morgan’s still in existence. The real question is, how many of these remaining are still in Uncirculated condition? By 1961 about 160,000,000 silver dollars remained in the Treasury vaults. In 1962 the Treasury dug into it's vaults releasing 1898-O's, 99, 1900-1902's. SO their sudden availability sparked interest of speculators, investors, and collectors so then the public started hoarding these silver dollars for their intrinsic value because Silver was approaching a $1.29 an ounce. (wouldn't that also be great to buy Silver at such a price). SO the treasury started releasing bags of uncirculated Morgan Dollars form 1878-1888 and the Numismatic community went nuts as the Treasury kept releasing this iconic coin as they cleaned out their vaults. By late February 1963 lines of people waited to buy the last reaming bags of silver dollars using silver certificates. Only about 3 million being the highly scarce and coveted Carson City Morgan’s remained in the vaults until the 1970. Many of these dollars were then shipped out West being used in the casinos where their use was high were oddly enough people would grind off the dates to keep them out of the hands of collectors (WHAT A SHAME) Gold was too expensive for the average person so only the U.S. Government was able to hoard these coins but they also hoarded millions of Silver Dollars to back their Silver Certificates. It's because of the widespread availability of Uncirculated Silver Dollars that a tremendous market has grown around them. PRICE: Up until 1964 Morgan and Peace Dollars were readily available at most commercial banks at face value (wouldn't that be nice) until the price of silver advanced beyond the $1.29 bullion value contained in a Silver Dollar they were naturally hoarded and disappeared from circulation..Which this is crazy to think about. The 1889-CC "Key Date" in 1963 would go for about $275.00 dollars in Uncirculated condition to a whopping $100,000 for a MS65 in 1991 where NOW the AUCTION RECORD: $881,250 • MS68 • 07-27-2013 • Stack's Bowers. Another is the 1893-S another "Key Date "Said to be the King of All Morgan Dollars" in 1961 went for around $1,200 to a staggering $242,000 in 1991 for a MS65 and NOW AUCTION RECORD: $735,000 • MS65 • 05-21-2018 • Sotheby's

Rumor has it that Kareem Abdul Jabar Basketball player for the Laker's purchased this coin. Probably influenced by Jerry Buss A HUGE COLLECTOR and owner of the L.A. Lakers at the time was an avid coin collector. Other famous individuals that have a passion for coins you probably didn't know about include Buddy Ebsen "famous actor in the 60's", James Earl Jones, needing no introduction if you know the line "No, I AM YOUR FATHER" "NOOOOOOOOOOOO" and even Penny Marshal (Film Director-actress). Besides having a numismatic first name rumor has it she was named this because her brothers were always saving their pennies for a pony. (CUTE!!!!!) By 1977 the single uncirculated grade had been divided into MS60 and MS65 with the release of the Official A.N.A grading standards. The minimum price for a MS65 dollar by then was over $100 by then - quite a jump from just over face value in 1950.Through the BOOM and BUST of the 1980's were prices peaked and valleyed the common date 1881-S in MS65 rose from $35 Dollars in 1979 to $700 in 1986 to around $360 dollars today these coins still captivate and thrill collector's and investor's alike. 



Quick note on the Crime of 1873


The Crime of 1873 refers to the Coinage Act of 1873, which was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on February 12, 1873. This legislative act played a pivotal role in the nation's monetary history by demonetizing silver, putting an end to the minting of silver dollars for circulation. The focus shifted to a gold-based monetary system, contributing to a deflationary environment.

The decision to abandon the free coinage of silver sparked controversy and was seen as favoring gold interests. Critics labeled it the "Crime of '73," believing it adversely affected farmers and debtors who relied on silver-backed currency. The aftermath included economic tensions, debates over bimetallism, and political repercussions, shaping the landscape of monetary policy in the late 19th century.



I hope you found this fun and insightful! Feel free to let me know at I'd love to hear and read your comments!

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