TCHTrove's Blog

19 Sep 2022

More history of United States Silver Dollars

Coins-United States | TCHTrove

A bit of history about the Morgan dollar.

The Morgan dollar, also known as the "Liberty Head" dollar, was produced from 1878 - 1904 when production stopped. It was restarted in the final year 1921. Although they had a short comeback, over 86 million Morgan dollars were produced from all 3 mints that year. In December of 1921, a new design was approved and went into production. While officially known also as a "Liberty Head" dollar, it was quickly dubbed the "Peace Type", or Peace dollar because of the inscription of "Peace" on the reverse. The new design was issued to commemorate the new found world peace after the end of WWI. Just over 1 million pieces of the "Peace Type" minted in 1921 were issued for circulation in January of 1922.

The Morgan dollar has long been the most widely collected US coin. These coins are valued for their silver content, beauty, and historic significance, as they represent a time in American history when the pioneers were exploring, and expanding the new western territories.

The Carson City minted coins have held a particular interest to collectors for these and many other reasons. These coins were minted from the silver produced from the "Comstock lode". This was one of the richest silver mines ever discovered in America. Named for Henry Comstock, who was part-owner of the land where it was discovered in 1859. Many new mining towns popped up in the area, but none had found anything like this. The HUGE output of the mine over the next 10 years was enough to justify the establishment of the new minting facility at Carson City, Nevada in 1870. During the peak years, 1876 - 1878, the mine produced nearly $36 million of silver ore annually. While only operational for a short 24 years, the Carson City mint produced millions of silver coins, including the 13 coin series of Morgan dollars, from 1878 - 1893.

In 1935, the inscription on the silver certificate was changed to allow them to be redeemed for "silver", rather than just "silver dollars", as production of silver dollars had ceased. Redemption of silver dollars was slow until around 1958. The number of dollar coins being withdrawn rose consistently, with a peak in 1963 & '64. The supply of silver dollar coins held by the US Treasury had dwindled, until 1964. In March of '64, during an audit of the Treasury Department, they discovered nearly 3,000 bags, containing over 3 million silver dollars, mostly from the Carson City mint. It was quickly nicknamed, "The GSA Hoard". Redemption of silver dollar coins was paused, while they decided what to do with those coins. (How does the US Treasury, "misplace" over 3 million dollars in silver coins?)

In 1970, the GSA (General Services Administration) was authorized to sell this "hoard" to the public. They assembled teams of GSA workers and numismatic experts to sort out the remaining silver dollars. Around 2.9 million of which were Carson City minted, with the balance being from other mints, or "Peace Type" coins. They sorted the coins into 4 separate categories. There were nearly 2 million Carson City coins deemed "Uncirculated". Next there were around 700,000 considered uncirculated, but inferior due to flaws or various sorts of abrasions and patina. The next category was the "Mixed circulated Carson City" coins. Considered circulated because they showed SLIGHT signs of wear from commercial use. These were slightly confusing for collectors, as most were actually as good, or better than many of the coins classified as "uncirculated". The fourth category was for the coins from other mints, or of the Peace Type.

There were 5 separate sales held in 1973 & 1974. Sales were rather slow though, and after completion, there were still over 1 million silver dollar coins remaining. What was left, were mainly Carson City coins that had been placed in the sturdy plastic slabs, and packaged in mint boxes. These remained in the vault until the precious metals market exploded in late 1979 and into the early '80's. The remaining coins were sold in frenzy, with bid prices quickly rising over just a few months. These were the last silver dollars that were held by the US Treasury Department.

Photos provided are of my 1881 CC Uncirculated Morgan silver dollar. Originally packed in a sturdy plastic holder, and comes in the black box, with blue velvety lining, and includes the certificate by the US government. The inscription on the inside of the box, a message from then President Richard Nixon reads, "As we approach Americas Bicentennial, this historic silver dollar is one of the most valued reminders of our national heritage."Currently ungraded, but my wife & I have talked about sending it in.

Information compiled from:

United States Government / 1972 certificate

Whitman's Red Book 2022


Coin Week June 20, 2022

And others....


AC coin$

Level 6

Excellent blog. Loved the Carson City beautiful casing and, of couse, the contents. Great reading your blog. Best regards.


Level 6

Now this is a great blog on Morgan Dollars! Really well done! That's a beautiful Carson City you have! ; )


Level 4

Very nice blog on some beautiful coins. I have all three Mints 1921 Morgan, a very rough looking 1893-CC, and a 1896 that I've been wanting to send off to be graded, but it's hard to part with them. Thanks again for the history lesson and the info I didn't know about.


Level 4

My set is far from complete. I have 74 of the 97 possible dates, including the’81 CC. Likely will never own the’95 proof. 😿


Level 7

Great blog. My history I remember the silver certificate started in 1878.. I also have a GSA Morgan. Graded by NGC. MS 64. Its nice. There are still allot out there!.I believe there were 12,389.484 coins in the G.S.A. hoard!. Then my math is not that great!!

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Thanks for revisiting these magnificent coins!


Level 6

Now this is more like it. This is a blog. I got my GSA. I had NGC slab it in the holder because I got a nice one. I enjoyed your info and bibliography. Thanks.


Level 4

Yeah, I had an ‘82 as well but sold it. Thanks for the comment.

It's Mokie

Level 6

My Dad was able to get 3 of the CC Dollars for $30 each and a fourth (1882 CC) at $15. Those were the days. Thanks for your research.

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