Morgan Silver Dollars (1878-1921)
The Morgan silver dollar is one of the most famous and highly collected U.S. coins of all time. Known as the "King of America's coins," it was minted in 90% silver from 1878-1904 and 1921, then once more – in 99.9% pure silver – in 2021. Littleton Coin Company is proud to offer a large assortment of these popular coins in a wide range of options. Choose from a multitude of years, mint marks and grades. Our Morgan dollars come in singles and sets, and are available in various presentations, including case and album options.
Finding Morgan silver dollars for sale from a source you can trust can sometimes be a challenge. With several simple ways to order, along with our expertise and unparalleled customer service, we aim to make coin collecting easy. At Littleton Coin, you can buy Morgan silver dollars with confidence, knowing every item has been closely inspected to ensure it meets our strict quality standards. Browse our selection below to add a special piece of American history to your collection.
The Birth of the Morgan Silver Dollar
To fully understand the historical significance of Morgan silver dollars, we must go back to the era of our nation's great gold and silver rushes – particularly 1859 and the great Comstock Lode...
America's Legendary Comstock Lode
In 1859, Patrick McLaughlin and Peter O'Riley were prospecting in Six Mile Canyon near Carson City. Digging a ditch to collect water, they found rich black soil that yielded a layer of glittering ore. Experienced miners, the two recognized gold and eagerly began washing away the heavy black soil. Their find became known as the Comstock vein, and captured the attention of California gold rush veteran J.F. Stone. Curious about the heavy black soil being thrown aside by the ton, he sent a sample to be assayed in California.
The soil turned out to be incredibly rich in silver, yielding $4,700 a ton! Over the next two decades, the Comstock Lode produced more than $300 million in precious metals – and that was in 19th-century dollars. Today, the Comstock Lode of Nevada is known as the Queen of the Silver Strikes. It yielded incredible amounts of silver, and helped give rise to the Morgan silver dollar.
Silver Dollars Return With the Morgan Dollar
First-year Morgan dollars have an extra measure of interest and historical significance. Five years before the first Morgan silver dollars were struck, the Mint Act of February 1873 had stopped producing circulating Liberty Seated silver dollars in favor of gold dollars and silver Trade dollars primarily used in foreign trade. Silver dollars made up less than one percent of circulating silver, so most people weren't affected.
But silver mine owners were outraged. They lobbied and pressured their congressmen, and after five years of heated debate, Congress authorized the production of new silver dollars in 1878.
George T. Morgan and the Goddess of Liberty
The new silver dollar was named for its designer, the English-born assistant engraver at the Philadelphia Mint, George T. Morgan. Morgan searched for an American girl to represent Liberty, and his friend (and renowned landscape painter) Thomas Eakins suggested Anna Willess Williams, a fellow art student and schoolteacher.
At first, Williams was reluctant to pose for Morgan and insisted on strict secrecy. She sat for Morgan five times, and he later declared she had a nearly perfect profile.
Special 100th Anniversary Issues
To celebrate the centennial anniversary of the last Morgan silver dollars being struck, special 100th Anniversary Morgan dollars were struck in 2021 at the Denver, San Francisco and Philadelphia Mints. Unlike classic 90% silver Morgans, the new Morgan dollars were minted in 99.9% pure silver, with some coins bearing special privy marks for New Orleans ("O") and Carson City ("CC").
The Morgan silver dollar remains one of the most popular collector coins of all time! Morgan dollars were struck at five U.S. mints – Philadelphia, New Orleans, Carson City, Denver and San Francisco – and the series has many key-date issues and exciting, sought-after varieties. Learn more about this beloved series in Littleton's Collectors Guide to Morgan Silver Dollars.