Quick Facts About the Morgan Silver Dollar

1878 “7TF” Morgan Silver Dollar, circulated condition showing normal wear

  • Officially named the “Liberty Head dollar”
  • Designed by George T. Morgan, then an Assistant Engraver at the U.S. Mint (later the Chief Engraver)
  • Minted every year from 1878 to 1904, and then again in 1921
  • Minted at five different branches of the U.S. Mint (Philadelphia, New Orleans, Carson City, Denver, and San Francisco)
  • Originally minted to use silver from the largest silver strike in American history, the Comstock lode
  • Only circulated widely in the American west
  • Was very unpopular with the public because of its weight and size and criticisms of aspects of its design
  • Nicknamed the “Cartwheel” because of its size and weight
  • Nicknamed the “Buzzard dollar” because people thought the bird on the reverse side of the coin looked more like a buzzard than an eagle
  • A Philadelphia schoolteacher named Anna Williams was the model for Lady Liberty
  • Morgan dollars have a “reeded edge” (small parallel lines stretching around the circumference of the coin)
  • The Morgan dollar is one of seven U.S. coins designed by George T. Morgan
  • George Morgan’s initial of “M” appears on both the obverse (front) and reverse sides of the coin
  • Morgan dollars are 90% silver and 10% copper and weigh 26.73 grams
  • Over a quarter million of the older Morgan dollars were melted down to mint the 1921 Morgan dollars
  • The Morgan dollar was replaced after 1921 with the Peace Dollar