Among the many popular coins in the world of numismatics, few are as beloved and admired as the Carson City Morgan Dollar. These beautiful silver dollars were struck during the days of the American Wild West and are sought by coin collectors and investors of all types. . Carson City Morgan Dollars were minted in the years of 1878-1885 and 1889-1893 when all coin production ceased at the historical mint.
After a number of setbacks in the construction and set-up of the Mint, the facility finally began producing coins in February 1870. The first coins struck in the Carson City Mint were Silver Dollars of the Seated Liberty type, followed by a number of gold coins. Despite this early output, the Mint did not produce coins in any great numbers until 1876, but mostly not until the Bland-Allison Act of 1878, which mandated the increased production of silver coins. It was at this point that the Morgan Silver Dollar was born.
These silver dollars were not necessary to function within the country’s economy as legal tender. In fact, the coins were not needed for general circulation at all; rather, the coins were a result of political pressure being applied to the government by the owners of the silver mines. These Nevada mine owners, whose mines were producing enormous amounts of silver from the Comstock Lode, soon wielded large influence due to their quickly-increasing wealth. The miners needed something to do with all of their silver, and the Morgan Dollar ultimately became the answer. By edict of the Bland-Allison Act, the US Treasury had to purchase two to four million dollars of silver per month from the mine owners.
The design of the Carson City Morgan Dollar is a truly unique and fascinating story. When British engraver George T. Morgan needed a model for the Miss Liberty that would adorn the coin’s obverse side, he located a young Philadelphia schoolteacher named Miss Anna W. Williams to sit as a model. For the sake of propriety and the young lady’s privacy, Morgan tried to keep the model’s identity a secret. Her identity was ultimately discovered a short time later, which possibly led to the dissolution of her marriage engagement.
On the obverse of the Morgan Dollar, Lady Liberty wears wheat and cotton in her hair to symbolize the reconciliation of the northern and southern states after the Civil War and the cap of liberty on her head, symbolizing a hard-fought freedom. The reverse of the Morgan Dollar features the majestic American bald eagle, holding both the arrows of war and the olive branch of peace within its talons.
These features, as well as the stories that go along with them, hold great appeal to coin collectors of all types. The fact that these silver dollars represent one of the greatest and most important eras of our young country gives the Carson City Morgan Dollar great historical value as well. Add to this the fact that some Morgan Dollars are among the rarest and most desirable silver coins available on the market today.
The most notable of the series are the following:
1884-CC Branch Mint Proof Strike
1893-CC Branch Mint Proof Strike