George T. Morgan, coin designer

The 1889 Morgan Silver Dollar was one of many silver dollars that was designed by George T. Morgan and minted in the United States in the time span of 1878 to 1904. Morgan started his minting career as an assistant engraver and worked up to becoming a Chief Engraver. His excellent design skills kept him as Chief Engraver for eight years. Although his name is famous for many U.S. coins, he is most known for The Morgan Dollar.

Morgan Silver Dollars

Morgan Silver Dollars have become very popular with coin collectors and are still very sought after today. They are very sturdy and have help up through many years, as investments as well as collection items. Their durability is the result of the high amount of silver that goes into each coin, over 24 grams per coin. The Morgan Dollar is worth a lot more than its original value because of the high silver content. The content of the 1889 Morgan Dollar is .900 silver and .100 copper with a total weight of 26.73 grams.

The entire collection of Morgan Dollars was minted in five city mints: Carson City, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Denver and San Francisco. The mintmark can be found on the back of the coin right below the eagle’s tail feathers. Each mintmark designated which city the dollar was minted in. For instance, “CC was for Carson City, O for New Orleans, D for Denver, etc.” Although all of the Morgan Dollars have more value than their face value, the 1889 Morgan Silver Dollar has the most value and is the most sought after coin in the entire Morgan Dollar series. This is partly because of its connection to the west. Carson City had the lowest mintage so Carson City coins held the most value. The Morgan Silver Dollar is widely enjoyed and sought after because of its Western lore and explicit historical design. The silver that was used in its design was from the Comstock Lode, which reminded the people of the one of the great “silver strikes” in history.

Design of the Morgan Silver Dollar

The front of the 1889 Morgan Silver Dollar has Lady Liberty facing left. Circling around her is the date of the coin (on the bottom), the words “E Pluribus Unum” above her and the thirteen stars on both sides. The design of Lady Liberty is actually the result of sketch Morgan made of Anna Willess Williams, a Philadelphia schoolteacher. When “E Pluribus Unum” was first chosen to be used, it meant “Out of many, one”. The reverse side of the 1889 Morgan Silver Dollar has a bald eagle sitting on a combination of branches and arrows with its wings spread out. A wreath surrounds part of the eagle and the words “In God we trust” are right above his head. The rim of the 1889 Morgan Silver Dollar has “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” on top and “ONE DOLLAR” on the bottom, with a star separating the two phrases. The bald eagle was not an instant hit with the public when it first came out, but they came to love this symbol.


Source by Rachel Barr