Understanding the Amazing History of Silver American Dollar Coins and What They Mean Today
How would life be if there was no currency? How would we trade? What legal tender would we use? Prior to the existence of currency, business was done based on the exchange of what one had in excess with what one lacked. Due to apparent weaknesses in barter trade, merchants decided to use precious gems and stones as the item to value in transactions. This then ushered in the era of precious metals such as gold and silver. Ultimately, money became what is now the globally used legal tender. To wind the clock just a bit, the precious metal craze was still at play between 1700 to 1930 when American dollar coins were made of silver. These coins provided the balance between art, value and the money function. This makes these coins a great collector’s item.
Silver coins are no new thing on the planet especially considering the Greek Drachma. In the days after the US gained independence, silver was being used as the mint standard because the state had large amounts of metal lying in deposits all over. The thinking of making coins from precious metals was driven by the desired to secure the coins value based on the value of the precious metal used to make it. For a while, silver had been abandoned, with a preference for gold taking priority, but it made a comeback later in the 1900s in the form of the Peace dollar and Morgan dollar.
The Bland-Allison Act of 1878, was responsible for the development of the Morgan dollar, as it made it possible to mint a coin using two metals. The silver dollar coin, in this case, featured a new design brought forth by George Morgan. Some of the features to look out for on the top end are: Lady of Liberty’s head, The US motto- From Many, One, the year of pressing and 13 stars. The other side has an eagle holding arrows and an olive branch. The coin represents a blend of history and novelty.
In 1918, there was the need for the US mint to press more silver coins, and with a new design in mind, the peace dollar was brought forth. The Peace dollar is a tribute to America’s victory in the 1st world war. The top end of the coin has the Lady of Liberty with a radiant crown, the US motto and the date of pressing. The lower end has the customary eagle, with an olive branch in its talons, the US motto and the mint mark of the individual mint. Because, Peace dollars are rare to find, any collector is sure to want to get their hands on them.
To wrap it up, the increase of silver expenses around the late 1920s marked the end of silver as a coinage metal in American currency history. Today, silver dollar coins are items of collection as their value lies in the metal itself. Therefore, as a collector, it wouldn’t hurt to have some silver dollar coins in your collection.