1879-S Silver Dollar - 1879-S S$1 NGC MS67 CAC. This Superb, Western branch mint, Gem 1879-S Morgan Dollar has all the characteristics of a coin with such a lofty grade. The surfaces are original and shimmer with frosted devices that show against softly reflective fields. While considered a “white” coin, there is a hint of light tan toning at the rims and on the devices. The strike is excellent, with full details on the hair above Liberty’s ear and the feathers of the eagle’s breast. Abrasion marks are minimal and microscopic and can only be seen with the aid of magnification. The CAC sticker confirms the grade and indicates that the coin fully deserves the assigned grade.
George T. Morgan designed the Morgan silver dollar, which was issued every year from 1878 to 1904 and then again in 1921. Hundreds of millions of Morgan silver dollars were saved in bags of 1,000 each, in bank vaults because the federal government created artificial demand for them to satisfy the Western silver interests. Some were melted in 1918, but large quantities remained in bank vaults and were later bought by investors and collectors. Because many millions of Morgan silver dollars exist today in the hands of the public, it has become the most widely collected coin of its era.
In the late 1870’s a group of silver mine owners convinced Senator William Allison (Republican from Iowa) and Representative Richard Bland (Democrat from Missouri) to support a proposal for a new silver dollar. After much negotiation and intense lobbying by the silver industry, Bland and Allison introduced a bill to resume silver coinage, which had been stopped earlier. Despite the veto of President Rutherford B. Hayes, the Bland-Allison Act became law in February, 1878. It required that the Treasury buy a minimum of two million dollars a month of domestic silver to be coined into dollars. It also gave the silver dollar legal tender status. These became the dollars designed by George T. Morgan. The act attempted to keep silver at artificially high levels. Large quantities of Morgan Dollars were minted, but they did not circulate well and were kept in Treasury storage vaults, which accounts for their availability today in mint state grades. In 1904 production was halted because the supply of bullion was depleted. In 1918 the Pittman Act provided for the return of the Morgan dollar. It made its final appearance in 1921.
Morgan’s design for the dollar shows a close head of Liberty in profile facing left. She wears a headband inscribed LIBERTY. In her hair are cotton, corn, wheat, and tobacco. She wears a modified Phrygian cap and is surrounded with the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM, thirteen stars (seven left and six right), and the date. The reverse shows an eagle with wings raised looking left. In its talons are arrows and olive branch, symbols of preparedness and peace. A wreath is below and the motto IN GOD WE TRUST is above. Except for the eagle’s wing tips, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and ONE DOLLAR circumscribe the design. The mintmark is below the wreath and above the denomination.
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