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1921 Silver Dollar

The 1921 silver dollar also goes by the name of the Morgan Silver Dollar. 1921 was the last year the Morgan Silver Dollars were minted. The 1921 silver dollar has the same composition as the other Morgan Silver Dollars. It is 90% silver and 10% copper. It was named after its designer, George T. Morgan.

1921 Silver Dollar

About the 1921 Silver Dollar

The Morgan Silver Dollars, of which the 1921 silver dollar was the final coinage, were produced from 1878 to 1904. At that time, there was an abundance of silver dollars along with a small amount of silver bullion, so in 1918, 270,000,000 silver dollars were melted down for their silver content. In 1921, minting of the Morgan Silver Dollar resumed for one year at all five US Mints. Here are their locations and the mint marks that identify them: Carson City, Nevada (CC), Denver, Colorado (D), New Orleans (O), San Francisco, California (S), and Philadelphia (no mint mark).

In 1878, only the US Mints at Philadelphia, Carson City, and San Francisco made the Morgan Silver Dollars. The US Mint in New Orleans began producing them in 1879 and the US Mint in Denver minted Morgan Silver Dollars in 1921. The 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar was replaced with the Peace Dollar issued because of the end of World War I.

On the front of these coins was a portrait of Lady Liberty facing to the left. Around her are the words “E Pluribus Unum” and the date. Morgan’s monogram is on her neck. On the reverse side of the coins is an eagle. Since he looked scrawny (some called it the “buzzard coin”), the design was quickly changed to give him a fuller breast. The eagle holds arrows and an olive branch. The words “United States of America” and “One Dollar” are inscribed around him. Mintmarks are found at the bottom, between the D and O in the Word DOLLAR.

Coin Values

Several things are taken into account when determining the value of a coin. These are: how scarce it is, errors on the coin, and its condition. Many of the Morgan Silver Dollars were melted down for the silver, so some are rare. Also, some US Mints didn’t make as many coins as others, so the coins from these Mints are rare. Errors come from striking the coin twice or from a flaw on the die, which is the engraved stamp that makes the images and numbers on the coin. Condition is appraised by evaluating the luster and details. The finer the details and shine, the more valuable it is. Mint State coins bring top dollar. These are near perfect and were never circulated, so they were not worn down at all.

All the US Mints made the 1921 dollars, so they are not very rare. A few of them are somewhat valuable and can go for over a thousand dollars. Here is the range from a much worn coin to a Mint State perfect coin.

  • 1921 $11 to $150
  • 1921D $11 to $310
  • 1921S $11 to $1,850

Other 1921 dollars would have value from their silver content. Currently, the melt value is higher than the value coin collectors would pay for some of these coins. As of October 27, 2010, the melt value of a 1921 dollar is $18.22.

The US Mint

In 1792, the United States began making coins. The first US Mint was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The US Mint started with gold coins that were called Eagles, Half Eagles and Quarter Eagles and had the value of $10, $5, and $2.50 respectively. Silver coins had the denominations of dollars, half dollars, quarters, dimes, and half dimes. Copper coins were the cent and half cent. The first coin that was circulated was the copper cent.

At first, all coins had to have the word “liberty” and a symbol of liberty on the front. The back had to have an eagle and the words “United States of America”. Since that time, there have been many changes to both the design of coins and their composition.