New Orleans minted Morgan Silver Dollars
The Civil War was over, the country was in a period of re-building, and the New Orleans Mint had just opened after more than a decade of sitting empty because of war and a lack of funding. While the world around the facility continued on, the purpose of the New Orleans Mint had been served for the most part until the Bland-Allison Act of 1879.
This law, which provided for the minting of millions of Morgan Silver Dollars, rejuvenated the old Mint, which by 1884 would make nearly ten-million Morgan Silver Dollars. The New Orleans Mint, in fact, was the only mint that had fallen under Confederate control that had re-opened to produce millions of United States coins. It is currently the oldest standing Federal mint facility in the country.
1884-O Morgan Silver Dollar design
The Morgan Silver Dollar was conceived at a point in history when the government mandated that millions of coins be minted (Bland-Allison Act of 1878) so the design had to be timeless, simple, and strong. George T. Morgan, a die-sinker from England, was hired by the U.S. Mint to carry out the design for the new coin.
The obverse design of the Morgan Silver Dollar employs Lady Liberty as the main theme, with the cap of Liberty upon her head. Tucked into a plain ribbon-like tiara displaying the word "LIBERTY" are bits of wheat and cotton, symbolic gestures of agriculture and its success in the nation. Around the edge of the design are thirteen stars, one for each original colony, bisected by the motto "E Pluribus Unum." The year-date shows at the bottom of the design underneath the truncated bust of Liberty.
The reverse design of the Morgan Silver Dollar shows an Eagle, which by law was the required theme of all U.S. coins above ten cents in denomination (Coinage Act of 1792). The eagle stands tall with wings out-spread, clutching a bundle of arrows. The eagle and arrows are surrounded by a laurel wreath tied together at the bottom. Outside the wreath are the name of the country and the denomination displayed as "ONE DOLLAR" - separated by six-sided stars. Level above the eagle is the motto "In God We Trust" in old-English style block letters. The mint mark, if there is one (no mint mark was used for Philadelphia minted coins), is centered beneath the bow tying the wreath and above the "DO" of "DOLLAR."
|Year of Issue:||1884|
|Weight in Grams:||24.055 g|
|Weight in Ounces:||0.7734 oz|
|Legal Tender:||United States|
|Obverse Design:||Liberty facing left flanked by stars|
|Reverse Design:||Eagle clasping arrows and olive branch within half wreath|
|Reverse Designer/Engraver:||George T. Morgan|
|Obverse Designer/Engraver:||George T. Morgan|