The Morgan dollars are the silver dollar coins minted by the US Treasury Mints in Philadelphia, San Francisco, New Orleans and Carson City during 1878- 1921 following the passing of the Bland- Allison Act in the Congress. The Act required the Treasury to purchase silver worth 2- 4 million dollars every month so it could be coined into Morgan dollar. Even though during its usage, the coin remained unpopular of sorts with mounds of it being stored in the Treasury amounting to the dislike the public held towards the dollar, it gained significance and importance during the 1960s and by the 1980s, it was seen as a collectible item of immense value. The coin depicts the left side portrait of Lady Liberty on the obverse and on the reverse depicts an eagle with outstretched wings. The diameter of the coin is 38.1 millimetres, it weighs 26.73 grans and its composition is 0.900 silver and 0.100 copper. The edges are reeded and the net weight is 0.77344 ounce pure silver.
The pattern depicted on the Morgan dollar coin was designed by the British engraver, George T. Morgan (after which the coin got its name) and work on the design began around 4 months prior to the passing of the Bland- Allison Act in the Congress. In 1876, Henry Richard Linderman who was the Director of the Mint initiated the efforts to redesign the silver coins in use in the US. As a part of his efforts, Linderman who was not very happy with his engravers contacted the Royal Mint in London. He asked C.W. Fremantle who was the Deputy Master at the Royal Mint to provide him with a “find a first class die-sinker who would be willing to take the position of Assistant Engraver at the Mint at Philadelphia”. Responding to the request made by Linderman, Fremantle recommended George Morgan who was of 30 at the time and had been able to successfully make himself a considerable and recognised name and reputation as an Assistant Engraver. Morgan then was recruited on to the Philadelphia Mint and was to work under the Chief Engraver at the Mint, William Arber, initially on a trial basis.
Morgan came to Philadelphia in October 1876 and began designing. His earlier work was all directed towards the redesigning of the half dollar. Then he enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to help him create a new design for Lady Liberty’s head. During his time here, Morgan also obtained studies form nature of the bald eagle which effectively helped him design the reverse of the coin. For the portrait of Liberty that he was to create, Morgan chose to imitate an American woman rather than the Greek style figures that were previously used and thus Anna Willess Williams, a lady from Philadelphia was used as a model. Morgan called Ms Williams profile the most perfect he had seen and had a number of sittings with her leading up to the designing.
In October 1877, Morgan was instructed to use his designs for the half dollar for a silver dollar coin, replacing the numbers and words for half dollar with one dollar. Other designs, inscriptions and arrangements were to remain the same. There were also instructions sent out to create and design the reverse that depicts an image of an eagle along with the inscriptions that are required to be engraved on the coin by law. Morgan’s designs for both, the portrait of Lady Liberty and the eagle for the reverse were preferred and thus came into being engraved on the silver dollar coin of the US.