In 2021 the U.S. Mint began once again striking legal tender Morgan Silver Dollars which were authorized under Public Law 116-286, the 1921 Silver Dollar coin Anniversary Act, signed into law on January 5, 2021, by then President Donald J. Trump based on legislation that was introduced by Rep. Andy Barr of KY.
The idea to issue the coins was proposed by Thomas J. Uram several years earlier when he was serving on the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. He later worked to secure congressional support for the program.
The program was originally conceived as a one-year only commemorative coin program that would be issued to mark the centennial of the release of the final classic Morgan dollar in 1921. Under that bill proceeds from the sale of the coins would have gone to the American Numismatic Association and other coin organizations.
But that program failed to garner sufficient congressional support, so a new approach was developed and approved by the U.S. Congress that authorized the issuance of numismatic collector coins that would “contain not less than 90% silver”. In practice that meant making them from .999 fine silver since the Mint no longer uses planchets made of .900 silver with 10 percent copper as the original coins were.
Design and Specifications
The new coins also have the same design, weight and diameter as the original coins. However, they are slightly thinner and have a total silver weight of .858 ounces compared to .7734 for the original coins because of their higher silver purity.
The 2021 coins, which were all issued with an uncirculated finish, are what the U.S. Mint terms “updated renditions” of the original coins that were created using the Mint’s legacy assets and modern minting technology. Design sketches, plaster models, dies and galvanos were digitally scanned to capture the intent of the original artist, George T. Morgan. When Morgan created the dies for the 1921 Morgan dollars, he had to do that by memory because the original dies had been destroyed in May 1910 at the request of then Mint Director Abram Piatt Andrew.
The legislation also enables the coins to be issued annually in whatever mintages and with whichever finishes the U.S. Mint decides on, and in November 2021 then Mint Director David J. Ryder (who championed this coin program) announced plans to continue issuing the coins in the future. At the end of 2021, the Mint added 2022 Proof versions of the Morgan and Peace Dollar to its product schedule for the year.
But March 14 the Mint’s Acting Director Ventris C. Gibson announced that no 2022 coins would be produced, and that the series will resume in 2023. The reason given for the pause in the program is that the Mint is having difficulty sourcing enough silver planchets for the various coin programs it issues because of supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and that by law it must give priority to the American Silver Eagle bullion coin program.
Each coin was sold by the Mint with an issue price of $85.00 and had a maximum authorized mintage of 175,000 coins.
2021 Silver Morgan & Peace Dollar 6-coin Set
In addition to the five Morgan Dollars struck in 2021, the Mint also released a 2021 Peace Dollar with similar specifications. Together, the six 2021 silver dollar issues complete the centennial set, commemorating the 1921 releases.
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