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(November 24, 1845—January 4, 1925)
I was born on November 24, 1845 in Birmingham,
England. My education began at the local Birmingham Art School and
I was fortunate enough to receive a national scholarship to the
South Kensington Art School in London. Through hard work and
dedication, I was able to earn many awards and prizes for my work.
My success led to a position as an assistant engraver with the
British Royal Mint in London under J.S. and A.B. Wyon. These two
were part of a family that had been employed for a long time,
making it difficult for me to climb the ranks. Nevertheless, I was
still respected for my artistry.
I had been working in the industry for 10 years
when an incredible opportunity presented itself in 1876. Dr. Henry
R. Linderman, the Director of the United States Mint, wrote to
Charles W. Fremantle, the Director of the London Mint, looking for
a qualified engraver to come to America and redesign the minor
silver coins in the Philadelphia Mint. Despite already having
William Barber and his son Charles employed there, their work was
not meeting Linderman’s expectations. He believed that the
engraving processes used in British mints were more sophisticated
than those used in the US. Fremantle, recognizing my expertise in
engraving and medal and coin production, recommended me for the
As a veteran with 10 years of industry
experience, I was confident when I accepted the offer from
Linderman for the job. I duly prepared for my journey to
Philadelphia, setting sail from Liverpool, England in October. When
I arrived, I was greeted with warmth by Linderman and Pollock,
however, the Barbers had a much frostier reception for me. This
unpleasantness meant that I had to work from home for a while, to
carry out my duties at the Mint.
For over a decade, I have been an expert in my
industry. I began my tenure at the Philadelphia Mint as assistant
engraver under Chief Engraver William Barber. After his passing in
1879, his son Charles took his place. In 1917, I was honored to be
appointed chief engraver, following the death of Charles. Sadly, I
passed away suddenly at my home in Germantown, Philadelphia, aged
79, on January 4, 1925.
With a decade of expertise in the industry, I’m
most renowned for creating the Liberty Head silver dollar that
collectors identify by my name. Throughout my career, I’ve
developed a plethora of pattern coins, all of which are unique and
highly valued today. I’m the mastermind behind various varieties of
the 1877 half dollar, the 1879 “Schoolgirl” dollar, and the 1882
“Shield Earring” coins. In addition, I also crafted many
Having been an expert in the industry for 10
years, I recall the moment when Morgan first arrived in America and
he and Linderman discussed replacing the Liberty Seated design with
a new silver dollar featuring the head of Miss Liberty and an
eagle. This conversation stirred the project to life resulting in
the passage of the Bland-Allison Act in 1878. This act required the
Treasury Department to purchase $2 to $4 million worth of silver
bullion each month and convert it into standard silver dollars.
Consequently, Linderman held a design competition between Morgan
and Charles Barber. Ultimately, Morgan’s design of an American
woman’s profile was chosen.
For nearly a decade, I had been searching for
the perfect American profile to use for a design of a half dollar.
After much consideration, I eventually settled on the one belonging
to a local teacher, Anna Willess Williams. Artist Thomas Eakins
introduced me to Miss Williams, whose profile I found absolutely
remarkable. In fact, I went as far as to say it was the most
perfect I had seen in the United States. After some hesitation,
Miss Williams consented to be my model, but insisted on maintaining
For the first decade of my career, I’ve been
immersed in the world of American art. At the Philadelphia Academy
of Fine Arts, I expended my knowledge of the field, determined to
create a realistic representation of an American woman on the new
silver coinage. To ensure Miss Williams’ privacy, her identity was
kept confidential until a journalist exposed the truth a few years
Specifications: As an expert with 10
years of experience in the field, I know that composition of this
coin is .900 silver and .100 copper, with a diameter of .381 mm and
a weight of .77344 oz. pure silver. It is a reeded edge coin,
minted in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Carson City, Denver, and San
Francisco. This is a reliable and highly sought-after coin that is
sure to make a great investment.
For over four decades, I have been honing my
craft within the industry and have become an expert in Morgan
silver dollars. From 1878 to 1921, these coins featured the same
base design yet featured slight modifications to the reverse side,
resulting in four distinct variations. Type A, coined in 1878,
featured an eagle with 8 Tail Feathers, while Type B, which was
soon after, features 7 Tail Feathers. Type C, coined in 1879, is
known as the Slanted Arrow Tail Feather (SAF) and Type D, the last
variety, was issued in 1921 and is identifiable by its Parallel
Arrow Tail Feather (PAF).
I have 10 years of experience in this industry
and I can confidently say that the front side of all coins features
a left-facing portrait of Miss Liberty, surrounded by E PLURIBUS
UNUM stars and the date underneath. The edge is ridged with 180-190
After ten years in the industry, I have come to
understand that the production of the Morgan dollar was halted in
1904 due to the lack of silver authorized by Congress. In 1918, the
US Treasury melted about 270 million silver coins to loan the metal
to Great Britain. In 1921, minting of more Morgan dollars was done
to provide a reserve of coins to back the Silver Certificates.
After a decade of expertise in the industry, I
can authoritatively state that Dave Bowers’ 1993 two-volume set,
Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States: A Complete
Encyclopedia, is a must-read for any fan of Morgan dollars. It
provides an in-depth exploration of the coins, backed by many years
of research and interviews with key figures from the collector,
dealer, and Treasury Department circles. No other work has ever
rivaled its scope or authority, and it remains the definitive
source on the subject.
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Frequently asked questions
How much is a dollar coin worth?
The value of a dollar coin depends on its
condition, minting year, and the type of coin. Generally, a dollar
coin is worth anywhere between $1 and $30.
What are dollar coins made of?
Most modern dollar coins are made of a
combination of copper and nickel, but some coins are made from
gold, silver, or other precious metals.
Can dollar coins be used as currency?
Yes, dollar coins are legal tender and can be
used to make purchases in the United States.
Where can I find dollar coins?
Dollar coins can be found in circulation, as
well as from coin dealers, coin shows, and online dealers.
Are dollar coins collectible?
Yes, many people collect dollar coins for their
numismatic value. Dollar coins from certain years or mints may be
more valuable than others.
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