Book Review - Morgan Dollar: America's Love Affair with a Legendary Coin by Michael "Miles" Standish

Note that this is not a VAM book. (VAM for “Van Allen and Mallis” authors of the standard reference for silver dollar errors and varieties.)  Only one example stands in for each year and Mint. However, every coin is the highest known grade for that issue, including those that are Deep Mirror Proof-like (DMPL). Thus, the Coronet Collection was rated as the finest family of Morgan Dollars.

Morgan Dollar: America's Love Affair with a Legendary Coin Featuring the Coins of the Coronet Collection by Michael "Miles" Standish with John B. Love; Forward by John M. Mercanti (Whitman, 2014, 154 + v pages, 8-1/2 x 11. $29.95)

(An earlier version of this article appeared in the Autumn 2014 issue of the Mich-Matist of the Michigan State Numismatic Society.)

In addition to the basic tabulation of grades and prices, for each year and Mint, this book gives an insightful and sometimes-quirky history of the Morgan Dollar, placing it in its cultural context. 

We all know that the goddess Liberty on the obverse was the school teacher Anna Williams of Philadelphia. Perhaps not, says Standish, citing a Coin World article from 2002 that revealed a letter from George Morgan denying that any one model served for Miss Liberty.

 Collectors know the story that the US Mint was forced by politics to strike 2 million silver dollars a month. Today, fully one-third are uncirculated (MS-60) because they sat in bank bags, unwanted. That being so, it is astounding how few have been certified in the highest grades. The Pittman Act of 1918 ordered the melting of 240 million silver dollars. (The metal was lent to the United Kingdom.) Then, in 1979, the speculation of the Hunt Brothers drove silver to $50 per ounce. Many nominally rare coins were sacrificed for short-term profit to deliver bullion bars. So, for all the millions of Morgan Dollars struck, the survivors are but a fraction. 

6 years ago

I have now added this to my Coin Club Library wish list.

6 years ago

Michael thank you for that information. I remember the Hunt brothers. They thought they could get away with it. Only Bank's can due that. The rest was quite interesting. I always say I try to learn something new every week. Thanks for taking the time.mike

6 years ago
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