Thursday, January 24, 2008

Silver Dollars

One of the first places to find silver coins was in Germany in the late 15th century, where one finds silver coins being used called the Talers. This word has been translated from the German into many other languages including English resulting in the words daler, daaler and eventually dollar. So the word dollar is not unique to the US.

Why Buy Silver Dollars
There are some investment advantages to be gained, for example, when you buy silver dollar bags. These feature highly sort after and collectible silver dollars. One of the investment advantages, in addition to known numismatic value (all silver coins should assess at the grade of Very Good or higher) is that each bag contains a sizeable quantity of actual silver.

Silver dollars are also legal tender in the US and can be very effective forms of barter in small increments as well as entire bags. Silver dollars are recognized world wide and you can exchange them practically anywhere.

In addition, your asset or wealth, stored in the form of silver dollars, will increase as the years go by with the current steady rise of the value of silver.

Yet another advantage is that when you buy a silver dollar bag that bag has a built in guarantee. Regardless of the price of silver, the face value of the coins in the bag (legal tender remember!) are always going to be $1000 dollars. So if the value of silver ever did drop below the value of the amount of silver in your bag (unlikely), you would still have 1000 dollars worth of coins.

History of the Silver Dollar
Many of these early examples of silver coins can still be found in museums, private collections and, who knows, perhaps many more may be found on future treasure hunts down the track.

Closer to present day, The minting of silver dollars in the US began in 1794 as a result of the Coinage Act of 1972. the United State Mint produced silver dollar coins up to 1803 when production was stopped until 1836 when it was then resumed.

1,758 silver dollar coins were first issued in October 1794 and these were used to distribute to visiting VIPs. Coins after that initial strike were in varying quantities and designs. As a result of the early practice of hand engraving many different designs were instituted including two obverse designs, the Flowing Hair (1794-1795) and Draped Bust (1795-1804) and the two reverse designs used for the Draped Bust variety, the small eagle (1795-1798) and the heraldic eagle (1798-1804).

All these coins are highly prized and much sought after by coin collectors.

Latter Day Silver Dollar Coins
The term silver dollar is sometimes incorrectly used to describe any large white metal coin. A silver dollar in fact should contain silver and the fact that a coin is white and large does not mean it does contain silver or that it should be called a silver dollar coin.

A silver dollar should contain a quantity of silver and early silver dollars are usually of pure silver or mostly contain silver with an alloy of another metal to improve its durability.

The Silver 1804 Dollar
This is perhaps the most well known of the silver dollars. It is also the rarest in that was not actually struck in 1804. No silver coins were in that year. was not actually in 1804 . In fact they were struck in 1834 for the purposes of presenting gifts to Asian rulers at that time in exchange for trade advantages.

The then mint officials, not realizing that the 19,000 plus dollars recorded as being produced in 1804 were all dated 1803, then proceeded to make new dies dated 1804. Only 15 of these silver dollars with the date of 1804 are known to exist. In 1999, one of them was sold by auction for over million US dollars.

The Morgan Silver Dollar

Produced from 1878 to 1904 and, after a break in production, resumed again in 1921. The Morgan Silver Dollar is very popular with a real collectors market for the pre 1921 uncirculated or mint condition issues. The post 1921 are also popular but are more common and do not command the high prices the earlier issues do.

The coin was named after it's designer, George T Morgan. George T Morgan was born in Birmingham, England and came to the US to work in 1876, getting a job as a junior engraver in that year. Morgan designed a number of coins but will always be remembered for the Morgan Silver Dollar

There are a number of different Morgans and half the fun in collecting these is studying up on the 'Morgans' and picking out which ones one would like to collect.
The Pittman Act of 1918 ordered that 270 million silver coins be melted down. As a consequence it is estimated that only about 17 percent are in existence today
You are going to need a lot of money as some have sold for the princely sum of three quarters of a million dollars or more.

Peace Silver Dollar
The Peace Silver Dollar is another coin that is popular with coin collectors. The Peace Silver dollar was designed by Anthony de Francisci to promulgate the signing on=f formal treaties between the allied forces and Germany and Australia. It was introduced in 1921 and in 1922 the Mint made all silver coins their top priority ceasing only in 1928. With the Great Depression no coins were minted until 1934 when it was resumed for two years.

Moving right up in time, over 300,000 Peace Silver Dollars were minted in 1965 at the Denver Mint and dated 1964, however these were never completed and virtually all were melted down again. It is believe that a few choice specimens are owned by certain Congress members and Presidents of the US. Curiously it is the only coin in the US that is illegal to 'own' and may be confiscated if found.

Other Silver Dollar Coins
There are other silver coins of course, some dollars, some not. Collecting silver dollars is an interesting activity, particularly if you have oodles of money. It is an activity for collects as a hobby rather than for investment purposes. A silver investor would be more likely to buy silver rounds or silver bars.

But silver dollars have a magic all their own. Who has not seen the cowboy in the movie flicking the silver dollar in the air. And another catching it!

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