The history of silver coin production at the United States Mint is a fascinating journey that spans several centuries. From the earliest coins ever struck by the United States Mint to modern, commemorative silver bullion coins, the US Mint offers a wealth of silver coins beyond its Silver Eagle collection.
The United States Mint, established in 1792, began producing silver coins shortly after its founding. The first silver coins minted were the half dimes (later known as half dimes) and dimes, which were introduced in 1794. These coins were composed of 89.24% silver and 10.76% copper. Subsequently, other silver denominations were introduced, including quarters, half dollars, and dollars.
Throughout the 19th century, the United States Mint continued to produce a variety of silver coins. Notable silver coin series include the Capped Bust, Seated Liberty, and Barber designs. These coins featured intricate designs reflecting the artistic styles and historical contexts of their respective eras. The Coinage Act of 1837 standardized the silver content of U.S. coins, establishing a silver fineness of 90%.
One iconic silver coin produced by the United States Mint is the Morgan Silver Dollar. Introduced in 1878, the Morgan Dollar is named after its designer, George T. Morgan. It was minted until 1904 and briefly revived in 1921. The Morgan Dollar, composed of 90% silver and 10% copper, remains highly sought after by collectors due to its historical significance and beautiful design.
In the early 20th century, the United States Mint transitioned from traditional silver coinage to new compositions. The Coinage Act of 1965 marked a significant shift as the Mint stopped using silver for dimes and quarters, switching to a clad composition. The half dollar continued to be minted in 40% silver until 1970 and then transitioned to a copper-nickel composition.
In response to the demand for silver bullion coins, the United States Mint introduced several popular series. The American Silver Eagle, first issued in 1986, quickly became a favorite among collectors and investors. These coins contain one troy ounce of .999 fine silver and feature iconic depictions of Liberty and the heraldic eagle. Additionally, the United States Mint produces commemorative silver coins that celebrate historical events, people, or special occasions.
Among the most popular modern commemorative coins from the US Mint came in 2021. To mark the centennial of the last Morgan Silver Dollar and the first Peace Silver Dollar, the US Mint reintroduced the designs of these two popular coins on modern silver bullion blanks. These new, modern coins feature .859 Troy oz of .999 pure silver.
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