NICE! WHITE! LUSTROUS! EYE APPEAL! PQ++!
Political pressure, not public demand, brought the Morgan dollar into being. There was no real need for a new silver dollar in the late 1870s; the last previous “cartwheel,” the Liberty Seated dollar, had been legislated out of existence in 1873, and hardly anyone missed it. Silver-mining interests did miss the dollar, though, and lobbied Congress forcefully for its return. The silver forces in Congress—led by Representative Richard (“Silver Dick”) Bland of Missouri—finally succeeded in winning authorization for a new silver dollar when Congress passed the Bland-Allison Act on February 28, 1878.
Mint Engraver George T. Morgan’s obverse features a left-facing portrait of Miss Liberty. The reverse depicts a somewhat scrawny eagle which led some to vilify the coin as a “buzzard dollar.” The designer’s initial M appears on both sides—a first. It’s on the truncation of Liberty’s neck and on the ribbon’s left loop on the reverse. Mintmarks (O, S, D, and CC) are found below the wreath on the reverse. Points to check for wear on Morgans are the hair above Liberty’s eye and ear, the high upper fold of her cap and the crest of the eagle’s breast.