The Morgan Silver Dollar:
The Bland-Allison Act was passed on February 28th 1878, it required the U.S Treasury department purchase between $2,000,000 to $4,000,000 in silver each month, and that silver would be used to coin a standard U.S silver dollar. George T. Morgan, the assistant engraver at the U.S Mint, design was chosen for the new silver dollar. The Morgan silver dollar, as we call it today, was actually originally called the Bland dollar, after Congress Richard P. Bland, who was one of the founders of the Bland-Allison act. When the Morgan dollar was released, many citizens criticized the design, they called it too big, and claimed the Eagle on the reverse look scrawny, or sick. The dollar was coined every year from 1878 to 1904, and then once more in 1921.
The Morgan dollar is 90% silver, and 10% copper, and weighs 412.5 grains.On the Obverse, Lady Liberty is depicted facing left, and wearing a Phrygian cap, with cotton leaves. Liberty is surrounded by 13 stars, and E Pluribus Unum. The date is found right under the portrait of Liberty. The Reverse contains an eagle with opened wings, holding an olive branch, and 3 arrows. The eagle is surrounded by a wreath, and the words. United States Of America, One Dollar. A mint mark, if any, is found under the center of the wreath on the reverse.
There were a total of 5 Mints for the Morgan series:
Philadelphia- (Coins from the Philly mint do not have a mint mark). The main mint for the Morgan series, it produced a business strike coin for every year of the series, except in 1895.
Carson City- (Coins have the famous CC mint mark). Coins from this mint usually have an above average strike, and very good luster.
Denver- (D mint mark). The Denver mint only coined silver dollars for 1 year in 1921.
New Orleans- (O mint mark). The New Orleans mint was notorious for poorly struck coins.
San Francisco- (S mint mark). The San Francisco mint was know for producing well struck coins, with very good luster.
1889 CC- Only 350,000 Carson City Morgans were produced, furthermore many of them entered circulation, or were melted. Mint State coins sell for 5 figures.
1893 S- Only 100,000 were produced, and most went right into circulation. Mint State coins usually sell for 6 figures.
1895 (Proof)- 1895 was an interesting year for the silver dollar, the U.S Mint records claim 12,880 Morgans were minted by the Philly mint that year (12,000 business strike, and 880 proofs). Yet to this day no one has found a 1895 business strike Morgan dollar. This means the only P mint silver dollar for 1895 is the proof, Proof coins in Uncirculated sell for 5 figures.
Melting of the Dollars:
Being that Morgan dollars are made of 90% silver, over the years as the value of silver has increased, many Morgans have been melted for their silver content. The largest of these meltings was actually done by the U.S government. In 1918 the Pittman Act was passed; it authorized the melting of the silver dollars that were in the numerous mints, and holding facilities across the country. In total an amazing 270,232,722 silver dollars were melted, and turned back into silver bullion. In addition, when silver hit $50 an ounce in the late 1970s, people melted thousands of silver dollars for bullion.