The numismatic world was rocked in 2016 with the bombshell
announcement by Whitman Publishing that researchers had
uncovered the existence of hubs, master dies and other tooling at the
Philadelphia Mint for the production of 1964 Morgan dollars.
The researchers’ sleuthing, however, did not yield proof that 1964
Morgan dollars were struck.
The researchers also found hubs and master dies for the 1964 Peace
dollar, trial strikes of which were produced at the Denver Mint in 1965.
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The discoveries were actually made in July 2015 at the Philadelphia
Mint during research conducted for the fifth edition of A Guide
Book of Morgan Silver Dollars, but not revealed until 2016 with
promotion of the new edition.
In July 2015, four prominent numismatists visited the Philadelphia
Mint: Dennis Tucker, publisher for Whitman Publishing LLC; prolific
numismatic author Q. David Bowers, chairman emeritus of Stack’s Bowers
Galleries and numismatic director at Whitman; John Dannreuther,
numismatic researcher, co-founder of Professional Coin Grading Service and owner of
Rare Coins in Tennessee; and David Sundman, president of Littleton
Coin Company in New Hampshire.
Dannreuther and Sundman are also Whitman authors.
No trial strikes of either a 1964 Morgan dollar or a 1964 Peace
dollar were discovered, though, and it remains uncertain whether any
trial strikes were made of the 1964 Morgan dollar.
Any such theoretical production of a Morgan dollar would have
coincided with the Mint’s consideration of what designs to use for the
silver dollar, after Congress authorized resumption of silver dollar
production for the first time since Peace dollars were last struck in 1935.
Known experimentation included production of an estimated 322,394
1964-D Peace dollars at the Denver Mint between May 13 and May 24,
1965, according to author Roger W. Burdette in A Guide Book of Peace Dollars.
All of the Peace dollar trial strikes were reportedly melted, with
none officially released into circulation. No examples are officially
During the July 2015 Philadelphia Mint visit, Tucker was
photographing galvanos and plaster models of Philippine coins struck
under U.S. sovereignty in the 1900s. For the then-in-progress A Guide
Book of Morgan Silver Dollars, Bowers and Sundman were jointly
examining materials related to Eisenhower and Anthony dollars, and
Dannreuther was randomly combing through a cabinet of trays.
when Dannreuther alerted the others that he had come across obverse
and reverse galvanos for Morgan dollars, he did not immediately note
their date. Tucker interrupted his photography to see what Dannreuther
Almost simultaneously, the two men’s eyes focused on the date — 1964.
“Our excitement grew as all doubt was dispelled — these clearly were
models for a 1964-dated Morgan dollar, ...” according to Tucker.
“Conventional numismatic wisdom held that in 1910 the Mint destroyed
its dies, hubs, and other working materials relating to the Morgan
dollar, since there was no expectation the coin would ever be minted again.
“When it was brought back, for one final round of coinage in 1921,
the dies used were from shallow, low-relief hubs recreated from an
1878 coin. A generation later, when Congress decided to issue a silver
dollar again in 1964, the design the Mint used was that of the 1921 to
1935 Peace dollar, rather than the Morgan.”
Another researcher, Roger Burdette, had reported in his Whitman book
on Peace dollars that Mint officials in the mid-1960s had debated
whether to use the Morgan designs or Peace designs for the new silver
dollars that Congress had ordered struck. However, Burdette’s research
had not uncovered evidence that the Mint got as far as creating
galvanos, dies and hubs for 1964 Morgan dollars.
Dannreuther said the 1964 Morgan dollar galvano he discovered — a
large metal model once used in the created of a master hub — was
unlike any other galvano he has even seen, being smaller than any
galvano he has seen before. Circular lines at the center on Liberty’s
face indicate it was probably used on the Janvier reduction lathe, he
said, which routinely left such marks as the hubs were being created.
Tucker said the 1964 Morgan dollar tooling examined is more in line
with the 1878 to 1904 Morgan dollar dies than with the shallower
relief 1921 dies — “an interesting anomaly given that the original
older materials were ordered destroyed by Mint Director Andrew in 1910.”
Read all of our Coin World Top 10 of 2016 series:
- U.S. Mint issues gold Centennial coins
- Pogue IV auction tops $16 million
- Rare English gold coin found in toy
- Boutique bullion trend catches on worldwide
- Langbord 1933 double eagle case rolls on
- 1974-D aluminum cent returned to U.S. Mint
- Treasury announces new Federal Reserve note
- 1964 Morgan dollar tooling uncovered
- American Liberty silver medal released
- U.S. Mint plans yearlong 225th anniversary party