Cover of 5th edition of Bowers book on Morgan dollars.
There are other good books on the series including the one by Michael Standish, Morgan Dollar: America’s Love Affair with a Legendary Coin, but there is no other reference guide to the series that combines a detailed overview of the history of the series with a year-by-year summary of what was happening in the country each year a Morgan dollar was issued and most importantly, a date and mintmark analysis of each coin. The latter is especially useful because it provides not just mintages, price info., and certified population data but also what to look for with each coin in terms of strike, eye appeal, etc. for circulating coins, prooflikes, and proof coins.
The recently-released fifth edition of this landmark book is an important event in numismatic publishing. In addition to updating the text, pricing, and graded coin data, and providing new material on counterfeit error coins, a preface by Whitman editor Dennis Tucker, a foreword by dollar coin expert Adam Crum, and more, the book also contains what can only be described as a numismatic bombshell, the discovery of hubs and master dies for a previously unknown 1964 Morgan dollar and for the 1964 Peace dollar, which was minted but of which there are today no confirmed examples in existence. The Peace dollar material is covered in a new volume of Roger Burdette’s Red Book on that series that was also published recently.
In 1964 when Congress decided to issue silver dollars again, there was brief though given to issuing a new Morgan dollar, but it was decided to instead produce a 1964 Peace dollar, which was minted in great quantity. As numismatists know well, all of those coins were supposed to have been destroyed, but from time to time reports surface of 1964 Peace dollars that made it out of the Mint, perhaps by an employee.
But until the new edition of the Bowers Morgan dollar book, no materials related to a 1964 Morgan dollar had ever been found, though they were hinted at in some numismatic research. But Mr. Bowers, Mr. Tucker, and several other numismatic researchers went to the Philly Mint in July 2015 while researching the modern minting process, where they discovered models, hubs, and master dies for a 1964 Morgan dollar plus other materials relating to the 1963 and 1964 experiments to revive silver dollars. No trial strikes or actual coins were found. As Bowers says in the book, the 1964 Morgan is now “one of those coins that might have been, but never were.”