US Coins

Morgan dollar was a half dollar: Inside Coin World

Many aren't aware that the storied Morgan dollar was once a half dollar. Steve Roach takes a look at how Morgan’s wonderful designs were born and made the transition from the experimental phase to an American classic in the July 31 issue of Coin World

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

The latest Coin World  issue, dated July 31, 2017, has been sent to the presses, and we have a quick preview of some of the Coin World exclusives found in our latest digital edition.

When the Morgan dollar was a half dollar

When George T. Morgan was hired from his career as an engraver in Britain in 1876 to help the U.S. Mint redesign American silver coinage, the silver dollar denomination had been eliminated. Upon arrival, he began crafting various portraits of Liberty and representations of eagles that would be familiar to any collector of Morgan dollars today — except that they appeared on half dollar and $10 eagle patterns.

Steve Roach examines how Morgan’s wonderful designs were born and made the transition from the experimental phase on coins of several denominations, to appearing on a resurrected silver dollar instead in 1878.


Die grease has to flow somewhere

“Most of the time, grease deposits leave affected design elements with lowered relief, indistinct surface details, and mushy margins,” writes Mike Diamond in his “Collectors’ Clearinghouse” column. “Heavy deposits can completely prevent design elements from striking up.” The flow of grease can also sometimes result in doubled design elements.

He adds, “A much more widespread form of grease-mediated design distortion leaves affected design elements smeared, rather than doubled.” The results are not your typical grease-filled die strikes.


Make your own paper money holders

Protecting coins, paper money and related objects in one’s collection is an important part of a collector’s hobby. But what if you have paper objects that are too large to house safely in commercially available holders? Make your own, advises conservator Susan L. Maltby in her “Protecting Money” column.

Maltby provides tips on using archival quality polyester film to hand-craft custom-fit folders or holders for over-sized paper objects. Creating these holders is easy, she writes, and using them can help you preserve your collection’s contents.


Playing ‘whist’ with your early coins

Some collectors of early American coinage such as half cents, large cents, and Bust half dollars like to vie for bragging rights by playing a game — whist. Brad Karoleff explains in his “Designs of the Times” column, whist “is a game played by collectors comparing coins from their collections. ... You get a point for having a marriage and another for having the best displayed, as voted by the attendees.”

He describes a recent whist match in which he participated, with players using their Bust half dollar varieties in the game. Who won?


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