US Coins

Anniversary 2021 Morgan dollar may have to be made of gold

With proposed legislation seeking commemorative Morgan and Peace silver dollars for 2021 languishing in Congress, the U.S. Mint is looking at a possible alternative: a 2021-CC Morgan gold dollar.

U.S. Mint Director David J. Ryder made that announcement during the fourth Annual Numismatic Forum held Oct. 24 and 25 in Philadelphia.

Producing a commemorative silver dollar requires congressional approval, while the Mint has broader authority to issue gold coins without the need for action from Congress.

H.R. 3757 was introduced July 16 to authorize production of Morgan and Peace silver dollars to mark the centennial anniversary of the production transition between the two designs in 1921 — including Morgan dollars struck at the former Carson City Mint in Nevada and a high relief Peace dollar.

The proposed Morgan and Peace dollar legislation, championed by Thomas J. Uram, chairman of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, and fellow CCAC member Michael Moran, is competing with a number of other commemorative coin bills for 2021 and is not gaining much legislative support, Ryder said.

If the legislation were to pass Congress and become law, an unspecified number of Morgan dollars from the maximum combined output of 500,000 Proof and Uncirculated Morgan and Peace silver dollars authorized in the legislation would be struck with the CC Mint mark at the former Carson City Mint in Nevada, which now houses the Nevada State Museum.

The production would likely be executed on a coinage press hauled from a current U.S. Mint production facility, presumably Denver or San Francisco.

During the Numismatic Forum, Ryder said Mint officials were considering production at the former Carson City Mint of a Morgan 1-ounce .9999 fine gold dollar. The production would presumably be executed under the same discretion exercised in producing the centennial gold Winged Liberty Head dime, Standing Liberty quarter dollar and Walking Liberty half dollar in 2016.

The West Point Mint strikes the American Buffalo $100 gold coin on 1-ounce .9999 fine gold planchets. It was not disclosed whether a Morgan gold dollar production would require a separately crafted planchet.

David Croft, U.S. Mint associate director for manufacturing, noted that transporting the necessary coinage press to Carson City from either San Francisco or Denver, along with its setup and maintenance, would cost roughly $1.8 million.

No discussion disclosed how many Morgan gold dollars might be produced under the Mint’s alternate proposal for the Morgan dollar recognition nor which dies would be used.

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