US Coins

Legislation seeks Morgan and Peace silver dollar bullion coins for 2021

Supporters of an initiative to mark the centennial anniversary in 2021 of the transition of silver dollar production from the Morgan to Peace designs are backing new legislation, for legal tender bullion coins instead of commemorative issues.

Thomas J. Uram, chairman of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and president of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists, and fellow CCAC member Mike Moran are pushing for passage of H.R. 6192, introduced March 11 in the House by Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., as the 1921 Silver Dollar Coin Anniversary Act.

H.R. 6192 is Uram and Moran’s second attempt to achieve legislated recognition for the 2021 anniversary. Referred to the House Financial Services Committee on the same day it was introduced, the bill would authorize a number of Morgan and Peace dollar versions and would give the Mint leeway in mintage limits and how the coins are marketed.

Uram said nothing has been decided as to how the legal tender bullion coins would be distributed — whether in direct numismatic sales to the public or as strictly bullion releases, through the U.S. Mint’s authorized purchasers who market American Eagle bullion coins.

Composed of 90% silver alloy

The 2021 Morgan and Peace dollars would be struck in the original 90 percent silver, 10 percent copper alloy, not the current .999 fine composition employed for commemorative silver dollars.

Uram said that, from discussions with U.S. Mint officials, options would include issues struck at the Denver, Philadelphia and San Francisco Mints, with privy marks added to specific Morgan dollar issues to pay homage to the silver dollar output at the former Carson City Mint in Nevada and New Orleans Mint in Louisiana.

Uram said discussions included details for Proof and Uncirculated releases, with the possibility for special sets to include coins of different finishes from multiple Mints. 

Uncirculated versions could include a 2021-P Peace dollar struck at the Philadelphia Mint with the original high relief, with Morgan dollars struck at the Denver and San Francisco Mints.

Uram said it had not been determined which Mint or Mints would strike Proof versions. 

One option discussed was Morgan dollars having privy marks representing the Carson City and New Orleans Mints, with the privy mark positioned where the Mint mark would normally be, in the space below the eagle’s tail feathers.

First attempt

On July 16, 2019, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., and Barr introduced H.R. 3757, as the 1921 Silver Dollar Commemorative Coin Act.

That legislation, which failed to gain the necessary traction, called for the production of an Uncirculated 2021-CC Morgan dollar at the former Carson City Mint in Nevada, a Proof 2021-S Morgan dollar at the San Francisco Mint, and Proof and Uncirculated 2021-P Peace dollars at the Philadelphia Mint.

When H.R. 3757 was introduced, it was competing with the National Law Enforcement Museum commemorative coin program to become the second commemorative coin program congressionally approved for 2021.

Mint reform legislation passed in 1996 restricts the number of annual commemorative coin programs to two.

The other commemorative coin program for 2021, the first approved, calls for silver dollars to honor Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher in space and one of seven astronauts killed Jan. 28, 1986, when the space shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight.

A nonlegislative proposal by the U.S. Mint, which appears to have been placed on the backburner, suggested a 2021-CC Morgan dollar struck in .9999 fine gold, which could be implemented without Congress. 

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