In 1921, a pivotal moment in American numismatic history unfolded as the Morgan Silver Dollar, first introduced in 1878, made its notable reissue. This year was uniquely significant, as it marked both the final mintage of the Morgan Dollar and the introduction of the Peace Dollar. While the Morgan Silver Dollar didn’t replace the long-standing Liberty Silver Dollar in 1921, its return that year cemented its place as an iconic and cherished piece of American coinage.
This article delves into the captivating realm of the 1921 Silver Dollar, exploring its design, composition, mintage, values, rarity, and a list of remarkable errors.
Table of Contents
- 1 The 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar Design Composition & Dimensions
- 2 1921 Silver Dollar Value
- 3 1921 Morgan Silver Error List
- 3.1 1922 “VAM Die Varieties”
- 3.1.1 1921 Morgan Dollar VAM 40-A “Denticle Clash”
- 3.1.2 1921 Morgan Dollar VAM 41 “Pitted Reverse”
- 3.1.3 1921-D Morgan Dollar VAM 1A “TRU_T Variety.”
- 3.1.4 The 1921-D Morgan Dollar VAM 1B “Capped R”
- 3.1.5 1921-D Morgan Dollar VAM 1N “Unicorn”
- 3.1.6 1921-S Morgan Dollar VAM 1B “Thorn Head”
- 3.1.7 1921-S Morgan Dollar VAM 6A (1A) “BU Scratch”
- 3.1 1922 “VAM Die Varieties”
- 4 Conclusion
The 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar Design Composition & Dimensions
The design of the 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar emulates the classic yet distinct style of its predecessors. Here’s a brief description of its obverse and reverse:
The obverse side of the 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar features a captivating design by George T. Morgan. Lady Liberty graces the coin as she faces left.
Her serene face is adorned with a wheat and cotton Phrygian crown, symbolizing American freedom and victory. The word “LIBERTY” arcs above her, while the year of mintage, 1921, is displayed below.
Running along the coin’s rim towards the back of her head is the Latin motto, “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” meaning “out of all, one.” Found in between the Latin phrase and the mint year are thirteen stars.
On the reverse, you will see an iconic bald eagle with outstretched wings, grasping a bundle of arrows and an olive branch with its talons. This powerful symbol represents the nation’s desire for peace but readiness for defense.
Above the eagle, the country name “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” encircles the perimeter. The coin’s face value of “ONE DOLLAR” and the phrase “IN GOD WE TRUST” are prominently displayed, surrounding the country name.
Where is the Mint Mark on a 1921 Silver Dollar
You can find the mintmark on a 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar on the reverse side, just below the eagle’s tail feathers. The coin was struck at the Philadelphia Mint if there is no mint mark. “D” indicates Denver, and “S” signifies San Francisco. You can find either of these mint marks on the reverse, just above the D-O in “DOLLAR” and below the wreath.
1921 E Pluribus Unum Silver Dollar
Contrary to popular belief, an “E Pluribus Unum” silver dollar doesn’t exist. The phrase “E Pluribus Unum” (out of all, one” in Latin was only used on some silver coins minted between 1798 and 1834. That’s because the Coinage Act of 1873 required all U.S. Coins to have this phrase. Morgan Dollars, Trade Dollars, Peace Dollars, Susan B. Anthony Dollars, Eisenhower Dollars, etc., all have “E Pluribus Unum” on their reverse.
Composition & Dimensions
Morgan Dollars from 1921 have similar specifications and compositions as those produced between 1878 and 1904. They are made of an alloy consisting of 90% silver and 10% copper to boost their circulation durability. Each weighs 26.73 grams, has a diameter of 38.1 millimeters (1.5 inches), a thickness of 2.4 mm (0.09 inches), and a silver weight of .7734 oz.
Is the 1921 Morgan Dollar made of pure silver?
No, the 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar isn’t 100% silver. It comprises 90% silver and coated with 10% copper. The 90% silver composition was a standard for U.S. silver dollars minted before 1936. This high silver content gives the coin its intrinsic value, making it highly sought after by collectors and investors alike.
1921 Silver Dollar Value
The 1921 Silver Dollar, marking the final mintage of the Morgan Dollar, has an estimated value between $29 and $45 in circulated condition, while pristine, uncirculated versions can fetch up to $17,500 at auction. Its value varies based on mint mark, condition, and unique error variations.
How Much is a 1921 Silver Dollar Worth – Breakdown Summary
- 1921 No Mintmark (Philadelphia) Value:
- Circulated: Starts at around $19.92.
- Uncirculated (MS65): Up to $285.
- 1921-D (Denver) Value:
- Circulated: Starts at around $19.92.
- Uncirculated (MS65): Up to $600.
- 1921-S (San Francisco) Value:
- Circulated: Starts at around $19.92.
- Uncirculated (MS65): Up to $825.
Notable Error Values:
- Denticle Clash Error: Can range from $50 to a few hundred dollars, with a record of $300 in MS65 condition.
- Pitted Reverse Error: Worth around $50 to $100, with a record sale of $3,550 in MS65+.
- TRU_T Variety Error: The record price is $2,442.
- Capped R Error: Ranges from $100 to $200 or more, with a record sale of $900 in 2019.
- Unicorn Error: Sold for $705 at Heritage Auctions in 2015.
- Thorn Head Error: Ranges from $100 to $500 or more, with a record sale of $576 in MS65 in 2014.
- BU Scratch Error: Might command a premium of around $100 or more, with a record sale of $1,528 in mint state in 2016.
What Makes a 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar Rare
The rarity of a 1921 Silver Dollar is shaped by multiple elements, such as its mint mark, preservation, and distinct features. Notably, coins stamped with the Denver (“D”) and San Francisco (“S”) mint marks are less common and more challenging to locate in prime condition compared to those from Philadelphia. Moreover, silver dollars in immaculate, uncirculated states hold greater rarity and value than their well-circulated counterparts.
Mintage & Associated Values
The 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar saw an extensive mintage, boasting a total of 86,730,000 coins across the three primary mints. Yet, the production numbers specific to each mint mark differ, resulting in varied values:
1921 S Morgan Silver Dollar
Due to its San Francisco mint mark (S), the 1921-S Morgan Silver Dollar is sought-after. It was minted in the second-highest quantity of the three mints in 1921, with 21,696,000 units issued for circulation.
1921 S Morgan Silver Dollar Value
The 1921-S Morgan Silver Dollar’s value varies based on its condition. Circulated coins typically start at around $43, while uncirculated ones can reach $825 or more, especially if they are in pristine condition and mint state.
1921 D Morgan Silver
The 1921-D Morgan Silver Dollar, minted in Denver, is another highly collectible coin. It was minted in the lowest quantity, with 20,345,000 units produced for circulation in 1921. While it is not as common as the Philadelphia issue, it is still relatively accessible to collectors.
1921 D Morgan Silver Dollar Value
Circulated 1921-D Morgan Silver Dollars often begin at around $36 in value. Uncirculated coins in excellent condition can be worth $600 or more, depending on their grading and rarity.
1921 Morgan Silver Dollar No Mint Mark
If you come across a 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar with no mint mark, it was minted in Philadelphia. These coins were minted in the highest quantity (44,690,000) and are generally more common than their Denver and San Francisco counterparts.
1921 Morgan Silver Dollar No Mint Mark Value
1921 Morgan Silver Dollars from Philadelphia without a mint mark have a starting value of around $30 for circulated coins. Uncirculated specimens fetch about $285 and may command even higher prices, mainly if they are in exceptional condition.
1921 Liberty Silver Dollar Value Chart
|Good||Fine||Very Fine (VF25)||Extremely Fine (XF45)||MS61||MS65|
|1921 No Mintmark (Philadelphia)||$19.92||$20.64||$36.00||$42.00||$75.00||$285.00|
|1921-S (San Francisco)||$19.92||$20.64||$43.00||$50.00||$90.00||$825.00|
1921 Morgan Silver Error List
There are no 1921 Morgan Dollar “errors” listed in The Guidebook of United States Coins (“The Red Book”), necessary to establish credibility for an “error.” There are some desirable Van Allen-Mallis (VAM) die varieties for this coin.
1922 “VAM Die Varieties”
“VAM” is an acronym for Van Allen-Mallis, named after two researchers who detailed die variations in Morgan and Peace silver dollars. These VAM die varieties pinpoint distinct discrepancies that arose during the die preparation or coin minting processes.
Such variations might encompass doubled dies, clashed dies, overdates, and other unique irregularities. With these variations, a pristine, uncirculated 1921 Morgan Dollar could command prices upwards of $50,000.
1921 Morgan Dollar VAM 40-A “Denticle Clash”
The “Denticle Clash” error occurs when the dies clash against each other without a planchet (coin blank) between them. The clash results in raised bumps below the eagle’s tail feathers and marks resembling denticles (small tooth-like shapes along the coin’s edge) on the coin’s surface.
Coins with the Denticle Clash error can command a premium over regular 1921 Morgan Dollars, potentially ranging from $50 to a few hundred dollars, based on their grade and appeal to collectors. This coin error has an auction price record of $300 in MS65 condition.
1921 Morgan Dollar VAM 41 “Pitted Reverse”
The “Pitted Reverse” error refers to coins with numerous pits or depressions on the reverse side. These pits often form below the wreath and between the letters of “ONE DOLLAR.” They can be caused by various factors, including die deterioration or contamination during the minting process, resulting in a textured surface.
Coins with this error are worth around $50 to $100, depending on their condition and the extent of the pitting. In 2018, such an error coin graded MS65+ sold for $3,550 at auction.
1921-D Morgan Dollar VAM 1A “TRU_T Variety.”
The “TRU_T Variety” error occurs when specific letters, such as the letter “S” in “TRUST,” are weakly struck or appear incomplete due to a problem with the die. This variety is intriguing to collectors who appreciate minor anomalies in lettering. Its auction record price is $2442.
The 1921-D Morgan Dollar VAM 1B “Capped R”
This variety features a distinctive appearance of the letter “R” in “LIBERTY” on the obverse side. The top of the letter appears flattened or capped, making it a noteworthy variation for collectors.
Coins with the Capped R error can have a higher premium than regular 1921-D Morgan Dollars, potentially ranging from $100 to $200 or more, depending on their condition and the extent of the error. Such an error coin sold for $900 at auction in 2019.
1921-D Morgan Dollar VAM 1N “Unicorn”
The “Unicorn” error is named for its unique die break that resembles a unicorn’s horn. Die breaks occur due to wear and stress on the dies used for minting, creating distinctive shapes on the coins. For example, the letter “D” may extend to appear like a unicorn’s horn.
Coins with the Unicorn error are relatively rare and can be highly desirable among collectors. One was sold for $705 at Heritage Auctions in 2015.
1921-S Morgan Dollar VAM 1B “Thorn Head”
The “Thorn Head” error features a die break near the ear of Liberty on the obverse side, resembling a thorn. Die breaks like this occur due to die deterioration, resulting in unusual shapes on the coin.
Coins with the Thorn Head error can add a significant premium over regular 1921-S Morgan Dollars. Depending on their condition and the appeal of the error to collectors, their value might range from $100 to $500 or more. One such coin in MS65 condition fetched $576 at Heritage Auctions in 2014.
1921-S Morgan Dollar VAM 6A (1A) “BU Scratch”
The “BU Scratch” error refers to a scratch-like mark on Liberty’s cheek. It occurs as a result of a raised die scratch between the letters “B” and “U” in “Pluribus.” Although seemingly minor, these slight imperfections can impact the coin’s value, especially in uncirculated conditions.
Coins with the BU Scratch error might command a premium of around $100 or more. In 2016, one specimen in mint state condition sold for $1,528 at Heritage Auction.
Please note that the values mentioned are approximate and can vary based on market demand, overall condition, and the specific preferences of individual collectors. As always, it’s advisable to consult with a reputable coin expert or numismatist like PCGS or NGC for the most accurate valuation of these error coins.
The 1921 Silver Dollar, notably the Morgan Silver Dollar, is a testament to America’s rich numismatic heritage. Its timeless design, historical significance, and various minting variations continue to captivate collectors and enthusiasts worldwide. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a novice numismatist, ensure you deal with 1921 Silver Dollars approved by reputable third-party grading services like PCGS, ANACS, or NGC.