The Breathtaking History of The 1878 Silver Dollars

The Breathtaking History of The 1878 Silver Dollars

The conceptualization of a new form and design of a currency is often filled with controversy and intense debate. There are numerous factors that must go into place before the government can declare that a certain coin or bill is made. One of the most widely known mistakes that a nation has done for its currency is from the 1878 Silver Dollars.

Here is the complicated but breathtaking history of the 1878 silver dollar.


The entire process in how this precious coin came to be was a long and complicated mess. It all started as a political pressure statement by the United States Congress. This was done after the previous Liberty Seated dollar was retired back in 1873.

Therefore a new silver dollar was pushed to be in production as fast as possible. This created the Bland-Allison Act of 1878. The Act made the Treasury purchase over 2 to 4 million troy ounces of silver bullion every month for mint production.

Coin Collecting


It is widely known that the contest to decide on what the official look of the silver dollar was rigged. This was due to the fact that the Mint Director, Henry P. Linderman, was fed up with the quality of work from the Chief Engraver William Barber. As such, the final design came from the British engraver, George T. Morgan.

However, there was a controversy concerning the eagle used by George T. Morgan. It was always debated on whether the eagle should have 7 or 8 feathers. Thus, various reprints were made from the dyes. This made the value of the coin that much more unique.

Final Production

The high demand that was situated by the Bland-Allison Act was too much for the nation’s mint production. This made the production cost to soar due to the sheer amount of overtime people need to make just to keep up. Both cities of San Francisco and Carson City were even called in to help with the production.

Alas, the 1878 Silver Dollars were scrapped shortly thereafter in the year 1904. There were around 22,490,000 silver coins produced during that period. Unfortunately, more than half of all the silver dollars were recalled back to be melted down. This was made due to the Pittman Act of 1918.