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The Design Of The 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar: Symbolism And Artistry

The 1921 Morgan silver dollar is a significant coin in the United States of America’s numismatic history because it marked the end of the Morgan series and a brief return after a hiatus. These coins are rich in symbolism and artistry, reflecting both the era in which they were designed and broader themes relevant to American values and identity. Here are some of the key aspects you need to know about its features and symbolism

Obverse Symbolism and Artistry

Lady Liberty

The left-faced profile of Lady Liberty, designed by George T. Morgan, symbolizes liberty and freedom. The use of a Phrygian cap, an ancient symbol associated with freed slaves in Rome, further emphasizes liberation. Morgan modeled Lady Liberty on Anna Willes Williams, a Philadelphia school teacher, aiming to represent an idealized American woman. This choice was a departure from previous depictions that used a more classical Greco-Roman style.


The inscription on the 1921 Morgan silver dollar, which says “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” means, out of many, one. This highlights the unity of the diverse states forming the United States of America. The star inscription that surrounds liberty represents the original 13 colonies, signifying the nation’s foundation and growth. These are inscribed above the liberty head, and the date “1921” is below the neck.

Reverse Symbolism and Artistry

The Eagle

The Eagle on the 1921 Morgan silver dollar represents strength and independence. The Eagle is a longstanding emblem of American strength, freedom and independence. Its outstretched wings convey a sense of readiness and protection. The coin also has the Eagle clutching arrows and an olive branch, which symbolizes America’s preparedness for war and its desire for peace. This dual imagery underscores the nation’s balanced approach to foreign policy and defense.


The 1921 Morgan silver dollar has an inscription that says, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” This inscription emphasizes national identity and sovereignty. It reminds people of the importance of being united and the national identity of all Americans regardless of race, gender, and age. It also emphasizes the sovereignty of the American people. The coin also has another phrase that says, “IN GOD WE TRUST.” This phrase reflects the country’s cultural and historical ties to religion and faith in a higher power. It represents that Americans believe and trust in a super Being.

The Reeded Edges and Composition

The coin has a reeded edge that serves the purpose of preventing clipping and counterfeiting. Reeded edges also add a tactile and visual element to the coin’s design. The 1921 Morgan silver dollar contains 90% silver and 10% copper. The composition helps the coin to have a long durability, and it represents its value. The use of a higher concentration of silver compound in minting the coin is because silver is a precious metal highly regarded both economically and symbolically. This coin was minted in Philadelphia (no mintmark), Denver (D) and San Francisco (S).

Artistic Significance

George T. Morgan, an English engraver who moved to the United States, brought a new level of detail and realism to American coinage. His work on the Morgan dollar is celebrated for its intricate and lifelike qualities. The Morgan dollar design is considered one of the most iconic in the United States coinage history, influencing the aesthetic of coins and remaining popular among collectors.


The 1921 Morgan Silver dollar is not only a piece of currency but a work of art and craft that encapsulates American ideals and artistic traditions from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. You need to know that it symbolizes and represents different beliefs and idealism of the American people. Its symbolism and artisanship continue to be appreciated by numismatists and historians alike.


  • Nieka Ranises

    Nieka Ranises is an automotive journalist with a passion for covering the latest developments in the car and bike world. She leverages her love for vehicles and in-depth industry knowledge to provide readers with insightful reviews, news, perspectives and practical guidance to help them find their perfect rides.

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