Dollar coin

1921 peace dollar

The dollar coin have been around since the mint began producing coins in 1794, but because demand dwindled the mint stopped producing dollar coins for circulation in 2011. This article reviews all US dollar coins, from silver and gold dollars, to the modern metal clad “silver” and “golden” dollars.

Collectors revere early silver and gold dollars, not just because of their monetary value as precious metal, but because of the history, rarity, and beauty these old coins possess. Modern “silver dollars” are copper-nickel clad but we still call them silver dollars, the same way modern “gold dollars”, such as the Sacagawea and Presidential dollars (the ones made for circulation anyway) aren’t made of gold.

Silver Dollars

Silver dollars were struck in 1794 t0 1803 in very small quantities. If you have a genuine silver dollar from this period it’s likely to be extremely valuable. Production of silver dollars for circulation really began in 1804… except they didn’t get any new dies that year so all coins minted in 1804 bear the date 1803. Confused? Thirty years later, in 1834, the Department of State would have a handful of 1804 dated silver dollars made to be given as gifts to rulers in Asia. Only 15 1804 silver dollars are known to exist. In 1999, one sold for more than $4 million at auction.

Silver dollars (post-1804) come in these variation: Gobrecht silver dollar (1836-1839), Seated Liberty silver dollar (1836-1873), Trade silver dollar (1873-1878), Morgan silver dollar (1878-1904, 1921), Peace silver dollar (1921-1928, 1934-1935).

People often call Eisenhower dollars (1971-1978), and Susan B. Anthony dollars (1979-1981, 1999) “silver dollars” but they’re made from the same copper-nickel clad construction that dimes and quarters are made from.

Starting in 1986 the US began releasing true silver dollars again. The American Silver Eagle (1986-present) is not to be confused with the cheaper base metal “silver dollars”. The silver eagle is the real thing, it’s the official silver bullion coin of the United States and is made of 99.9% pure silver.

Gold Dollars

Gold dollars coins have been minted since the gold rush of 1849. They come in several variations: Liberty Head small gold dollar (1849-1854), and large and small Indian Head gold dollars (1854-1889). The mint stopped making gold dollar coins in 1889, they were too small for circulation and used for melting or ornamentation, not commerce.

If you’re my article on the value of gold coins if you have a gold dollar and want to know what it’s worth.

Golden Dollars

The Sacagawea dollar (2000-present) are often called “golden dollars”, although they don’t contain any gold. They have a copper core and are clad in manganese brass. From 2009-2012 the mint released 4 new Native American coin designs.

In 2007 the mint began releasing the Presidential Dollar Coin series at a rate of 4 presidents per year. By law, no living presidents can appear on US money.