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the joy of rainy days...

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Since it was rainy, windy and cold all day – and I couldn’t golf – I decided to dig out some old goodies just to look at them again. After a few odds and ends, I stumbled upon an “original” roll of 1921 uncirculated Morgans, so I thought I would see if any of them might be worth TPG submission, since I have a few “freebies” left. After looking at a few, I started noticing some similarities between a few of them. Closer inspection revealed a nice assortment of Die Breaks – at various stages. 893whatthe.gif

This got me to thinking – with all the modern hoopla over First Stike, I wondered if anybody is able to determine LAST strike. In this case, maybe the LAST Morgan ever struck in Philadelphia!! acclaim.gif


I have no idea if anyone has successfully put together all the die marriages and states for Morgans – like they have for Bust coinage, but I bet many have tried. I spent the better part of the day trying to chronologically sort the coins in this roll, based on the different breaks. Amazingly, I was able to find 7 or 8 of them that were certainly struck from the same die. (I also determined that 6 of the coins probably were NOT part of the original roll, because they had NO evidence of any die wear, and just didn’t look quite the same as the others.) A couple other pairs or trios all had similar die breaks, but they must have been from different die than the first larger group, because the breaks were in completely different areas?. All together from ONE roll, I ended up with 14 die break Morgans, from 2-3 different die, and a couple with different die marraiges!! Amazing!

I quickly checked all of my other Morgan rolls, and found exactly ZERO coins with die breaks. frown.gif


During the couse of this little study, I came up with a few questions that hopefully somebody more knowledgeable than me can answer:

1) Are die breaks pretty “normal” in Morgans?

2) About how many Morgan die sets did they go through in any given year?

3) How bad did they let the breaks get before the die was replaced?

4) Did they make multiple (identical) die for the whole year by 1921, or did they make them as they needed them like back in the Bust years?


I tried to get some decent closeups – but I can’t seem to capture the true look of these breaks with my cheapy little camera. Hopefully you can see something!




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Certainly, the "last strikes" of coins are known in certain series. There are coins for which the "terminal die state" can be determined because the dies that struck the coins were completely shattered, and couldn't possibly have survived more than a few end-of-life strikings. As you mentioned, this is especially true of early series, such as bust halves and the like, but there are some pretty spectacular shattered dies even in the Morgan series. Many Peace dollars show classic die-fatigue on the obverse, with the typical signs being the circular die crack that creeps around nearly the entire coin.


Great topic! Keep some stuff tucked away for another rainy day!



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According to Dave Bowers' Silver Dollar Encyclopedia, the original hubs for the Morgan dollar dies were destroyed in 1910, so George Morgan and John Sinnock had to make new dies, which were in shallower relief than the 1904 and earlier coins, in order to facilitate quantity striking of the new coins.


Since the coins were minted under the requirements of the Pittman Act, the Mint had a good idea of how many dollars they would mint, so they could probably make the dies over a relatively compact period of time.


Bowers estimates that there were over 200 die pairs for the 1921 Morgan (with more for the D- and S-mint coins). Most likely the VAM book would be the best source of die and die marriage information.

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Wow - 200 die pairs.

Uhhhgg! is all I can say.

I guess there might be some die marriages that are rare, but I am not sure it is worth all the effort that would be involved. There are just way too many of them (21 Morgans)!

I'll stick with Busties - a lot less of them to worry about.

It was fun for a day, but I wouldn't want to make a habit out of chasing Morgan varieties!

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It is interesting how great minds think alike. CMP8ball, Chris Machuga, has made similar observations on earlier Morgans, etc.

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Hey Guys,

You know I had many Common date Morgan Dollars just setting around not getting any attention, they weren’t worth much, just pretty to look at and then a few years ago when Vams started getting hot I started checking them out.


Check out Rob Joyce’s # 1 VAM Registry Set. He is into the 1921 Morgan Varieties big time. This is where I started my searches for answers to the same similar questions GAB has presented. I too, have some interesting 1921 Varieties and a few Vams. (Which by the way are listed in the TOP 100 VAMS.) I have maybe 5 of the Pitted Reverse Vams. There is another interesting thing about some of these strikes….The way I understand it is there were situations where the mint was experimenting with different die combinations and a way of identifying them was to tap them with a punch in different locations and the results are little raised dots.. real neat to find them. I learned this from starting at Rob’s web site.

You can find many answers in the Comprehensive Catalog and Encyclopedia of Morgan & Peace Dollars.


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A new book was released recently, "Elite Clashed Morgan Dollars" by Mark Kimpton. The book is $24.95 + $3.95 S/H. Anyone interested can contact him by one of the following ways:


Snail Mail

P.O. Box 66

Lithopolis, OH 43136


Phone: (740)215-6578


E-mail: mark_kimpton@hotmail.com


Mark accepts Pay Pal.



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