Overview of U.S. Dollar
Eager to promote commerce and trade, one of Congress' first acts was to establish
a sovereign coinage system.
Minted in silver-rich Mexico the Spanish milled dollar or Piece of Eight aka 8-Reales
("8 bits") coins were the most popular silver coins used in the American Colonies.
On the recommendation of Thomas Jefferson, this widely used Spanish coin was adopted
as the official U.S. silver dollar.
The Coinage Act of April 2, 1792 authorized the Mint and prescribed the standards
for the new federal decimal coinage. The dollar was the cornerstone of the monetary
system devised by the Founding Fathers for the United States.
The United States was the first country to adopt a decima system of coinage. Instead
of using "bits" (1/8 dollar) lesser coins were to be issued in "cents" (1/100 dollars).
More than two years passed, however, between the time Congress authorized dollar
coinage and the actual production of the first such coin, the Flowing Hair silver dollar.
American dollars have always been popular with Americans and collectors around
the world especially the silver. Partly because they are unique and beautiful, and partly because the
rising price of silver has caused both the government and many individuals to melt
them. This makes the remaining coins more desirable to collectors. In the case of
the "Morgan" dollar, only 17 percent of its original issue number remain.
The most popular silver dollars among collectors are the Morgan dollar (especially
years 1878-1921), and the Peace dollars minted between 1921 and 1935.