Morgan Dollar 90% Coin – This coin was designed by George T. Morgan in 1878 and continued to be produced until 1904. In 1921, the coin was produced for one more year. The edge is reeded and the design shows Liberty. It has separate mint marks for Philadelphia, San Francisco, New Orleans, Dallas, and Carson City.
Peace Dollar 90% Coin – The Peace Dollar was minted from 1921 until 1928, then for a brief time in 1934-1935. It was designed by the famed Anthony de Francisci to represent a hope for peace and harmony in the Post-World War I era. The Great War, as it was called them, was the first general war in Europe in a century, and the appalling losses in the trenches represented the worst death toll in history. In 1965, the U.S. Mint struck 300,000 Peace dollars with the 1964 stamp, but they were never circulated and most people believe they were all melted down. If one were extant, it would have a massive value.
Barber Dollar 90% Coin – The Barber coinage was designed by Charles E. Barber, who was chief engraver of the U.S. Mint from 1879 to 1917–a record length of service. The Barber coins were half-dollars, quarters, and dimes minted between 1892 and 1916, though the half-dollar was not minted in 1916. Charles Barber is given mixed reviews for his coins, but he was a key figure during the time the 90% silver was minted in the USA.
Walking Liberty Half-Dollar – The Walking Liberty design came about when a new official, Robert W. Woolley, sought to replace the Barber coins. He commissioned Adolph A. Weinman, who designed a Walking Liberty. Critics at the time thought it was too intricate and it proved hard to mint, which might have led to its replacement in 1948. Cornelius Vermeule, a notable art critic, said it is the first beautiful American coin. Companions to the half-dollar exist. A Standing Liberty quarter 25-cent piece was coined from 1916 to 1930, while a Winged Liberty dime was produced from 1916 until 1948.
Franklin Half-Dollar – the Franklin Half-Dollar replaced Walking Liberty in 1948. This continued to be produced until 1963. The coin featured Benjamin Franklin on the obverse and the Liberty Bell on the reverse. It also featured a small eagle, because federal statute required all coins to have an eagle in the design. The engraver (John R. Sinnock) placed his initials, JRS, on the coin, leading to accusations in 1948 that communist sympathizers has put the initials of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin on the coin.
Kennedy Half-Dollar – The Kennedy Half-Dollar was authorized by the U.S. Congress in December 1963 to commemorate the slain president, John F. Kennedy. Designers Gilroy Roberts and Frank Gasparro had prints already made of the president, allowing the first coins to be struck in record time, in January 1964. When they were released in March 1964, the coins disappeared from circulation almost immediately, due to Americans wanting a memento, as well as the standard collectors and hoarders. The price of silver was climbing at the time, so that increased the number of hoarders. Eventually, a Kennedy 40% silver coin was created to replace it.
Washington Quarter – The Washington quarter was designed by John Flanagan in 1932 to commemorate the bicentennial of George Washington’s birthday. It continued to be minted until the US Mint changed to copper-nickel quarters in 1965.
Roosevelt Dime – Soon after Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in office (April 1945), a movement began to memorialize him. The Roosevelt Dime successfully was championed by Virginia Congressman Ralph H. Daughton in 1946. John R. Sinnock, later the creator of the Franklin Half-Dollar, was commissioned to produce the coin. The decision to stamp Roosevelt’s likeness on dimes was due mainly to his tireless work for the March of Dimes, a charity designed to help with polio research (FDR suffered from polio).
Those are the 90% silver coins from the United States. Other countries have minted their junk silver, but I’ll discuss those in further articles.