The Seven Over Eight Morgan Dollar - A Valuable Find With An Interesting History

Birthed in Conspiracy
The Morgan dollar was designed by George T. Morgan from England. Morgan won a staged contest held by the director of the Philadelphia mint, Henry P. Linderman, for the design of the coin. Linderman was not happy with the designs of the Chief Engraver at the time, so the staged contest allowed him to use Morgan and have more input into the design of the coin. The coin's design had the head of Liberty on the face, which was Linderman's suggestion, with a rather scrawny-looking bald eagle on the coins obverse (tails) side.

Attention to Detail
It's unclear whether the fault lies with Morgan's design or with the maker of the die used to strike the coin, but production began in 1878 with the bald eagle having eight tail feathers. Someone informed the mint that a bald eagle actually has seven tail feathers, not eight as depicted on the coin. Upon hearing this, Linderman ordered that the die be changed so that the eagle had the correct amount of tail feathers.

Some of the coins which had just been struck with the eight-tail-feather design were sent back to be struck again using the new die. However, the new die did not totally cover the old eight-tail design. The old design shows through to varying degrees on the coins. Some show around three to seven tips of the eagles tail feathers underneath the new design. Some of the rarer - and more valuable - coins have a doubled "LIBERTY" marking and doubled eagle's legs.

If you can find a seven-over-eight (7/8F) Morgan dollar, keep in safe, it is worth something! The more tail feathers that are visible underneath the "over-stamp", the better.

However, more and more collectors are snatching these coins up so they are becoming an increasingly rare find. A valuable coin with an interesting history.

Ryan has been collecting US coins for most of his life. Find and buy Morgan dollars at his web site,, which allows visitors to find and bid on Morgan Dollars as well as get a detailed history of the coin.