Sandburg's Hometown

January 26, 2015

Morgan Silver Dollar minted 1878-1904
The Morgan Silver Dollar minted 1878 to 1904.

The Silver Dollar

by Barbara Schock

Carl Sandburg was paid twenty-five cents a week for his first job. Early in the morning he swept the floors and washed the brass spittoons in the Callendar and Rodine Real Estate office on Main Street. In the afternoons, after school, he delivered The Republican-Register to about sixty homes on North Prairie and North Cherry Streets. He received a silver dollar per week for about two and a quarter hours of walking and tossing the newspapers he had folded onto each porch six days a week.

Some of the houses were set back from the street so Carl had to walk to them in order to place the papers on the porches. Sometimes the capitalists and well-known residents of the houses waited on their porches to have the newspaper handed to them directly.

The silver dollar was a hefty coin which represented a hundred cents of pure silver. Congress authorized the production of the dollars in 1792. During the Revolutionary War, there was distrust of the paper money in circulation. Silver coins from other countries, such as Germany and Spain, were used in the Colonial economy.

Silver dollars continued to be minted during the nineteenth century, especially after the western silver mines were opened. Gold dollars were minted after the California gold rush in 1849. The coins were only fifteen millimeters in diameter so were easily lost. The weight of the silver dollar helped individuals know their money was in their pocket.

In the early twentieth century, silver dollars were commonly given as birthday and Christmas gifts. In fact, the United States Mint put more of the coins in circulation to accommodate the custom. The year of 1921 is most often found on silver dollars today. The coins were minted to commemorate the signing of the peace treaties ending World War I. During the Great Depression very few dollar coins were minted.

Between 1971 and 1978, Eisenhower dollar coins were minted with the president's image on the obverse and the Apollo 11 Moon Landing in the reverse. Susan B. Anthony, the famous suffragette appeared on the dollar coin between 1979 and 1981 and again in 1999.

The Sacagawea dollar was first minted in 2000. A new series of presidential coins was begun in 2007 to honor each of our national leaders, but it was suspended in 2011. These are called golden dollars because of their appearance. They are made of an alloy which contributes to the coin's color. Collecting these coins seems to be the main reason for their production.

In recent decades, there has been resistance to using dollar coins. The real dollar coins are too heavy to carry in pocket or purse. The smaller modern dollar coins, such as the Susan B. Anthony, are much like quarters in size which causes confusion when making change. Countries converting from paper dollars to coins have been most successful when the paper dollars were removed from circulation. Lobbying of Congress by vending machine and other interests have kept paper dollars in circulation in the United States.

When young Carl Sandburg received that silver dollar for a week's work, he knew he had a piece of real money. It had size and weight to it. He was expected to gave it to his father to help support the family.


Sandburg's Hometown
Date Title
January 26, 2015 The Silver Dollar
January 19, 2015 The Fulton County Narrow Gauge Railway
January 12, 2015 The Four Corners
December 22, 2014 Swedish Christmas
December 8, 2014 Christmas 1878
December 1, 2014 Bunker Boots & Shoes
November 24, 2014 Galesburg, Illinois
November 17, 2014 It was Buffalo Bill's Day
November 10, 2014 The Election of 1896 (A follow-up story)
November 3, 2014 The Election of 1896 (continued)
October 27, 2014 The Election of 1896
October  24, 2014 The Rissywarn
October 20, 2014 The Parlor Stove
October 13, 2014 Ashes to Ashes
October 6, 2014 Jesse James
Sept. 29, 2014 Lester T. Stone, Public Servant
Sept. 22, 2014 It's Who You Know
Sept 15, 2014 Mother of the Illinois Flag
Sept 8, 2014 The Scissors Grinder
Sept 1, 2014 Baseball
August 25, 2014 Howard K. Knowles, Capitalist
August 18, 2014  Alcoholic Beverages
August 11, 2014 Soda Water
August 4, 2014 Sweet Corn
July 28, 2014 Marching Through Georgia
July 21, 2014 The Knox County Fair
July 14, 2014 The Panic of 1893
July 7, 2014 The Rev. T. N. Hasselquist
June 30, 2014 The Knox County Courthouse
June 23, 2014 The Family Photograph Album
June 16, 2014 Parades
June 9, 2014 Lingonberries
June 2, 2014 Where We Live
May 26, 2014 Old Main
May 19, 2014 Rhythms of the Railroad
May 12, 2014 Spring Tonic
May 5, 2014 The Milkmen
April 28, 2014 Gray's "Elegy..."
April 21, 2014 Off to War
April 14, 2014 Swedish Easter
April 7, 2014 A Father's Face
March 31, 2014 Secret Societies
March 24, 2014 George A. Murdock, Merchant
March 10, 2014 Trade Cards
March 3, 2014 The Demorest Medal
February 24, 2014 Rip Van Winkle
February 17, 2014 Cabbage Soup
February 10, 2014 Lincoln's Birthday
February 3, 2014 4  The Colonel
January 27, 2014 The Lincoln Penny - A Little History
January 20, 2014 Walking to Work
January 13, 2014  A Small Abode
January 6, 2014 Birth of a Poet
December 30, 2013 Christmas 1880
December 23, 2013 Swedish Christmas
December 16, 2013 The Reporter Sees Santa
December 9, 2013 The Coming of Christmas
December 2, 2013 The Fire Boys Talk
November 25, 2013 Galesburg Will Feast on Turkeys and Cranberries - Thanksgiving 1893
November 18, 2013 Mary Sandburg Johnson
November 11, 2013 Carl Sandburg's Bicycle
November 4, 2013 Lace Curtains
October 28, 2013 The Front Room
October 21, 2013 A Warm Breakfast
October 14, 2013 Marion D. Shutter
October 7, 2013 Cigars and Consumption
September 30, 2013 Forrest F. Cooke & August Sandburg
September 16, 2013 Forrest F. Cooke, Mayor
September 9, 2013 Dusty Streets
September 2, 2013 Typhoid Fever
August 26, 2013 Coffee and Water
August 19, 2013 A Horse! A Horse!
August 12, 2013 Gaddial Scott
August 5, 2013 The Racetrack
July 29, 2013 John Peter Algeld - Part II
July 22, 2013 John Peter Altgeld - Part I
July 15, 2013 Tramps, Tramps, Tramps
July 8, 2013 Lady Liberty
July 1, 2013 Galesburg's Fourth
June 24, 2013 John H. Finley
June 17, 2013 The World's Columbian Exhibition
June 10, 2013 Fruit Short-Cake
June 3, 2013 Horatio Alger, Author
May 27, 2013 Memorial Day, 1887
May 20, 2013 Professor Jon W. Grubb
May 13, 2013 Beginnings of Lombard University
May 6, 2013 Young Sandburg’s View of Lombard College
April 29, 2013 Thinking
April 22, 2013 Robert Colville, Master Mechanic
April 15, 2013 The Galesburg Opera House
April 8, 2013 Grocery Stores and Sample Rooms
April 1, 2013  A Hearty  Breakfast 
March 25, 2013  The Lost Wallpaper Legend 
March 18, 2013 Martin G. Sandburg
March 4, 2013 The Edison Talking Machine
February 25, 2013 Joe Elser, Civil War Veteran
February 18, 2013 Remember the Maine...
February 11, 2013 Lincoln's Birthday
February 4, 2013 Curiosity