What Does 'GSA' Mean on Silver?

By Jared Beck
Excess silver dollars were sold to collectors by the GSA.

The acronym "GSA" stands for the General Services Administration, a centralized government agency responsible for distributing supplies and providing workplaces for federal government employees. "GSA Silver" refers to silver dollars sold by the GSA during the 1970s and 1980s.

History of the GSA

President Harry Truman created the GSA in 1949 in order to "streamline the administrative work of the federal government," combining six different government agencies into one. Initially, the GSA was responsible for selling off war-surplus goods, storing government records, creating plans for emergency preparedness and maintaining reserves of strategic supplies during war time.

History of GSA Silver

In 1970, President Nixon authorized the U.S. Treasury to liquidate its holdings of almost 3 million Morgan silver dollars. Morgan silver dollars were designed by George T. Morgan and minted from 1878 to 1904 and then once more in 1921. The Treasury had stockpiles of these coins and utilized the GSA to hold mail-bid auctions for the rare coins over the next two decades, thus the term "GSA silver."

Fun Facts

For a brief time, the GSA actually managed hemp farms in South America. Also, only 1 percent of the GSA's budget comes from taxes; the rest comes from revenue created by sales and acquisitions done by the GSA.

About the Author

Jared Beck began writing professionally in 2010 and contributes articles to his hometown newspaper. An how-to article writer, he specializes in sports, literature, film and politics. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing from Miami University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in screenwriting from the University of Southern California.