The Coinage Act of 1873 was a general revision of the laws relating to the Mint of the United States. In abolishing the right of holders of silver bullion to have their metal struck into fully legal tender dollar coins, it ended bimetallism in the United States, placing the nation firmly on the gold standard. Because of this, the act became contentious in later years, and was denounced by people who wanted inflation as the "Crime of '73".
The legislation, in addition to ending the production of the silver dollar, abolished three low-denomination coins.
When silver prices dropped in 1876, producers sought to have their bullion struck at the Mint, only to learn that this was no longer possible. The matter became a major political controversy that lasted the remainder of the century, pitting those who valued the deflationary gold standard against those who believed free coinage of silver to be necessary for economic prosperity. The gold standard was explicitly enacted into law in 1900, and was completely abandoned by the U.S. in 1971.
Since 1853, silver bullion could be taken to the Mint and be coined into the standard silver dollar. Just like its gold counterpart, silver had unlimited legal tender. In other words, the value of the coin that could be minted from silver bullion was unlimited. Since the country was on bimetallism, the same principal held true for gold. The only noticeable difference (prior to 1873) was that silver coins had become quite rare—Greenbacks and National Bank notes were much more common and obtainable, especially to the working class.