Peace Dollars (1921-1935)

The so-called Peace silver dollar, designed by Anthony DeFrancisci, was first produced in December 1921 following a large mintage of Morgan dollars that same year. The idea for a coin to commemorate the peace following World War I came from Farran Zerbe, former President of the ANA from 1908 to 1910 and active promoter of numismatics, particularly during the first quarter of the 20thcentury.

The Peace dollar depicts the obverse of Miss Liberty, facing left, wearing a diadem of spikes (in somewhat similar style to that seen on the Statue of Liberty). LIBERTY is above, while IN GOD WE TRUST and the date are below. The reverse shows an eagle perched on a rock, with a laurel branch, and with PEACE inscribed below. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and EPLURIBUS UNUM are above, while ONE DOLLAR is to be seen just below the center. Rays of an unseen sun emanate from the lower right.

Issues of 1921, and a few pieces dated 1922, are in high relief, although collectors have not necessarily differentiated this as a distinct design. It was found that the high relief cause problems in having the pieces strike up properly, so in 1922 the motifs were redone to a shallower format, a style continued through 1935. Mintage of Peace silver dollars was continuous from 1921 through 1928 and again in 1934 and 1935. In 1964, the Denver Mint struck 316,076 Peace Dollars but, before they were released into circulation, all of the coins were destroyed.  A few may have been purchased or "taken" by Mint employees and rumors persist of this coin's existence. However, for fear of confiscation by Treasury officials, none have yet appeared on the market.  Were it legal to own, the 1964-D Peace Dollar would become one of the most valuable of all United States coins.

While there are no extreme rarities in the rather short-lived Peace dollar series, the 1928-P is the key date, commanding a good price even in well-circulated grades. Most of the San Francisco issues are tough in top Uncirculated grades, particularly the 1927-S and 1928-S as well as the 1924-S and 1934-S. Specimens of the common issues from 1921 through 1925 are readily obtainable in various grades from Very Fine through Uncirculated. Sharply struck Uncirculated pieces with full luster and with a minimum of marks are quite scarce.