The year is 1921. The Great War is over, and the American economy is booming. The U.S. Mint strikes its last Morgan Silver Dollar and prepares to release a brand-new coin to celebrate a world finally at peace. The Peace Dollar was the last circulating 90% silver dollar ever issued in the United States!
Peace Dollars offer a physical tie to America's past, marking a time when the world hoped for a peaceful future. Keep reading to learn more about the iconic Peace Silver Dollar and to browse our extensive inventory below.
During the war the Germans spread rumors that the British did not have enough silver to back their money, which led to hoarding of the metal. This led the British to ask the U.S. to purchase silver to help stabilize the price. The Pittman Act of 1918 called for the U.S. to melt as much as 350 million silver coins and sell them to the British at $1 per ounce. It also called for replacing that silver with newly mined American silver. Over 270 million Morgan dollars, or almost half the entire mintage of that coin was melted. The law also authorized production of a new silver dollar, whose design was not specified in the law and could be selected by the Treasury Secretary.
Legislation was passed in May 1921 that called the new coin “a peace dollar” and that July the Commission on Fine Arts suggested a competition be held to design the coin. The United States Mint commissioned Italian-born American coin designer and sculptor Anthony de Francisci to create the new coin's design. Francisci's design was selected through a competition that included submissions from some of numismatics' most prominent designers, including Adolph Weinman and Herman McNeil.Winning the competition greatly boosted de Francisci’s reputation as an important artist, who until then was largely unknown. His most known work before this was the 1920 Maine half dollar.
Peace Dollar Reverse: The reverse of the Peace Dollar features an American Eagle clutching an olive branch in its talons, symbolizing the American Nation's desire for peace following the end of World War I. The eagle is turned slightly away from the viewer, as if towards a new dawn, hopeful for a peaceful future. Legends on the reverse include "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," "E PLURIBUS UNUM," "ONE DOLLAR," and "PEACE."
Peace Dollar Obverse: The obverse of the Peace Dollar features a rendition of Lady Liberty, wearing a radiant tiara that closely resembles the one that adorns the Statue of Liberty. Legends on the obverse include the date, Anthony de Francisci's initials, "AF," "LIBERTY," and the phrase, "IN GOD WE TRVST." The use of a "V" instead of a "U" in "Trust" represents "V" for victory!
Three times fewer Peace Dollars were struck for circulation than their older silver sibling, the Morgan. However, just ten years after the first of these coins rolled off the presses, the U.S. found itself in the depths of the Great Depression. Production of Peace Dollars would cease forever soon afterward.
1921 Peace Dollars marked the first year of issue for the popular circulating dollar series. Silver Peace Dollars issued in 1921 are particularly notable because they were struck in high relief, allowing the iconic design to stand-out in vivid detail. However, the high relief striking of these Peace Dollars was found impractical for producing a mass amount of coinage intended for circulation, so in 1922 the series transitioned to a standard low-relief strike. The United States Mint struck some 1,003,473 1921 Peace Dollars.
1922 Peace Dollars feature some of the first in the series to be struck in standard relief. In 1922, after some 35,401 high relief Peace Dollars had been struck, and most melted down, by the United States Mint, the series would be struck in standard relief for the rest of its issuance. In 1922 Peace Dollars were struck at the San Francisco, Denver, and Philadelphia Branch Mints.
1923 Peace Dollars were struck in normal relief at the Denver, San Francisco, and Philadelphia branches of the United States Mint. 1923 Peace Dollars are characterized with the second-highest mintage in the series with 30,8000,000 Silver Peace Dollars struck at the Philadelphia branch, 6,800,000 struck at the Denver branch, and 19,020,000 struck at the San Francisco branch.
1925 Peace Dollars were struck at just the Philadelphia and San Francisco branches of the U.S. Mint. 10,198,000 1925 Peace Dollars were struck at the Philadelphia Mint, while 1,610,000 were struck at the San Francisco Mint. In 1926, some Peace Dollars were issued with the inscription "GOD" highlighted with high relief. The alleged story goes that John Sinnock, a former United States Mint Chief Engraver, wanted to highlight the concept of God during a time when the United States was amid the Scopes "Monkey Trial," debating the place of Darwin and evolution in the public discourse. 1925 Peace Dollars are characterized by the word "GOD" being struck in standard relief, as opposed to 1926 issues.
The Peace Dollar made an attempted comeback in 1964, when 45 million coins were authorized mainly for use in the Western states, and the Denver Mint produced 316,076 of the 1964-dated coins starting in May 1965. But after passage of the Coinage Act of 1965 later that year, silver dollar production was prohibited, and all those coins were melted, including the trial strikes. There have been rumors over the years of 1964-D Peace dollars, but none have surfaced. They would be subject to confiscation by the Secret Service if someone tried to sell one.
Peace Silver Dollars were struck from 26.73 grams of .900 fine silver and .100 fine copper for a total net weight of .77344 ounces of pure silver. The diameter of Peace Dollars is 38.1 millimeters, and they feature reeded edges.
Peace Dollar mint marks can be found on the reverse of the silver dollar below the inscription "ONE," in "ONE DOLLAR" and above the eagle's tail feathers. While Peace Dollars were struck at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco branches of the United States Mint, Philadelphia issues will not carry a "P" mint mark as is tradition. Both Denver and San Francisco struck issues will bear their "D" and "S" mint mark, respectively.
2021 marks 100 years since the issuance of the very first Peace Silver Dollar back in 1921. To celebrate this monumental centennial, the United States Mint is planning to release 2021 dated Peace Dollars struck in .999 fine silver as opposed to their historical counterparts, which were struck in .900 fine silver. Much remains to be revealed about these 2021 Peace Dollars, but if you want to sign-up to be notified when they are available for sale on ModernCoinMart, check-out our Coming Soon Page . Our 2021 Peace Dollar Coming Soon Page will also be updated with more information as it becomes available from the U.S. Mint!
VF-20 Very Fine (VF): Peace Dollars in Very Fine condition are characterized by Liberty's hair over her ear being well defined, while the hair over the eye may be well worn. The eagle's feathers on top and the outer edge of its right-wing will be somewhat evident.
EF-40 Extremely Fine (XF): Peace Dollars in Extra Fine condition often feature strong but somewhat worn hairlines over Liberty's ear and forehead. The eagle's feathers on top and its right-wing's outer edge will be detectable but faint.
AU-50 About Uncirculated (AU): Peace Dollars in About Uncirculated condition feature minor traces of wear, and while they have full mint luster, they may be somewhat marred by contact marks.
MS 60- Uncirculated: Peace Dollars in Uncirculated condition are traditionally feature minimal traces of wear, and while they have full mint luster, they maybe somewhat marred by bag abrasions, stains, or other surface marks.
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