The Peace Dollar is a silver United States dollar coin minted from 1921 to 1928, then again in 1934 and 1935. Then resurrected one final time in 1964.
If you own any Peace type silver dollars, check the dates. If you have one particular date, you’re rich. And probably somewhat famous, to boot. But if you do own this particular Peace dollar, don’t put a down payment on your dream home just yet. The government may be coming after you! More on this later.
The Peace type silver dollar suffers in comparison to the earlier Morgan type silver dollar. First, it’s the design. Not to say that the Peace dollar isn’t a beautiful coin -—it’s actually quite a striking design. But it doesn’t have the “classic” look of the (for the most part) 19th century Morgan dollar with its heavily curled liberty bust, stars and edge denticles. However, the Peace dollar truly pales in popular comparison to the Morgan dollar due to its low-relief design. The shallower design of the Peace dollar simply doesn’t leap boldly out at you as does the Morgan dollar design. It wasn’t always that way -—the first Peace dollars, struck in 1921, were struck in glorious medal-like relief. Unfortunately, the high relief Peace dollar design proved impractical, so in subsequent years it was struck in lower relief.
Secondly, the Peace dollar didn’t circulate during that all-important “Old West” period, as did the Morgan dollar. Instead, the Peace dollar can only lay claim to being the “Silver Dollar of The Roaring Twenties” or “Silver Dollar of The Great Depression.” The years of 1921-35 were interesting to be sure, but more people are probably enthralled with a silver dollar that bounced around an Old West saloon at Tombstone, Arizona.
Still, the Peace dollar should not be ignored. As a series, it has a much higher percentage of fairly low mintages (1.5 million or less) than does the earlier Morgan dollar series! Also, the Peace silver dollar is our nation’s LAST true silver dollar! Yes, I know we still strike “silver dollars” today— but they are not true, circulation-issue silver dollars. The silver dollars being struck today are either commemorative silver dollars or Silver Eagle bullion silver dollars --neither of which are meant to circulate. And yes, there have been dollar coins struck after the Peace dollar, namely the Eisenhower dollar, Susan B. Anthony dollar and Sacagawea dollar coins. Yet while these three dollar coins were all struck for circulation, none of them contain any silver (special Proof set strikes being the exception).
The Peace dollar was designed by Anthony De Francisci. It was struck as a continuation of the revival of the silver dollar (no silver dollars were struck 1905-20) and also to pronounce (hopefully) a new Age of Peace following the end of World War I. The design expresses these sentiments strongly: on the obverse, Miss Liberty wears a radiate crown, while on the reverse, “PEACE” is proclaimed below the symbolic eagle, standing before a backdrop of glorious sun rays. As mentioned earlier, this design was REALLY something to behold in 1921, when struck in high relief. Only a small mintage of just over 1 million 1921 Peace dollars were struck --consequently, the 1921 Peace dollar is not only the first year of issue, but a one-year type by virtue of its higher relief. It retails around $135 in Fine, about $245 in Uncirculated, a good deal higher than most other dates in the series.
By far, the most commonly encountered Peace dollars are the 1922-25 issues. They only retail about $16.50 in average circulated condition, and just under $30 in regular mint state condition. Dates from the late 1920’s through the mid-1930’s are a good deal scarcer, but actually not that much more expensive. Very Fine examples of these dates retail around $25. It’s in Uncirculated condition that the later dates really jump in value, averaging around $150. It would seem these later dates were not saved in mint-state to the extent that the earlier dates were.
The scarcer date/mintmark combinations would be the 1921 (only struck in Philadelphia), the 1927-P and S, the 1928-P, and the 1934-P. None of these particular Peace dollars, however, could be called a true rarity. The 1928-P comes the closest, retailing $470 in Fine, and $525 in basic mint state. The Peace dollar I'm going to talk about next is a different story, however. Many experts doubt any examples exist. Still many others are certain that some MUST exist— somewhere! Logically, some MUST exist. It’s a fact that some 300,000 of them were struck at the Denver mint. In 1965.