When most collectors think of US silver dollars, they think of Morgans, especially for investing. There are a number of tougher dates which make it difficult for a collector starting out.
How about collecting Peace Dollars. It is a great 20th century coin and there are only 24 coins in the set. It is also the last circulating 90% silver dollar in the US. As always, a little background.
In 1904, The US Mint would stop minting Morgan Dollars. They wouldn’t consider minting silver dollars again until 1918 when Congress passed the Pittman Act. The Pittman Act would allow the melting and re-coining of silver dollars. It wouldn’t be until 1921 that Morgan Dollars would be minted again, but this would be their last year.
At the end of World War I, there was a consideration of designing a Peace coin. With the Pittman Act in effect and the Morgan Dollar minted for over 25 years, the silver dollar was looked at for a change. In May, 1921 a design competition was suggested where the winner would get $1,500. After a few setbacks to start this competition, one member of the committee, James Earl Fraser (designer of the Buffalo Nickel), notified a number of competitors the rules of the competition. Competitors included including the designers of the Lincoln Cent, Victor D Brenner, and the Walking Liberty Half Dollar, Adolph Weinman. By this time it was November, and designers had to submit their entries by December 12th. The new coin had to include a Liberty Head design on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse.
On December 13, 1921, the winner of the competition was Anthony De Francisci. De Francisci used his wife Teresa’s profile as the design of lady Liberty for the obverse and an eagle on top of a broken sword and an olive branch. The broken sword brought much controversy, because this was supposed to be a Peace coin, and the broken sword was considered a symbol of defeat or surrender. So, the broken sword was removed.
December 28th would be the first day of minting the new coin and released to the public on January 3, 1922. By 1928, the silver used by the Pittman Act had depleted. Looked like the end of the Peace Dollar, but in 1934, the US Mint was able to purchase domestic silver. Peace Dollar would be produced in 1934 and 1935. They were considering minting them in 1936 but there wasn’t any demand for them. So, it seemed that the Peace Dollar was finally done.
Because of production starting in December 28th, only a little over a million Peace Dollars were minted in 1921. Dies were sent to Denver and San Francisco, but they were told to wait on minting them making Philadelphia the only mint to produce 1921 Peace Dollars.
With the end of the re-coined silver from the Pittman Act of 1918, the 1928 Philadelphia Peace Dollar only had a mintage of 360,649, which is less than the mintage of the 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent. Even a grade of Very Fine could be worth a few hundred dollars making it the toughest circulated Peace Dollar.
The 1934-S had a mintage of just over a million. Compared to the 1928, you could get a 1934-S in Very Fine condition for under $100, but an uncirculated coin is a different story. In 2016, a 1934-S Peace Dollar was worth $2,000 in MS-60. This was a result of more of them released in circulation.
The 1964-D Peace Dollar
Almost 30 years after the last Peace Dollars were minted, Congress had passed legislation to produce as many as 45,000,000 silver dollars. However, because of people hoarding silver dollars and government silver depleting, the Coinage Act of 1965 was released removing silver from dimes and quarters and reducing the amount of silver to 40% in half dollars. The bill was passed in July, 1965, but the US mint in Denver had minted 316,000 1964 Peace Dollars and were all supposedly melted. Except for two found in Treasury Vaults in 1970, which were destroyed, there have not been any known 1964-D Peace Dollars in existence. Of course, there are rumors.
Would you consider collecting Peace Dollars?
Building a circulated set would be easy to do, with the possible exception of the 1928 Peace Dollar. Uncirculated coins would be tougher. Some of the more common ones can be attained for under $100, but of course, the 1928 and 1934-S would set you back. I think the Peace Dollar is one of the most beautiful US coins that were minted. What do you think?
Nice website, very white and clean easy to read along, I did think coin collecting was boring until reading through your pages and posts. You mentioned you started collecting coins at the age of 11, I am in my 30’s now and think this could be a good little on the side hobby for me, do you think it is too late for me to start coin collecting?
It seems that there are a lot less people collecting coins now than when I started 40 years ago. I want to try to make coin collecting interesting to get people back into the hobby.
I don’t think it’s ever too late to start coin collecting. Like I’ve said in the past, collecting coins is what you make it. US coins are a part of the history of this country, from after the Revolutionary War to today.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I wish you well if you start collecting.
I really like this article on the Peace Dollars. I never knew any of the history of this beautiful dollar, so I have to thank you for that information. My husband stared collecting coins about five years ago, and now he has me looking for coins for him.
Please give me any more information that you can and also if possible the best place to buy or find these coins.
I’m glad you like the article. I just touched the surface of the Peace Dollar. It went through a number of legislative issues and the Treasury Department was trying very hard to start minting it in 1921. It wasn’t until December 28th that they able to start producing them. If you want to know more about the Peace Dollar, you can see the complete story on Wikipedia. I thought it was great that the designer used his wife as the design of Liberty.
In terms of buying coins, I would avoid coin shops because in many cases, they are higher than what you should pay. Definitely, stay away from the coin infomercials. Ebay is a good source as long as the person selling is reliable. Most of the sellers I’ve dealt with have at least 99% reliability and a lot of good reviews. The only suggestion I would give you is to check on the price, especially for “Buy it Now” offers. Coin shows are good too. Many times, dealers will offer a better price than they would at their shops. Before going to the show, determine which coin(s) you are looking for and what the maximum price you would pay for them. Occasionally, you can haggle the price down a little from what the dealer is offering.
Hope this helps and good luck to you and your husband.
I never knew any of the history behind the peace dollar, it’s actually quite fascinating. My mother started collecting coins years ago.. and she’s actually acquired a very nice collection of coins over the years. Due to little time to dedicate to collecting though, I’ve become interested in doing so, and this motivates me! Thank you!
Hey Sarah, thanks for the comment. Hope my site helps you on your way. I too do not have much time to collect either, but I try to find some time to do it.