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?