Peace Dollar The obverse of the Peace Dollar features the head of Liberty, which was based on the likeness of the designer's wife Teresa de Francisci. The 1921 Peace Dollars have a desirable high relief that was reduced starting in 1922.

Peace Dollar

A favorite among collectors, the Peace Dollar was the last circulating dollar coin struck in silver. It was minted from 1921 to 1928, and from 1934 to 1935. The mint also struck 1964 dated Peace Dollars, but they were never put into circulation, and were likely all melted. The Peace Dollar was designed by Anthony de Francisci, who used his wife as the model. The Peace Dollars struck in 1921 feature a higher relief than the other years. This high relief gives the coin a highly defined sculpted look and makes the 1921 Peace Dollars the most desirable of the series.

History of The Peace Dollar
At the end of World War I, there was a strong public desire for a coin to celebrate peace, and this desire was articulated and promoted by many well known coin collectors of the day. At the time there happened to by new legislation in place requiring the U.S. Government to mint silver dollars for the first time since 1904, and the mint had planned a resumption of the Morgan Dollar to meet that requirement. But the Morgan design was decades old at the time, and there was a desire for something new. A new peace dollar was seen as the natural successor.

Although the idea of the peace dollar had good political support, a bill for the new dollar was moving slow through the legislative process, and the mint officials were getting anxious. The mint was required to produce silver dollars in 1921, and they preferred to use the new dollar design. But they were running out of time. By May of 1921, the mint began producing silver dollars using the old Morgan Dollar design. They still hoped to replace it with a new peace dollar design later in the year.

As they continued to wait for legislative action, the mint figured out that because the Morgan Dollar design was more than 25 years old, they already had the authority to replace it. So in late November 1921, the mint kicked-off an 11th hour design competition by closed invitation. Among those invited to compete were Lincoln Cent designer Victor D. Brenner, Walking Liberty Half Dollar designer Adolph A. Weinman, and a relative newcomer to coin design - Anthony de Francisci. Anthony de Francisci was selected as the winner on December 13, 1921. With only 18 days left, the mint had very little time to create the dies and prepare for production. The mint managed to produce one million coins despite the late start and problems with die breakage associated with the high relief of the coin. Many of these high relief coins lack details in the Liberty's hair, the coins that do are worth considerably more. The relief was lowered at the start of the 1922 mintage, and remained lowered throughout subsequent years.

The obverse of the Peace Dollar features the head of Liberty, which was based on the likeness of the designer's wife Teresa de Francisci. Although Teresa was thrilled to be Lady Liberty, her selection was made out of sheer necessity - the compressed time-frame of the contest simply left Anthony de Francisci without adequate time to hire a professional model. De Francisi's version of Liberty wears a head piece that is somewhat romanesqee in style, but still reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty.

The reverse features an eagle at rest, perched on an olive branch above the word "PEACE". As originally designed, the eagle was also perched on a broken sword. It was meant to symbolize peace, but to many who heard about the design, it conveyed defeat. The broken sword was ordered removed by the treasury secretary, causing more production delays.

Most Expensive Peace Dollars
The high relief and relatively low mintage in the first year makes 1921 an obvious key date for the Peace Dollar. Many collectors like the look of the higher relief and are will to pay more for it, especially well struck pieces in mint state condition. The 1921 coins were only produced in Philadelphia, and the mintage was approximately 1 million coins. For those looking for the lower relief design, there are four key dates with low mintage numbers - 361,000 coins were minted in 1928 at Philadelphia, 848,000 coins in 1927 at Philadelphia, 866,000 coins in 1928 at San Francisco, and 954,000 coins in 1934 at Philadelphia.

Least Expensive Peace Dollars
1922 saw the largest amount of coins produced with the combined mintage from all three mints topping more than 83 million coins. 51 million of these came from the Philadelphia mint alone. Thus the 1922 Peace Dollars are the most common and least expensive. The 1923 mintage is the second most common year with a combined mintage of over 56 million from all three mints. After that, the the 1924 Philadelphia, 1925 Philadelphia, and 1926 San Francisco coins are also quite common and consequently, less expensive.

How can you tell which mint your coin came from?
The Peace Dollars minted in Denver have a D mint mark on the reverse side above the eagle's tail. coins minted in San Francisco have an S mint mark found in the same location. Coins minted in Philadelphia lack a mint mark.

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Peace Dollar The reverse of the Peace Dollar features an eagle at rest, perched on an olive branch above the word "PEACE".

Peace Dollar The 1921 Peace Dollar like the one on the left had a high relief reminiscent of the early Saint-Gaudens Twenty Dollar coins. This high relief caused production problems and was reduced on all coins beginning in 1922. The 1922 Peace Dollar on the right is an example of the lower relief.

Peace Dollar The reverse of the 1921 Peace Dollar like the one on the left has a higher relief than later mintage Peace dollars like the one on the right. The difference is most noticeable on the word PEACE.

Peace Dollar The mint mark for the Peace Dollars is located on the reverse side above the eagle's tail.