The Peace Dollar was produced by the United States Mint beginning in 1921. The US Mint is known worldwide for producing some of the greatest coins and the Peace Dollar is no exception. This coin remains very popular to this day because of its limited minting, design, historical significance as well as its silver content.
The Peace Dollar is one of the most prominent coins of the twentieth century. It followed the long and prosperous minting of the Morgan Silver Dollar, which ran from 1878 to 1921. The Peace Dollar was made possible by the Pittman Act of 1918, which played an important role in its minting. Once the act was passed, the U.S. Mint was required to strike millions of silver dollar coins each year as per federal law.
At the time, World War I was on everyone’s minds. When it came time to design the coin that would follow the Morgan, some people started to think it should be designed to reflect world peace. Eventually, a lobby came together with the central goal of requesting that the U.S. Mint strike a coin paying tribute to the peace process and how peace was reached at the end of the war. In 1921 the lobbying had paid off when US Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon said yes to the design of the Peace Dollar. These coins were minted from 1921 to 1928 and again from 1934 to 1935.
The Peace Dollar was designed by Anthony de Francisci as a result of a competition that was held to see who could come up with the best design to symbolize peace after World War I. Francisci was only 34 years old when his design was chosen as the winner. He was actually the youngest designer of all those competing. It is believed that Francisci’s inspiration for the coin’s obverse was his wife, Teresa de Francisci. The depiction of the Goddess of Liberty and his wife’s profile are very similar.
Before the coin’s official design was approved it was met by some controversy. The coin’s first reverse was swiftly nixed by the public. It featured an eagle holding onto a broken sword. Some saw the depiction as symbolism of defeat rather than peace. So then it was back to the drawing board. The broken sword design was out and a new design was needed. That’s when Francisci used the symbolic olive branch as a means to signify the peace process, but more on that next. For now, let’s explore the coin’s obverse.
On the obverse of the coin is the depiction of the Goddess of Liberty. Her hair flows as the radiant crown atop her head remains still. Her profile is both beautiful and strong. Also on the obverse are the words “In God We Trust” and “Liberty”. The mint year is also printed.
On the coin’s reverse is the iconic American bald eagle. It rests proudly, clutching an olive branch between its regal claws. Proudly it sits on a perch as the sun’s rays cascade in the background. The words inscribed are “Peace” and “United States of America” and “E. Pluribus Unum” as well as the phrase “one dollar.” Though it’s hard to imagine anything different than the majestic eagle clutching an olive branch on the back, Francisci submitted a different original design. The design that the US Mint went with was Francisci’s backup design. In his original design, the eagle breaks a sword. In the actual design the bird holds an olive branch. The public liked the use of the olive branch better. They saw the broken sword as symbolism of defeat rather than peace.
There are a few different reasons this coin has become sought after and popular with collectors. First of all the coin went through a limited mintage. Peace Dollars were only printed for a few years. That makes them more rare than some other coins on the market. Also these coins are historically significant. They are a true piece of American history and world history as they signify the peace process that got us to the end of World War I. Another reason these coins are popular is their beauty. Collectors love pretty coins and these are beautiful.
The age of this coin is another reason for its popularity. This coin followed the long and prosperous minting of the Morgan Silver Dollar, which was minted for 40 years until 1921. That means that the earliest Peace Dollars are nearly 100 years old. Older coins are generally worth more and generally more valued by collectors. Collectors enjoy these coins because of their rich history, beautiful design and their investment value in regard to silver content.
The popularity of the Peace Dollar often comes down to the year the coin was released. Some years are more highly regarded than others. For example, the most scarce Peace Dollar is the 1928 edition. Only 360,649 of these coins were minted for circulation. We don’t know how many were melted down and how many are out of commission for other reasons. In other words, scarcity is tops when it comes to the value of these coins. Look out for a 1928 Peace Dollar because those are the most scarce.