Most collectors associate the Peace dollar with the word "PEACE" stamped below the perched bald eagle on the coin’s reverse. But Peace dollars (1921-1928 and 1934-1935) were named long before the coins were designed.

The coin originated with the Pittman Act, a 1918 law that required the melting of more than 270-million silver dollars for bullion. Peace dollars replaced Morgan silver dollars in late 1921 at a time when a post-World War I nation was looking for a hopeful sentiment. Collectors prize the high-relief coins struck that first year—the relief was so great that the coins could not be fully struck.

New York sculptor Anthony de Francisci won a limited competition among sculptors for the coin’s design. Using his wife, Teresa and a Saint-Gaudens' bust titled "Nike Erini" as models for Lady Liberty, de Francisci created what may be the only Art Deco coin in U.S. history—the font in the coin’s lettering and Liberty’s tiara are particularly Art Deco touches.

Even though de Francisci was the coin’s designer, the Mint’s chief engraver, George Morgan, had a hand in the final coin. Francisci's approved design had the eagle on the coin’s reverse holding a broken sword, a symbol of peace. But when a short editorial in the "New York Herald" complained that the broken sword symbolized defeat, thousands of letters and telegrams flooded the Treasury Department, Mint, Congress, and White House.

Pushed by the negative publicity, Morgan, with de Francisi looking over his shoulder, carefully removed the broken sword from the only steel hub in existence. Morgan also fashioned an additional olive branch, leaves and berries, and modified the coin's mountain peak. His work was so skillfully done, it was not until 2005 that collectors learned of the change.

Like Morgans, Peace dollars get the VAM (die variety) treatment by specialist collectors. Instead of having their variations identified by Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Mallis, most Peace VAMs have been compiled by Jeff Oxman and Dr. David Close. Famous VAMs include a die break in a 1922 Philadelphia Peace dollar that looks like Lady Liberty is wearing an earring. In a similar vein, a die break from the same mint in the same year gives the impression that Miss Liberty had a mustache.

Production of Peace dollars ceased in 1928 when the Mint completed striking sufficient coins to replace those melted in 1918. Less than 10 million more were struck in 1934 and 19...

The coin almost returned to circulation in 1965, when more than 300,000 silver Peace dollars were struck on a trial basis. The Denver-minted coins were dated 1964 to comply with the Coinage Act of 1965 (it eliminated the silver content of all coins except Kennedy half dollars, which were reduced to 40 percent), but in the end, the coins were melted down—to own one might be illegal, so if a few escaped the furnace, they would not be likely to come up for auction. Thus, the Peace dollars of 1935 were the last silver dollars produced by the U.S. government.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

VAMworld

VAMworld

This group-authored wiki is devoted to Morgan and Peace dollar die varieties known as VAMs - named after the two co… [read review or visit site]

Legendary Coins and Currency

Legendary Coins and Currency

This online exhibition from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is a great way to get an overview… [read review or visit site]

Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors

Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors

Home to the Society of U.S. Pattern collectors, this well-organized site provides in-depth information on pattern c… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

1921 High Relief $1 Peace Dollar Ngc Ms 63 - First Year Of Issue - No Reserve!1928 Ngc Peace Dollar Ngc Ms 63 ** Scarce Key Date! ** Free Shipping!Series Key Date 1928 Peace Silver Dollar Unc* Lusterous1928 P Peace Silver Dollar1928 P Peace Silver Dollar Coin #4854 $hi-grade$genuine Us Mint$rare Key DateKey Date! Uncirculated 1921 High Relief Peace Silver Dollar ~ First Year IssuedSeries Key Date 1928 Peace Silver Dollar Choice Bu** Gorgeous CoinUncirculated 1927-s San Francisco Mint Silver Peace Dollar Free S/h1928 P Peace Silver Dollar Coin #5945 $hi-grade$genuine Us Mint$rare Key DateKey Date! Uncirculated 1921 High Relief Peace Silver Dollar ~ First Year IssuedPcgs Ms66+ Plus Cac 1923 Peace Silver Dollar $1 Key Date 1934-s Peace Silver Dollar Au/bu* Lusterous1928 P Peace Silver Dollar1921 Peace Dollar, Popular First Year Issue Key Date, Very Nice * Free Shipping!1928 P Peace Silver DollarComplete Set Peace Silver Dollars 1921-1935 In Library Album W/ Key 1921 & 19281928 P Peace Silver Dollar $1 United States You Grade ItKey Date 1921 Peace Silver Dollar Au/bu* Lusterous1921 United States Silver Peace $1 Dollar CoinOriginal Roll 1926 Peace Silver Dollars .. Ch/gem Bu1928 $1 Peace Dollar, Uncirculated, High Luster, Key Date Beauty!1928 Pcgs Peace Dollar Pcgs Ms 63 ** Key Date In Series! ** Free Shipping!Key Date! Uncirculated 1928 Peace Silver Dollar ~ No Reserve! ~ Free Shipping!1928 Peace Silver Dollar Ef45 Anacs/ CleanedUncirculated 1928-s San Francisco Mint Silver Peace Dollar Free S/h1928 P Peace Silver Dollar(3) 1923 Pcgs Ms64 Peace Dollars & 1904o Pcgs Ms63 Morgan Dollar In Old Rattlers1921 Peace Dollar, High Relief, Beautiful First Year Key Date, ** Free Shipping!1921 Peace Dollar Choice/gem Bu No Reserve1926 Peace Dollar $1 Pcgs Ms 64+ Cac1928 P Peace Silver Dollar Coin #5937 $hi-grade$genuine Us Mint$rare Key Date1935 Peace Dollar ** Free Shipping!Uncirculated 1934 Philadelphia Mint Silver Peace Dollar Free S/h!!1928 Peace Dollar, Lowest Mintage In Series! ** Free Shipping!1924 Ngc Ms65 Gem Original Colorful Toned Peace DollarOriginal Roll 1925 Peace Silver Dollars . .ch/gem Bu» 1921 « Peace Silver Dollar » Pcgs Ms62 1922-d $1 Peace Silver Dollar Pcgs Ms64 Coin Better Date! *1921 Peace Dollar Au1934 S Peace Silver Dollar Coin #5813 $genuine Us Mint$rare Key Date EstateUncirculated 1927-s San Francisco Mint Silver Peace Dollar Free S/hFive Rolls 1926 P,d,s Peace Silver Dollar.. Au/bu1928 Peace Dollar Ngc Au Details Improperly Cleaned1934-d Peace Dollar, Better Date! ** Free Shipping!1928 Peace Silver Dollar $1 Ngc Xf Details1921 Peace Silver Dollar! Bidding Starts At .99 Cents No Reserve! !1921 High Relief Peace Silver Dollar Ngc Ms63Roll Of 20 Silver Peace Dollars F/xf Details. Read!!1928 Peace Dollar Key Date High Grade Uncirculated1921 Peace Dollar, Beautiful High Relief Dollar, Pq Key Date! * Always In Demand1921 High Relief Strong Strike Peace Dollar From Big Collection1921 Peace Dollar High Relief, Nice Condition One Of The Key Dates In The Series1927 D Silver Peace Dollar $1 Nice1921 Peace Dollar First Year For This Silver Dollar, High Relief Coin1921 $1 Peace Silver Dollar1925 $1 Peace Silver Dollar, Gem Uncirculated, Anacs Ms65*5 Day Only* "key" 1921 First Year Issue 1921 Silver Peace Dollar~free Shipping!1923 Peace Dollar Ngc Ms 65 Patriot CollectionUncirculated 1927 Peace Silver Dollar ~ Free Shipping ~ No Reserve!1921 High Relief Peace Silver Dollar $1 United States