1921 Peace Silver Dollar: Values & Mintages
1921 was the Year of Two Silver Dollars. One, the Morgan dollar, was an old design that no one expected to see again. The other was the Peace dollar. It was a new design, and the first coin design in the U.S. created in response to public demand.
This is the story of the 1921 Peace dollar, the dynamic new silver dollar designed for 20th Century America.
1921 Peace dollar
What Is a 1921 Peace Dollar Worth?
The information on this page does not constitute an offer to buy or sell the coin(s) referred to. Proof and prooflike examples of this issue may have greater or lesser "finest known" and different record auction prices.
What Makes the 1921 Peace Dollar Special?
The 1921 Peace dollar was the first U.S. coin design produced due to popular demand. It was also the last high relief coin intended for circulation.
The Peace dollar was the last coin design of the 1907-1921 “American Renaissance of Coinage.” Like its predecessors, its relief had to be lowered to extend the life of the coin dies.
1921 high relief Peace silver dollar. Image: USA CoinBook
The Peace dollar was also the last real silver dollar struck by the United States (in 1935). The circulating Eisenhower dollar that was introduced in 1971 had a clad construction devoid of silver, similar to today’s quarters and dimes. (There were proof collectible Eisenhower dollars struck with a “silver sandwich” clad construction, but they did not circulate.)
The 1921 Peace Dollar Design
The Peace dollar could have hardly been more different than the Morgan dollar. Lady Liberty gave off a youthful, energetic appearance on the coin’s obverse, rather than the staid, matronly guise of her counterpart on the Morgan dollar. An American bald eagle stood perched on a mountaintop on the reverse, watching the first rays of a rising sun break above the horizon.
All 1921 Peace dollars were minted in Philadelphia, so they don't have any mintmark. The mintmark location is important to take note of for subsequent years. Like the Morgan dollar, the mintmarks are either "D" or "S" and are found on the reverse beneath the eagle's tail. On the Peace dollar, however, the mintmark is in the bottom-left rather than centered at the bottom rim.
The Peace dollar was designed by Anthony de Francisci, who won an eight-way design contest in November 1921 to design the coin. Due to the time constraints of the contest, de Francisci used his wife as the basis for his Liberty. The artists only had ten days to submit their designs. Germany and the US had signed a peace treaty that November. Mint officials wanted to release the coin by the end of the year to mark the event.
Peace Dollar reverse design
The Eagle And The Sword
The original design for the reverse of the Peace dollar had the eagle standing on the broken sword of War, while grasping an olive branch. Before the design was even seen by the public, news leaked about the sword. Complaints flooded into the U.S. Mint, Treasury Department, and Congress. The nation’s newspapers carried countless outraged editorials.
The broken sword was not seen as a symbol of “no more war,” but rather as the “broken sword of a defeated soldier.” Chief Engraver Morgan sat down with de Francisci and altered the only master hub to turn the sword into part of the olive branch, and part of the mountain. No Peace dollars with the original reverse were struck: not even trial pieces.
Any coins showing the sword are fakes, or real Peace dollars that have been overstamped and the date changed. In any case, they have no value except their silver content. Moreover, contrary to rumors on the internet, all 1921 Peace dollars are high relief. The relief was lowered partway through production of 1922-dated coins.
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