1921 Silver Dollars: Values and Mintages
1921 was The Year Of Two Silver Dollars. It was the year that saw the curtain call of a silver dollar that no one had wanted in the first place and the premiere of the silver dollar that capped the American Coin Renaissance.
Why Bring Back The Silver Dollar In The First Place?
By 1921, it had been 17 years since any silver dollars had been made. With literally hundreds of millions of unwanted Morgan dollars clogging the coin vaults at the Treasury Department, there was no need nor desire to make more.
Congress had other ideas. In a “deal with the silver devil,” The 1918 Pittman Act promised the politicians from the silver mining states that all 270 million silver dollars melted to support the war effort would be replaced. That bill came due in 1921 when silver prices came down from their wartime highs.
1921 Morgan silver dollar
1921 Morgan Dollar Values and Mintages
The last Morgan dollars had been struck in 1904, or so everyone had assumed. The die hubs were canceled and thrown away in 1910 during a clean-up at the US Mint. When word suddenly came in 1921 to resume Morgan dollar production, new master hubs and dies had to be made.
Since they would only be used for one year, and the coins would never circulate, the new dies were cut in low relief. This extended die life and allowed for a high rate of production. More than 86 million 1921 Morgan dollars were struck between the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints.
1921 Morgan Dollar Mintages
The incredible number of 1921 Morgan dollars meant that they would never be anything more than the most common of common-date coins. Even though millions have presumably been melted for their silver value, the 1921 Morgan remains one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, Morgan dollar available.
1921 Morgan Dollar Values
The 1921 Peace Dollar: A Fresh New Face
The Peace dollar would be the first new silver dollar design since 1878. It would be the capstone of the “American Coin Renaissance” that began in 1907 with the Saint-Gaudens eagle and double eagle gold coins. With the introduction of the Peace dollar, every US circulation coin bore designs from professional sculptors instead of staid designs developed by engravers at the US Mint.
1921 Peace silver dollar (high relief)
Peace Dollar Design Timeline
- May 9, 1921: Morgan dollar production resumes.
- November 11, 1921: US peace treaty with Germany ratified.
- November 19, 1921: Eight artists invited to make new “Peace” dollar design.
- December 12, 1921: Contest deadline.
- December 13, 1921: de Francisci declared winner.
- December 20, 1921: de Francisci high relief design approved.
- December 23, 1921: Emergency change to remove broken sword.
- December 28, 1921: First Peace dollars struck.
- December 31, 1921:1921-date Peace dollar production ends with 1,006,473 coins minted.
- January 3, 1922: 1921 Peace dollars released into circulation.
Anthony de Francisci’s Peace dollar gave America a youthful, dynamic Liberty rather than the plump matronly models that had come before. It was also the last circulating coin to be approved in high relief. Unfortunately, the US Mint did not have the expertise required to produce coin dies that would not break prematurely, and the Peace dollar soon suffered the same fate as previous high relief designs. The features were flattened to the point that many of the small details were eliminated.
This makes the 1921 Peace dollar not only the first year of issue for the design, but also a one-year type that was the last circulating high relief US coin. These unique qualities are reflected in the prices that the coin still commands.
1921 Peace Dollar Values
100 Years Later…
The US Mint made new .999 pure silver Morgan dollar and Peace dollar designs in 2021 to mark the 100th anniversary of the last Morgan dollar and the first Peace dollar. Reception was overwhelming, leading the Mint to make both designs an annual limited edition series.
No 2022 Morgan or Peace silver dollars were struck in 2022, due to the global silver shortage. That has sent demand for the 2021 coins soaring, as they can now be considered a one-year subtype.
The information on this page does not constitute an offer to buy or sell the coin(s) referred to. Statistics are for Mint State coins only. Proof and prooflike examples of this issue may have greater or lesser "finest known" and different record auction prices.
Read more about coin values from the numismatic experts at Gainesville Coins:
A published writer, Steven's coverage of precious metals goes beyond the daily news to explain how ancillary factors affect the market.
Steven specializes in market analysis with an emphasis on stocks, corporate bonds, and government debt.
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