Rumors have long circulated in numismatic circles about the mystery of the 1964 Peace dollar, which would have been the last 90% silver dollar minted for circulation. That is, if the entire mintage hadn't been melted down when the plan to coin new silver dollars (which hadn't been produced in the U.S. since 1935) was abandoned.
Now, new revelations are emerging about a topic that was previously unheard of: the 1964 Morgan dollar.
Could it exist?
The answer will come when Whitman publishes the newest edition of its guide book on Morgan dollars at the end of next month. The numismatic news has been abuzz with the discovery that the U.S. Mint apparently prepared dies for a 1964 Morgan silver dollar.
Previously, it was known that over 300,000 silver Peace dollars were struck with the 1964 year-date by the Denver Mint back in 1965. Legislation the previous year had authorized the striking of new silver dollars—45 million of them. However, because the plan was scrapped, the entire mintage of 1964 Peace dollars was melted down. According to the Red Book, "None were preserved or released for circulation."
The story about the elusive 1964 Peace dollar has been known for decades. Of course, there are always doubts that all 316,076 coins were melted down, and some collectors still speculate about finding such a rarity. The topic of a 1964 Morgan dollar, however, was not believed to be a possibility until this news broke. It is widely being touted as a "numismatic bombshell," and rightly so.
The possibility of a 1964 Morgan dollar stems from the discovery of hubs, dies, and models for this previously unknown coin (both the obverse and reverse designs) at the Philadelphia Mint last summer. Similarly, though far less surprisingly, the hubs and dies for the 1964 Peace dollar were also found. Unfortunately, no actual coins were found.
The revelatory 1964 Morgan silver dollar may well have met the same fate as its Peace dollar counterpart. It's still unclear whether or not any of these coins were actually issued (and subsequently destroyed) or if the dies and hubs discovered at the mint were simply never put to official use.
Over the years, there have been many enterprising criminals that have produced forgeries of the 1964 Peace dollar in order to dupe excited collectors. Beware of the same tricks being used now that this story about the possible 1964 Morgan dollar is making the rounds.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.
Everett has been the head content writer and market analyst at Gainesville Coins since 2013. He has a background in History and is deeply interested in how gold and silver have historically fit into the financial system.