Peace Dollars (1921-1935)
The United States Mint issued silver Peace Dollars from 1921 until 1928, and then again in 1934 and 1935. The silver dollars take their name from the fact that an inscription of “PEACE” is found on the reverse to commemorate the idea following the conclusion of World War I.
Each Peace Dollar is struck from 90% silver and contains 0.7734 ounces of the precious metal (a melt value for the coins be calculated on the right column of this page). They have a total weight of 26.73 grams and a diameter of 38.1mm (1.5 inches).
Before Peace Dollars were produced, the United States Mint had been minting Morgan Dollars. Those Morgans originally appeared in 1878 and were made until 1904. After the passage of the Pittman Act in 1918 which called for the U.S. Mint to once again strike silver coinage, the Morgans were again minted in 1921.
Historical Peace Dollar Silver Coin Melt Values
With the recent end of World War I, many had the idea that a coin should be struck to commemorate the idea of peace. Congressional action was actually undertaken seeking to direct the U.S. Mint to strike such coins. However, that legislation never passed. But since Morgan Dollars were originally released in 1878, the design of the silver dollars could be changed without Congressional approval.
With that in mind, new coin designs were sought through a design competition in which artist Anthony de Francisci was chosen. His design would feature the image of Liberty on the obverse that was said to be based on the likeness of his wife. Inscriptions around the portrait include “LIBERTY,” “IN GOD WE TRUST” and the year of minting.
The reverse shows a perched bald eagle with an olive branch clutched in its talons. The original design also included a broken sword to symbolize the idea of peace, but it was later removed. “PEACE” is inscribed underneath the eagle and is joined on the reverse by “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM” and “ONE DOLLAR.”
By 1928, the initial requirements of the Pittman Act had been met by the Mint and production on Peace Dollars ceased. Other legislation saw the coins struck once again in 1934 and 1935. Records indicate some Peace Dollars were also struck in 1964, but they were melted down and never released.
Silver Dollars were not minted again until 1971 when the Eisenhower Dollars first appeared.
Collectors favor the Peace Dollars because complete sets are relatively easy to obtain owing to their short run and abundant mintages. Even poor examples are worth money due to their silver coin melt values.