Peace Silver Dollars were some of the last types of dollar coins issued in the United States for regular circulation that had a composition of 90% silver.
So even though there were millions of coins representing each year and mintmark, even regular Peace dollars can still be sold for at least $16 just for their silver content alone. Of course, many of the Peace dollars in circulation can be worth far more than that based on their year and specific condition.
A Bit of Background and Context
The Morgan silver dollar that was released in 1921 was the last year for this specific design and style. It was also the last coin design of the 19th century that was ever struck.
The 1921 Morgan dollar mintages across all three United States Mint locations (Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco) were very high. Peace silver dollars were introduced by the U.S. Mint to replace the waning mass production of Morgan silver dollars.
These coins were all minted from 1921 to 1935. Although many Peace dollars can still be found, some are extremely rare and they can sometimes be worth thousands of dollars.
Design and Original Production
The history of Peace dollars is that Anthony de Francisci was the man who designed the new coin. The design was said to be inspired by his wife, Teresa, but it has been shown that the rays on Lady Liberty’s head are in fact strikingly similar to those that can be seen above the Statue of Liberty.
The Liberty head is one of the most striking features of these types of coins. On the other side of the coin (the obverse side) is a depiction of an American bald eagle that can be seen as a symbol of the American dream.
After Anthony de Francisci submitted the original design of the coin, more than 35,000 of them were minted during 1922. The US Mint started using the new Peace design for silver dollars to commemorate peace after WWI.
Anthony de Francisci used the high relief method at first, but this design caused many of the dies to break under the increased levels of stress. Therefore, the US Mint abandoned this original design idea, and all of the coins that were made from 13th February 1922 to 1935 were produced in low relief.
How Many Peace Dollars are There Now?
None of the varieties of Peace dollars (more than twenty) are exceptionally rare. When found in higher Mint State grades, the Peace dollar can be a very attractive coin. It is important to consider the fact that (compared to other dollars of earlier types), a full set of all 24 varieties of Peace dollars can be put together for a reasonable cost.
This is one of the main reasons that so many coin collectors (especially with lower budgets) love Peace dollars. They are coins with an excellent yield because they offer a lot of value for a low cost. As in the case of many other coins, the Peace dollar value can be affected by the mintmark and condition.
The right combination of year, mintmark, and condition can soon make a regular coin worth a great deal more money. Some collectors are surprised that the regular coins have such a low value. This is mostly because they are not rarities.
In fact, 84,275,000 coins were produced in 1922, which was the highest mintage in American history. So, most 1922 silver dollars are pretty much worth only their face value these days. Almost 45% of all of the Peace dollars ever minted were produced in 1922.
Over the years, most of these coins have been destroyed for their melt value. However, there are still huge quantities of existing 1922 coins. According to ANACS and other professional organizations, there are still over 15 million of the coins.
There are about 10 million 1922 coins with no mintmark, 3 million 1922-D coins minted in Denver, and about 2 million 1922-S coins minted in San Francisco.
Mintmarks are always used in the world of numismatics to indicate the branch mint that struck the coin. The Philadelphia mint, the main mint, did not use a mintmark, but you can usually look on the reverse side of most dollar coins above the DO in DOLLAR for marks that refer to the other mints.
San Francisco struck their coins using an "S", and Denver used a "D" mintmark. An interesting question is why the US Mint decided to make so many Peace Dollars in 1922. One of the reasons had to do with a new World War I silver law.
The government obtained permission to melt down 270 million dollars for their silver content in 1918 (through the Pittman Act), but one of the terms and conditions was that they would replace all of these dollar coins after the war.
Minting started in 1921 with 86 million of the existing Morgan dollars, and then the increased production of silver dollars led to well over 84 million new Peace dollars being made in 1922 and 56 million more of the coins coming into production in 1923, the following year.
1922 Peace Dollar Condition
Preserving coins in the best condition can usually bring some high earnings to coin collectors. A strong strike with exceptionally full details is a characteristic that still makes some of the 1922 Peace Silver Dollars highly valued
For instance, one 1922 D Peace Silver Dollar in decent condition might be worth about $20, but keep in mind that a single piece in perfect condition was recently able to reach $690 at a David Lawrence rare coin auction.
The first step in evaluating Peace Silver Dollars to get them evaluated. Experts use the PR scale for regular coins, and it ranges from 1 to 70. The condition scale includes (among others) some of the following categories:
- Good (G-4) – Such a coin has been in heavy use for a long time, and there is often a large amount of wear and a lack of fine detail. These coins are not collectible, and their value is usually pretty low, although they might be in demand as silver bullion coins.
- Very good (VG-8) – These types of coins are heavily worn out but with a few details still faintly visible.
- Fine (F-12) – There is evidence of wear and tear, but the details within Liberty’s hair remain visible, with some of the major strands being separated.
- Very fine (VF-20) – Liberty’s hair is still quite worn out but there are a few well-defined hair strands. Parts of the eagle feathers can also sometimes be visible.
- Extremely fine (EF-40) – The hair lines are slightly worn but still strong, while the feathers of the eagle can be visible even though they may be a bit faint.
- MS 60 uncirculated (MS-60) – These types of coins are shiny and without signs of wear, but you can sometimes notice a few marks, stains, and other types of impurities or abrasions on the surface.
- MS 65 gem uncirculated (MS-65) – Coins of this quality are appealing and they display strong luster and barely noticeable contact marks. According to USA Coin Book, pieces in uncirculated (MS 65) mint condition can reach values of up to $650. The finest-known coin is worth an impressive sum of $90,000.
- Perfect (MS-70) – This refers to an entirely flawless coin under a magnification of 8x on a microscopic scale. These are regarded as precious collectible pieces.
- Proof (PR – 65) – Experts also use the PR scale for proof coins, and the range is from 1 to 70, just like the MS scale. Proof coins with mirror-like surfaces are longer struck under high pressure. They are highly collectible, quite valuable, and you can usually only find them in cases or sets.
There is usually no significant difference in the price of two coins that have adjacent gradation. However, this can sometimes change, so it is always better to have a better-graded piece. Many rare proof coins can be worth up to $100,000.
According to USA Coin Book, the only 11 remaining proof coins are worth $137,776 each. It is suspected that there is one non-proof business strike coin minted in this design.
Peace Silver Dollar Value
Many coin collectors believe that Peace Silver Dollars are worth very little since there are too many of them. Some coins, however, are actually worth significantly more than their face value. The reason is the 90% of silver it contains.
The exact price will depend on the coin type you have. The dollar value of many coins is based on silver bullion worth about $18 per troy ounce. The actual price will vary depending on the condition, variety, and errors that can be seen on the specific coin.
As a result of massive production, it is true that these coins are usually not worth much. Their price is usually from $20 to $50, except for a few unique pieces. For example, it is known that mints produced just over 35,400 high relief Peace Dollars in 1922.
All of them were melted except one, which has an estimated value of almost $138,000. Also, it has been proven that only 11 of a couple of dozen high-relief matte proof 1922 Peace Dollars made in January and February that year survived.
There have been rumors that a few more were discovered recently, but these have not been confirmed. The estimated price of each piece is probably over $100,000. In fact, one of them was recently sold at auction for almost $330,000.
1922 Peace Silver Dollar (Normal Relief)
A coin with normal relief is an early silver dollar with a normal relief design minted in Philadelphia without a mintmark. It weighs 26.7 grams (0.859 troy ounces), has a diameter of 38 mm, and contains 90% silver and 10% copper.
51,737,000 pieces were minted in 1922. The value of the coin in decent condition is approximately $20 to $30. A coin in uncirculated (MS+) mint condition might be considerably more expensive and it can be worth up to $175.
1922 Peace Silver Dollar (High Relief)
A coin that has high relief is an early silver dollar coin with a high relief design that was minted in Philadelphia without a mintmark. The coin weighs 26.7 grams (0.859 troy ounces), has a diameter of 38 mm, and is made up of a composition of 90% silver and 10% copper.
1922 D Peace Silver Dollar
This was an early silver dollar minted in Denver. It weighs 26.7 grams (0.859 troy ounces), has a diameter of 38 mm, and contains 90% silver and 10% copper. 15,063,000 pieces were minted in 1922.
The value of the coin in decent condition is approximately $20 to $30. Most of these coins are found in poor condition because they were often used by gamblers in Nevada casinos.
Assessing the Average Peace Dollar Value
The quality of preservation is an extremely important factor when it comes to higher coin prices with all types of coins. Although they are now almost a hundred years old, some of these Peace dollars are easily available in large quantities in circulated, worn condition.
However, you’ll soon discover that most modern collectors are looking for coins that are in the top range of uncirculated condition. Uncirculated Peace Dollars of high quality can sometimes command quite a significant premium.
Coins that are lustrous and have eye appeal, with no wear and few abrasions, are highly valued by many modern collectors, so keep these coins as safe as possible if you happen to have any of them.
Even though many valuable coins are rare, the coin values do not always correspond with how rare the individual coins are. For example, some coins are not as widely collected, and so the value of those types of coins will usually be a lot lower than you might expect.
And although mintage statistics can be important, they are not the only factor. Some types of coinage that were once minted do not even survive in common circulation in the United States of America at all.
The coin’s overall condition can also be a very important factor in terms of its value. Well-preserved coins can have higher values in the numismatic world of coin collecting than similar coins with a large amount of general damage and wear and tear.
Damaged coins are usually only worth their face value of one dollar to most coin dealers, even if they do happen to be really old coins. For example, a coin in poor condition might still be worth $5 more than the intrinsic value from silver content of around $23.
This might be the case when you are dealing with coin collectors. Coins that are worth more to collectors may turn out to be better long-term investments than regular silver coins. Even if the price of silver as a precious metal drops substantially, you might still have a coin that a numismatist will want to buy.
A Few Other Important Things to Consider
It is always of utmost importance to remember that some mint years will be more valuable than others for all types of US coins (including half dollars), and the minting location (as explained in detail above) may also be an important factor to consider in the worth of all of your coins, including 1921-1935 Peace Dollars.
Do some careful research into all of these factors before you start putting a lot of time into pricing any of the coins that you are thinking of selling.