In 1921, two different Silver Dollars were produced by the United States Mint, with the first being the Morgan Silver Dollar. 1921 was actually the last year of the famous Morgan Silver Dollar series, which commenced in 1878. After the series came to an end, the Peace Dollar was introduced and continued to be struck until 1935.
1921 was also an interesting year in American coinage history because it marked the first time a Silver Dollar had been produced since 1904. The U.S. Mint had to stop striking Morgan Dollars in 1904 when the supply of silver authorized by Congress was exhausted.
Fourteen years later in 1918, the Pittman Act required the U.S. Mint to produce millions of Silver Dollars. It wasn’t until 1921 when the U.S. Mint once again struck the Morgan Dollar design, followed by the Peace Dollar, a coin that was created to commemorate peace following World War I.
Morgan Silver Dollars were first produced in 1878 and struck every year up until 1904 when the U.S. Mint ran out of silver. In 1918, the Pittman Act called for the melting of around 350 million Silver Dollars to free up silver supply for Great Britain, a country trying to keep their currency afloat after the Germans told Indian citizens that the UK didn’t have enough silver to back the silver certificates it was using for purchasing war goods during World War I. The U.S. Mint melted a total of 270,232,722 Silver Dollars into bullion and sold the majority to the United Kingdom.
The Pittman Act also called for the replacement of all the melted Silver Dollars and is why the Morgan Silver Dollar went back on the production lines in 1921. As the U.S. Mint had destroyed the dies used to make earlier Morgan Dollars, assistant engraver George T. Morgan had to recreate new ones for the 1921 coins. Not only were the 1921 Morgan Silver Dollars made with new dies but they were also struck in a speedy manner, making them slightly less attractive than earlier issues.
On the obverse of the 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar is a left-facing Lady Liberty wearing a Phrygian cap adorned with wheat and cotton blossoms. Her head is also dressed with a ribbon inscribed with the word LIBERTY. She is surrounded by thirteen stars, as well as the phrase E PLURIBUS UNUM above and the date below. The reverse depicts an American eagle with outstretched wings and the engraving in God we trust. He is holding an olive branch and arrows in his talons while sitting above a laurel wreath. Reverse engravings include ONE DOLLAR and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
1921 Morgan Silver Dollars were struck at three different mints including Philadelphia (no mintmark), Denver (D) and San Francisco (S). The mintmark can be found on the reverse side underneath the eagle and above the ONE DOLLAR inscription.
When the Morgan Silver Dollar was being struck by the U.S. Mint in 1921, numismatists suggested that a new coin design should be released to celebrate peace and victory after World War I. Although Congress did not authorize the Mint to redesign the dollar, the Peace Dollar was approved by the Treasury Secretary in December, and first minted on December 28, 1921. During the first year of the Peace Dollar series, the coins were minted in high relief. Just over one million Peace Dollars were struck this way and featured a 1921 date.
The designs for the coins came from 34-year-old Italian immigrant, Anthony de Francisci. He was the winner of a United States Mint competition where invited artists were instructed to create new designs for the Peace Dollar. His wife, Teresa was his model for the Lady Liberty image used on the obverse side of the coin. Francisci submitted two eagle designs for the reverse, one of which depicted an eagle breaking a sword. This image was originally chosen but later swapped for his other design after protests that the broken sword would be interpreted as defeat.
On the obverse is a left-facing Lady Liberty wearing a pointed crown. She is situated underneath the inscription LIBERTY and above the mintage year, with IN GOD WE TRUST level with her neck. The reverse displays a bald eagle sat atop a mountain and clasping an olive branch in its talons. There are rays of sunshine behind the eagle, which some people believe are the pointed elements of Liberty’s crown. Above the eagle is UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and E PLURIBUS UNUM. The inscription PEACE is at the bottom of the coin and ONE DOLLAR is featured either side of the eagle.
As previously mentioned, the 1921 Peace Dollar was struck in high relief. As the U.S. Mint soon realized that the design was tricky and impractical to produce, it decided to switch to a lower-relief by 1922. This means that the 1921 Peace Dollars are the only coins from the series to feature the high-relief design. You should also know that all Peace Dollars minted in 1921 were struck at the Philadelphia Mint and will not have a mintmark.
1921 Morgan Silver Dollars and Peace Dollars are prized by coin collectors because they hold historical significance and mark important years for both series. Containing .900 fine silver (90%), the Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars are also known for their quality and beauty, another reason why the 1921 issues are among the most desired coins to come from the United States Mint.
It’s worth mentioning that the 1921 Morgan Silver Dollars are the only issues from the series to be produced at the Denver Mint. They also look a little different from the earlier coins because the Treasury destroyed the original dies in 1910. When it comes to the 1921 Peace Dollars, only about one million were produced, all of which have the high-relief design that wasn’t used on later issues. As a result, 1921 Peace Dollars are extremely sought after and highly prized by their owners.
If you would like to add either of the 1921 Silver Dollars or both to your collection, please don’t hesitate to turn to Capital Gold Group. We make purchasing any coin a stress-free process and welcome you to contact us for professional advice and assistance at any time.