The first Peace Silver Dollar series was released after the last ever Morgan Silver Dollar was struck by the United States Mint. It was minted from 1921 to 1928, and again from 1934 to 1935. Containing .900 fine silver (90%), the coin ended up being the last true silver dollar ever to be created for circulation in America and is just one of many reasons why the Peace Silver Dollar is so sought after.
On the obverse side of the Peace Silver Dollar is the profile of Lady Liberty with windswept hair and a glorious pointed crown upon her head. Surrounding the top half of her profile is the bold inscription LIBERTY. The engraving IN GOD WE TRUST is level with Liberty’s neck, with the mintage year featured below her neck.
Another symbolic image of America can be found on the reverse side of the coin. It is, of course, the bald eagle. The magnificent bird is sat atop a mountain and clasping an olive branch in its claws. Behind the eagle are rays of sunlight, which look rather similar to the pointed elements of Liberty’s crown on the coin’s obverse. Above the eagle are the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and E PLURIBUS UNUM, with PEACE engraved in front of the small mountaintop below. ONE DOLLAR is featured either side of the eagle as well.
In May 1921, the chairman of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, Charles Moore and Buffalo Nickel designer, James Earle Fraser met up with the Mint Director, Raymond T. Baker to discuss their idea of holding a design competition for the Peace Silver Dollar. Baker agreed, and the competition was formalized in July when the Commission wrote a recommendation to the Mint stating that it was acceptable to host a competition to source new designs.
The competition, however, was open only to nine selected artists. Each of the invitees would be given $100, while the winner would receive the handsome sum of $1,500. There were a number of things the participants were ordered to include in their designs, such as the IN GOD WE TRUST and E PLURIBUS UNUM mottos, along with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the word LIBERTY. Other than that, the artists were simply told that the coin’s obverse must depict the profile of Liberty, and the reverse should feature the image of an eagle.
Surprisingly, the winning design came from the youngest participant and one of the least experienced in coin design, 34-year-old Anthony de Francisci. The Italian immigrant’s design was unanimously selected by the competition judges. He had actually put forward two eagle designs for the coin’s reverse, one of which featured an angry eagle breaking a sword in its beak. The Commission of Fine Arts initially choose this image but changed their mind and went with his other design because the New York Herald considered a wrecked sword as a symbol of defeat.
Francisci was already an established artist when his U.S. Mint competition design was picked, with previous works including various plaques and the National Guard Bureau seal.
Francisci’s Lady Liberty head design was based on his wife, Teresa de Francisci. The pair hadn’t been married for long at the time, but Teresa was thrilled to model for her husband, especially as she had been fond of the Statue of Liberty ever since she was a child. She met Anthony through her brother and was actually the first Italian-born female to graduate from Clinton High School in Clinton, Massachusetts. The couple was living on West 60th Street in New York when Anthony was invited to submit a design for the Peace Silver Dollar, which is also where Teresa posed for her artistic husband. Even though Anthony never imagined he would win the competition, he did with a little help from his model, Teresa. While he went on to create many important pieces of art including a number of medals, he didn’t design another coin after the Peace Silver Dollar. Anthony died at the age of 76 in 1964, followed by his beloved Teresa 30 years later in 1994.
Despite being minted for a short span of years, the Peace Silver Dollar is a highly desirable coin series with some rare dates. For example, 1921 and 1928 are scarce dates, and the coins minted during both of these years seek higher premiums. Coins from 1934 are also quite hard to find.
With regards to mintmarks, you will need to look closely at a Peace Silver Dollar because they tend to be well hidden. If you prefer coins with a mintmark, always look just above the tip of the eagle’s closed wings on the coins reverse and you should see a small D (Denver) or S (San Francisco). All Peace Silver Dollars produced at the Philadelphia Mint will not have a mintmark.
Peace Silver Dollars tend to increase in value every year but, as always, it does depend on the condition of the coin. Having said that, the Peace Silver Dollar is extremely collectible and many people are attracted to the history of the coin, as well as its striking design. For a better idea of the grade and value of a specific coin, you could purchase a piece that has been certified by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) or Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).
If you’ve been longing for a Peace Silver Dollar to add to your collection or portfolio, please don’t hesitate to contact Capital Gold Group. Not only can we help you to acquire Peace Silver Dollars in varying grades of condition but also the rarest and most collectible dates.