The history of the Peace Dollar is very interesting when you fancy a bit of light reading about coins minted in the United States past.
At the end of 1921 the world was just getting back on its feet after the devastating toll that was placed on every nation during World War I. America had just come into an economic boon, and due to that they needed to come up with new silver coins. This was due to the fact that silver coins had been lost to melting because of the Pittman Act during the war. The Pittman Act of 1918 converted all standard silver dollars in ‘bullion’ to be sold, such as to Great Britain who was in a great silver shortage at the time.
Anthony (Antonio) de Francisci was an Italian-American sculptor, and he is credited with designing a number of United States coins and medals during his life. In 1921 de Francisci submitted his design to the Commission of Fine Arts for the competition to find a emblematic design symbolizing peace after the ‘war to end all wars’. He of course won the contest, and the original design he submitted, which lightly resembled a prior silver dollar melted in the Pittman Act, would have featured a broken sword. The sculptor could not schedule a professional model to post for the depiction of Liberty due to time constraints to get in his submission. In the face of adversity he opted to have his wife. Maria, pose for the depiction. However, when the design was announced the public thought the broken sword would have illustrated ‘defeat’ rather than ‘peace’. The Mint hastily sprung into action and the design was changed to remove the sword, and then just over a million coins were struck in 1921, bearing the years date.
The coin was minted until requirements of the Pittman Act were met in 1928, the Mint ceased all productions of the coin. However, more coins came back into circulation when the Mint struck Peace Dollars between 1934 and 1935 as a result of further legislation that came to pass. The coin was completely discontinued in 1935 during the Great Depression. Coin collectors will always argue that the Peace Dollar Coin is the “little brother” of the Morgan Dollar silver coin.
Amid a grand deal of controversy in 1965, the Denver Mint had struck over three hundred and sixteen thousand Peace Dollar coins with the printed year of 1964. These specific coins were stated to never have been issued and the prevailing theory is that all of them had been melted. As of May 1973 any of the 1964-D Peace dollar are illegal to own should any have ‘escaped’ the melt. The Peace Dollar was the last ninety percent silver dollar placed into circulation in America until much later in 1971.