The 1921 Peace Dollar

Imaging going through a collection of old items belonging to someone in your family from generations gone by. As you’re sorting through the pile of assorted keepsakes and mementos your fingers fumble across and old coin. Looking at it you know right away it is a little different, for starters it’s a dollar coin which aren’t regularly circulated at the best of times. Looking for more information you turn the coin over and you see on one side the “PEACE” written below an eagle and on the other side is Lady Liberty. The coin is dated 1921. Any normal person would then begin to wonder how much is a silver dollar worth from those days?

The first answer is that it all depends. If the coin were just kicking around the drawer in amongst everything else and was in poor condition by coin collector standards then it would probably be worth just over $100. On the other had, if the coin had been properly cared for, delicately kept in a secure case, then that is a different story altogether.

After the First World War there was a movement to commemorate the country’s victory with a new coin. The government had been slowly phasing out the old Morgan coins since 1907, but had dragged its feet on the silver dollar. In 1921 the Pittman Act was passed which required the US Mint to melt down older coins and increase the use of silver in the replacements. The Act was designed to improve the fortunes of American silver miners and appease the demand for a commemorative victory coin.

By the time the law had passed and the US Mint had gotten around to striking the new Peace Dollar coins, it could only complete, 1,006,000 coins in 1921. This rarity obviously attributes to the value of the coin. By comparison, in 1922, the US Mint was able to produce 51,730,000 Peace Dollar coins. The thing to bear in mind with both of those numbers is that not all of those coins were able to be circulated, some never left the mint and were recycled, others have been lost to the sands of time.

With the relatively small number of 1921 Peace Dollar coins made, a coin in perfect mint condition would have a numismatic value of something in excess of $7500. There are probably less than 1,000 specimens of this coin in existence today when all factors are brought into play. If you were lucky enough to stumble across one in this condition, it would be a very rare find indeed.

That is the odd thing about coin collecting; some of the most unlikely coins are also the most valuable. A rather innocuous year in the minds of most people, 1921 was the beginning of a new start for the silver dollar coin in the United States, clearly a fact that only collectors would know. On the other hand, it is not out of the realm of possibility to come across the belongings of a grandparent or great-grandparent from that generation who may have just tucked one away for posterity. Lucky you if they were careful enough to wrap it up and keep it undamaged!

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