The Morgan Silver Dollar is arguably the most popular item in American numismatics and it's been a...
Peace in Our Time…
The Peace dollar has one of the most celebrated histories and designs in all of numismatics. Its beauty, connection to World War I and status as America’s last silver dollar make it extremely popular among collectors and investors.
What numismatists may not realize, however, is how rare it is in high grade. Compared to its Morgan dollar cousin, the Peace dollar is dramatically scarcer in high grade, yet it currently trades for a modest premium. We believe this big, beautiful coin is significantly undervalued by the market in MS66—for now at least.
We have been able to put together a group of coins containing four dates (1922, 1923, 1924, 1925) and are able to offer them to you for almost 20% less than the current price guides. Call 800-831-0007 to get yours today.
History and Rarity
The Bland-Allison Act, passed by Congress in 1878, required the U.S. Government to purchase at least $2 million annually in domestically-minted silver and convert it into silver dollars. This legislation was the genesis of the Morgan silver dollar, which was released that same year.
In 1890, the annual minting requirements spiked even further with the passage of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. Consequently, a huge surplus of Morgan silver dollars were struck—the majority of them sat in bank vaults unused.
The silver dollar surpluses sat dormant until World War I, when the Germans accused the British of having a silver shortfall. Rumors spread that the U.K. did not have sufficient silver to cover the paper money, which resulted in international hoarding and a quick rise in the price of silver. The British sought to counter these rumors by purchasing a large quantity of silver from the U.S. government. Conveniently, the Americans were still sitting on stockpiles of Morgan dollars, which were melted and sold to the Brits.
What the Americans may not have realized, however, is that they were still legally bound to replace these melted silver dollars. In 1918, Congress passed the Pittman Act, which mirrored the earlier Bland-Allison and Sherman Acts. Once again, the Treasury was obligated to buy more domestically-mined silver and convert the coins into silver dollars. Thus, silver dollar production resumed after a 17-year hiatus in 1921.
Initially, the U.S. Mint revived the venerable Morgan dollar design in 1921, but there was growing sentiment that the silver dollar should be overhauled. A prominent numismatist, Farran Zerbe, proposed that the new silver dollar commemorate the U.S. victory in World War I and the subsequent peace. The Secretary of the Treasury, Mint Director and Congress soon agreed, and a design competition for the new coin was quickly announced.
Remarkably, the winner of the silver dollar design contest was a 34-year old Italian sculptor named Antonio de Francisci. The obverse featured a symbolic portrait of Liberty wearing a radiate crown similar to that on the Statue of Liberty. De Francisci remarked that his goal was to “capture the spirit of the country - its intellectual speed, vigor and vitality.” His wife served as the model for the design. The reverse depicts an eagle clutching an olive branch above the word “PEACE.” An earlier draft design contained a broken sword, but this feature was later eliminated.
Much like the $20 Saint Gaudens gold piece, the Peace dollar was initially struck in high relief. However, the Mint complained that it was difficult to bring out all of the design details on the high relief design—the highest points were not being impressed fully. In addition, banks complained that the new Peace dollars did not stack as well as the Morgan dollars. Ironically, it was George Morgan (of Morgan dollar fame) himself who adjusted De Francisci’s design so that the coins would be fully struck and easy to stack. The final version, released in 1922, was in lower relief but much better struck than its 1921 predecessor.
Production continued without interruption until 1928, when the U.S. Mint satisfied its minting requirements for the Pittman Act. There was another brief mintage spurt in 1934 and 1935, when Congress again required the Treasury to buy more silver and make coins with the metal. However, this proved to be the last time the U.S. Mint would make silver dollars for circulation. The next time the U.S. Mint produced a one-dollar coin for everyday commerce, it was struck in copper-nickel with no precious metal content.
Rarity and Market Values
While many Peace dollars were struck to satisfy the Pittman Act of 1918, very few survived in Gem Uncirculated condition. There are two contributing factors to this. For one, silver dollars were often stored in 1,000-piece bank bags, which resulted in the coins jostling into each other. When these heavy coins collided, they often left extensive and deep marks. In addition, Peace dollar planchets (blanks) were washed with a solution that often left cloudy, hazy and unattractive residue. A coin cannot qualify for a high grade if it has negative eye appeal; this disqualifies the vast majority of Peace dollars from anything above MS64.
The NGC and PCGS population reports confirm this phenomenon. Less than 2% of all Peace dollars they have graded qualify for the lofty MS66 grade, with most certified examples landing in the MS63 and MS64 categories. In MS67, Peace dollars are untouchably rare; NGC and PCGS have only awarded the MS67 grade to 540 pieces (for all dates). Simply put, MS66 is the highest grade the average collector could hope to afford, let alone find. Consider the following table of MS67 Peace dollar populations and values:
|MS67 Value (NGC Price Guide)
|NGC MS 67 Population
Since MS67 examples trade for thousands more and rarely appear on the market, MS66 specimens have ample room to appreciate.
In analyzing the MS66 Peace dollar’s market value, it’s also worth looking at the MS66 Morgan by comparison. The MS66 Peace is over 10 times rarer than its Morgan counterpart, yet is trading for only a 50% premium. As more Morgan dollar collectors and investors look to complete their holdings with the Peace dollar, we could see the MS66 supply exhausted easily. Already, MS66 Morgans are difficult to purchase in quantity; we can only imagine what a supply squeeze would do for MS66 Peace dollar values.
As you can see from the chart above, the 1923 MS66 Peace dollar has been as high as $730 and bottomed out at the $500 mark before beginning its rebound, back to the $650 level in January 2013.
This offering of MS66 Peace dollars was only made possible due to our finding an accumulation. In our experience, filling orders of 10 or more MS66 Peace dollars is either impossible—or met with an outrageously high quote. Under normal circumstances, these simply cannot be found in large quantities on the open market, even with our extensive industry sources.
Last week I attended a large coin show with rows and rows of tables covered in coins. I was only able to find a handful of MS-66 Peace dollars in any of the 4 dates we are offering and the prices averaged around $650 each. Bottom line, they are hard to find and we are offering them at a great price…
Take Advantage of this Opportunity…
We’ve always admired the history and beauty of the Peace dollar. However, we’ve also developed a true respect for the coin’s rarity in high grades. Our analysis of the NGC/PCGS populations has revealed that this is an extremely scarce coin in MS66. This conclusion has been verified by trying to find these on the open market. We feel it’s a race against time before collectors and investors realize what we’ve already learned: the MS66 Peace is 10 times rarer than the MS66 Morgan. Furthermore, finding coins in MS67 is essentially futile—anyone lucky enough to find one will likely pay $5,000-$10,000. We feel this coin is ripe for appreciation and encourage you to act before others make the same realization.
As always with the monthly spotlight coin, we have obtained a few coins we can offer to you at a price we feel will put you in a position to succeed in the future.
As we point out above, we are focused on 4 dates:
Please call for pricing and availability.
Call 800-831-0007 or email me today to purchase your coins and to take advantage of the opportunity.
*Prices subject to change due to product availability and market fluctuation.