Peace Silver Dollar
The US Peace Silver Dollar was the replacement for the Morgan Silver Dollar which had a run from 1878-1921. The First World War had recently ended and it had been considered the “War to end all wars.” The redesign was a symbol of America’s desire for world peace. But unfortunately it looks as though peace has since been proven to be elusive. Some of the dates that the Peace Silver Dolar are available are 1921, 1922, 1923, and more.
War Creates Need for a New Silver Dollar
During the First World War India was under British control, thus Germany in an attempt to destabilize this power circulated rumors that the British government was having difficulty converting its paper dollars into silver coin. This created a rush to convert paper dollars to silver and along with the hoarding of the metal put extreme pressure on the British government. This prompted Britain to contact their ally the United States for help. At their request the U.S. passed the Pittman Act of 1918 which allowed the U.S. to sell the British silver for $1 per ounce plus shipping. As a result 350,000,000 Morgan silver dollars were melted down, which represented 47% of the existing supplies.
The Pittman Act also required the U.S. Treasury to replace those silver coins with new ones minted from silver from the mines in the U.S. and thus the silver Peace Dollar was born.
Design and Specifications
The design of the Peace Dollar was the result of an invitation only competition for artists to create a coin emblematic of “peace.” The rules were simple, design a beautiful representation of Lady Liberty on the front and an eagle on the reverse. The entries also needed to depict “In God We Trust,” “E Pluribus Unum,” and the word “Liberty.”
The winner was a sculptor by the name of Anthony de Francisci who utilized his wife Teresa as a model. The obverse or front depicts the profile of Lady Liberty in an Art Deco style with the word “Liberty” inscribed on her tiara. The reverse is unique in that it contains the image of the bald eagle, but the eagle is only clutching an olive branch symbolizing peace, as opposed to other versions containing arrows as well symbolizing war.
A Brief Run
By 1928 the Mint had replaced enough of the Morgan Dollars to meet the requirement of the Pittman Act and thus minting was stopped. The Peace Dollar made a brief return in 1934 and 1935 as a result of the need for the backing of silver certificates.
In 1965, 316,076 Peace Dollars were minted at the Denver Mint but the plans for completing this task were abandoned and all of them were melted down.