coinfodder's Blog

14 Apr 2021

THE BIG AND BOLD STORY OF THE PEACE DOLLAR- Part II of the Big and Bold Dollars Series

National Coin Week | coinfodder

Well, with one thing leading to another, I kind of already set up the Peace Dollars...

Recall to episode one where I talked about the Central Powers getting their butts kicked. Like I said, the A-H empire at Vittorio-Veneto, the Ottomans at Meddigo, and the Germans at Amiens. The war ended on November 11th, 1918, with the surrender of the Germans at Compiegne, France, in a train car (which Hitler blew up after the Nazi Army, under Reichmarchall Rommel and Guderian overran France in 1940). America fought a big part in the Argonne Forest, which would become the bloodiest campaign in US Armed Forces History. America wanted to celebrate the victory of the "Great Alliance" over Germany.

To do so, we introduce coin designer and sculptor Anthony De Francisci, professor at the National Academy of Design. His first design was a model of his wife, Teresa, as Liberty, and on the back, an eagle, with a broken sword. Treasurer Andrew Mellon approved the design and was REJECTED (the broken sword represented defeat). The revised design was first struck in December 1921, with George Morgan preparing a rather high relief die. Once the new coins rolled off of the press, the process of redesigning the American coinage, begun by Theodore Roosevelt and August Saint-Gaudens in 1906, both deceased, was finished. At the end of the year. Once released on January 3rd, 1922, banks, complaining, noted to the mint that the coins would not stack. On a side note, de Francisci was paying many people that day in the new dollars, as he bet many people that he would lose the design competition. The men, especially took note of the model, with one Philly (boo) Newspaper reporting about the model, saying, "Liberty never looked better than in the 'cartwheel'..." But the young, pretty design of a woman could not save the coin from the ire of the mint. With other high-relief designs, the dies broke rapidly. The active mint director, Mary Margaret O'Reilly ordered production to halt ten days into January 1922. James Earle Fraser and de Francisci debated over several days how to save the design without sacrificing the relief, Francisci agreed to modify his design. The folks who transferred the designs were complete amateurs, and the 1922 dollars came out as ugly. The Coinage Commission protested the dollars, thought Fraser gave San Fran all clear to begin striking the dollars, which they did on February 13th.

When George Morgan died in 1926, his replacement, John Sinnock, began working on the dollar. What came out was an oddly boldened "God" in the motto.

The Dollar mostly circulated in the west, which preferred the hulking coins over the bills, and saw little use elsewhere. The coins mainly lingered in vaults. With the final parts of the Pittman act silver struck in 1928, the Peace Dollar was at rest.

Due to a congressional resolution in 1934, to purchase large quantities of domestic silver, the dollars were struck again in 1934 and 1935. 1936 dies were prepared, but the people did not want them. The mint waited. By 1937, Nellie Tayloe Ross ordered the master dies destroyed.

The Peace dollar would again enter the spotlight in 1964. Nevada Casinos and Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-MT) wanted the dollar coin over the bill. The dollar was to make striking silver profitable, as there was now more worth of the silver than the actual quarter, dime, or half. The Mint was reluctant but began to strike the silver into coins at Denver. The Mint announced the pieces of May 15th, 1965, and dealers began offering a king's ransom for the coins, knowing that they would become rarities. The public and congress saw this as a waste of metal, and resources during the coin shortage. Before a Congressional hearing was held, Mint Director Eva Adams declared all of the dollars to be trials and ordered them destroyed. Mint police then surrounded the smelter as reportedly, every dollar was thrown into the melter. None are known in the public. The ANA has a $100,000 bounty on one genuine example. Peace dollars were then used as a experiment, but only to test the metals for the cupro-clad Eisenhower dollar.

And there it ends.

Thank you.

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Guess the Song Lyrics-Last Time- Never Gonna Give You Up- Rick Astley

We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
'Cause your friends don't dance
And if they don't dance
Well, they're no friends of mine

Say, we can go where we want to
A place where they will never find
And we can act like we come
From out of this world
Leave the real one far behind

And we can dance
Or sing



Level 5

Quite a history.

Nice story.

Mr. B Coins

Level 4

As usual, very interesting. Thank you, Mr. B


Level 6

I just checked the mints site. Those coins, both the Morgan's and the Peace for 2021 are BEAUTIFUL. I just wish the Peace had the original design with the broken sword. A coin in these designs with no bag marks? Wow!!


Level 6

My favorite series. Where did you find that photo of Teresa de Francisci? What a classic beauty. Thanks.


Level 7

I believe the 1921 was meant as a.commen. So they had no problem stopping the the 1921 and the high relief. It would.of cost more making dies. I like the design. More than the Morgan. Thanks well done my friend

It's Mokie

Level 6

Safety Dance all day. I love the Peace Dollar more than any other Dollar Design. (well truth be told, I love the original flowing hair design's obverse a little more) I just hope they don't screw the pooch on these 2021 issues but I fear the pooch is already running in terror.


Level 5

Very nice and interesting history. I like the peace dollar like most do. Thanks


Level 6

Actually, I like the Peace Dollar over the Morgan.


Level 6

Really interesting blog! Gotta love the Peace Dollar for sure! Enjoyed the photos as well. ; ) Song answer... "The Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats


Level 5

It sure dont get much bigger and bolder than the peace dollar!! Wonderful history in these little metal capsules. Thanks for the new info, Andrew!


Level 3

Very interesting, thanks so much for sharing!

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