High Relief Silver Dollar Coins

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The Peace Dollar, minted by the U.S. government from 1921 to 1935, initially started out as a high relief coin, meaning the edge was thicker than the interior of the coin. This was changed to a normal relief in 1922 after the design proved impractical for minting. The rarity of the early issues has made them highly collectible with numismatists.

Identification

  • The Peace Dollar features Liberty on the front along with the phrase "In God We Trvst," with a V replacing the U in trust. The year is listed at the bottom. The reverse features the bald eagle with the phrases "United States of America" and "E Pluribus Unum" above it and "One Dollar" below it. At the very bottom is the word "Peace." The mint mark is also located on the back--D for Denver and S for San Francisco. Coins minted in Philadelphia have no mint mark.

Size and Composition

  • The Peace Dollar is about 38 mm wide and weighs almost 27 grams. It is composed of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. The high-relief variety is obviously wider around its edge when compared to a regular dollar coin.

History

  • The Peace Dollar was minted under the terms of the Pittman Act, which authorized the conversion of silver dollars into bullion to be sold largely to Great Britain. The act also allowed an equal number of new silver dollars to be minted. The Peace Dollar was this new coin. The Peace Dollar was nearly brought back into circulation in 1964 when about 316,000 of them were minted in Denver as part of a plan to coin 45 million silver dollars. This plan was abandoned, however, and the coins were melted down.

Value

  • Only about one million 1921 high-relief silver dollars were minted. An example in very fine, or VF-20 condition (meaning the hair over the eye of Liberty is well worn, as are the feathers of the eagle) is worth about $125 in 2009. An uncirculated coin, or MS-60, with no trace of wear and a full mint luster is valued by collectors at close to $300. About 35,000 high relief Peace Dollars were minted in 1922 and the vast majority were melted at the mint. They are only known to exist in matte and satin finish proofs. These very rare varieties are worth about $75,000.

Significance

  • The high-relief varieties of the 1921 and 1922 Peace Dollar were the only examples of that kind of coin for decades, as the design proved impractical for mass minting. However, the U.S. Mint introduced what it called the "ultra high relief" $20 double eagle coin in 2009 using new technology in minting techniques.

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