1922 Peace $1 NGC MS66 CAC
Minted from 1921 to 1935, the silver Peace Dollar stands as an enduring emblem in the world of numismatics. Renowned for its elegant simplicity and profound connection to the peace that followed World War I, it holds the distinction of being the last silver dollar to circulate in the United States, a fact that elevates its appeal among collectors. Yet, what often goes unnoticed is the scarcity of Peace Dollars in pristine condition.
The genesis of the Peace Dollar can be traced to the aftermath of World War I when numismatic enthusiasts advocated for a coin to commemorate the hard-won peace. Farran Zerbe, President of the American Numismatic Association in the early 1900s, championed the idea of a coin that symbolized America's pivotal role in forging peace on the global stage.
To bring this vision to life, a design competition was announced, and it was Anthony de Francisci, a 34-year-old Italian sculptor, who won the honor of crafting this historic coin. De Francisci aimed to encapsulate the essence of the nation, its vibrancy, and intellectual vigor.
The obverse of the silver Peace Dollar features a left-facing portrait of Miss Liberty crowned with radiant rays. The word "LIBERTY" encircles her crown, while "IN GOD WE TRUST" and the coin's date are inscribed below. On the reverse, a bald eagle perches on a rock, clutching an olive branch above the word "PEACE," bathed in the glow of sun rays.
Interestingly, two distinct designs were initially proposed for the coin's reverse. One depicted an eagle breaking a sword, while the other featured the eagle cradling an olive branch. Initially, the former was favored, but public sentiment expressed concerns that it symbolized defeat. In response, the design was swiftly altered to portray the more peaceful olive branch.
The journey of the silver Peace Dollar commenced in 1921 under the directives of the Pittman Act, which mandated the striking of millions of silver dollars, initially using the Morgan dollar design. Approval for the Peace Dollar was granted by Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon in December 1921.
Remarkably, while slightly over a million 1921 $1 High Relief Peace Dollars were minted in Philadelphia, a substantial portion met their fate in the melting pot. The high-relief design was considered impractical for circulation, leading to a quick transition to the more manageable "low relief" version in 1922.
Today, collectors are drawn to the coin not only for its scarcity in specific grades and dates but also for its historical significance. The Peace Dollar serves as a testament to America's emergence as a global power and a tribute to the sacrifices made by its citizens during the First World War, rendering it a prized relic of the past.
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