Anthony de Francisci was the designer of the Peace Silver Dollar Coin. Anthony received this honor by winning a limited competition among notable sculptors of the time. de Francisco used his wife Teresa and a Saint Gaudens’ bust under the title Nike Enrini as inspiration for Lady Liberty. This combination resulted in a Lady Liberty that might be the only Art Deco coin in US History due to the the lettering and the tiara on the inspired Lady Liberty being the main Art Deco touches. However the US Mint Chief Engraver George T. Morgan played a role in the final design. Francisci’s original design had the eagle holding a broken sword as a symbol of peace but when the New York Herald released a short editorial on the coin, there were some broken hearts over the broken sword. Many citizens felt strongly that the broken sword symbolized defeat and the Treasury Department, US Mint, Congress and the White House heard from the public in the form of thousands of letters and telegrams. The broken sword was removed. An olive branch, leaves and berries were added and the mountain peak was modified. This skillfull work so done so well that it wasn’t until 2005 that noteworthy collectors learned of these changes.
The Peace Silver Dollars were minted in 1921-1928 and again 1934-1935. The 1928 production halt was due to enough production to offset the melting of coins back in 1918. The 1918 Pittman Act required that more than 270 million silver dollars be metled into bullion. The 1934-1935 production was less than 10 million coins minted. This relatively small production run was only done as a sign by the government to demonstrate to the silver states that the US was still interested in using silver in the standard dollar coins. Most current day coin enthusiasts and collectors associate the “Peace” name of the coin due to the word PEACE on the reverse of the coin right under the eagle, however the Peace Dollars were named long before the design was created. The Nation was looking for a hopeful sentiment in post World War I times, hence the name Peace Dollar. In 1921 when the first coins were struck, the relief on the coin was so high and prominent that the coins could not be fully struck.
The Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars have varieties in the coins due to the dies used. These varieties are also known as VAMs. Author and coin researchers Jeff Oxman and Dr. David Close have led the catalogue and identification process of the VAM’s of the Peace Silver Dollar Coin. Some of the more famous VAMs would be a die break in the 1922 Philadelphia Peace Dollar that looks like Lady Liberty is wearing an earring while another die break in the same year and mint hints at a Lady Liberty mustache.
In 1965, the Peace Silver Dollar nearly returned back into circulation as 300,000 coins were minted as a trial. These coins were struck in Denver and minted with the date of 1964 in compliance to the Coinage Act of 1965 since this act eliminated the silver content of every coin except for the Kennedy Half Dollar, which had been reduced to just 40%. These 300,000 coins were ultimately melted however there are always rumors of some coins sneaking out of the mint. This would be illegal so don’t expect any 1965 Peace Silver Dollar Coins showing up in an auction any time soon. This would officially make 1935 the last year the Peace Silver Dollars were minted by the US Mint.