Grab this early Peace Dollar, a 1921 $1 Peace Silver Dollar PCGS MS64, certified by the Professional Coin Grading Service as having a mint state of 64. The Peace Dollar as its name suggests was born out of a desire to celebrate peace in the aftermath of the First World War. The idea for this celebratory coin came from respected numismatist Farran Zerbe. In November 1921, eight leading sculptors were invited to submit a design, and that of Anthony de Francisci was declared the winner. In winning the competition, Francisci beat many experienced coin designers, including MacNeil and Weinman, so his victory was no mean feat.
Francisci modeled the left-facing Liberty profile portrait on his wife Teresa, whom he showed with a diadem similar to that adorning the Statue of Liberty. Her hair is held up in a loose bun at the back of her head, and tendrils escape tumbling around her face and neck. The word "LIBERTY" is shown in capital letters curving around the top of the design, though the lettering is partially obscured by the diadem. While the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST" can be seen on either side of Liberty's neck. The issue date of 1921 is included at the base of the design.
The Reverse design shows an eagle standing on a rocky outcrop clasping an olive branch with the rays of the sun streaming out behind it. The wording "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and the Latin phrase "E. PLURIBUS UNUM" curves around the top of the design. Below the eagle, the word "PEACE" is shown in raised lettering is. The value of "ONE DOLLAR" is placed on either side of the eagle. It is said that the original reverse design incorporated a sword being broken as a sign of disarmament, but it was feared this would be interpreted as 'defeat,' and hence the sword was omitted from the design at the last minute.
It's remarkable that so cherished a coin was designed and produced in so short a time. Having only launched the competition in November, the first Peace Dollars were produced in Philadelphia in late December 1921, and over 1 million pieces were struck in just six days before the year ended. It went on to be produced every year until 1928 until all of the 'Pitman silver' had been used up. However, Peace Dollars were struck again in 1934 and '35, following Roosevelt's insistence that additional dollars were struck from new silver. In 1942 silver dollars were melted in order to help the war effort and many Morgan and Peace Dollars were destroyed. So today, no one is quite sure how many pieces have survived, perhaps this is the source of fascination for collectors. A rumor abounds that some additional Peace Dollars were struck in Denver in 1964 - but the whereabouts of any remaining examples is unknown. What's certain is the Peace Dollar is a coin cherished by collectors, produced at a milestone in history and an exquisite example of Art Deco design.
Overview of the 1921 $1 Peace Silver Dollar PCGS MS64