Coin Collecting 101 - The U.S. Peace Dollar

Coin Collecting 101 - The U.S. Peace Dollar

March 02, 2017

Peace Dollar Uncirculated

The last true U.S. silver dollar coin, the Peace Dollar, has often taken a backseat to its more famous predecessor- the Morgan Dollar. 

But with low mintages, affordable prices, and an attractive design, Peace dollars represent great value for the beginning collector. 

In this article, I’ll shed some light on the historical background of the Peace Dollar, along with a grading guide, a list of key-dates, and a price guide.


The Peace silver dollar was originally created in 1921 to replace the Morgan dollar series, which had been in production since 1878.

Due to their cumbersome size and weight, silver dollars were never popular with the public and were used little outside of the West (where they were mainly used in saloons and casinos).

In fact, the main reason for their existence was to provide powerful U.S. silver mining interests an outlet to sell excess bullion to the government.  

After only 14 years of production with little public demand, the Mint chose to end the Peace Dollar series in 1935. Like its predecessor the Morgan dollar, most Peace dollars ended up in Treasury vaults -  many of them were melted down without ever circulating. 

After sitting in the vaults for decades, most of the remainder were distributed to enterprising members of the public in the late 50s and early 60s, when the rising price of silver made it profitable to exchange paper money (silver certificates like the one below) for the silver dollar coins now worth over a dollar in silver. 

U.S. Silver Certificate

As a consequence, many Peace Dollar coins have survived to the present day in Uncirculated condition, making Mint State examples much more affordable than many other early 20th century U.S. coins.

The Peace Dollar was designed by the Italian sculptor Anthony de Francisci, and features a young Lady Liberty (modelled after Francisci’s wife) on the obverse, and a bald eagle on the reverse.

Francisci Peace Dollar Model

The dollar derives its name from the word “PEACE” boldly stamped on the reverse, a commemoration of the end of WWI and a hopeful (but ultimately shortlived) return to world peace. 

The Peace Dollar debuted in 1921 with a high-relief design (see below), featuring more sharply engraved details on both sides of the coin. 

But the high-relief design proved difficult to fully strike, with many freshly-minted coins showing mushy details. Because of that, the Mint moved to a lower-relief design for 1922 onward.

1921 High Relief Peace Dollar


The Peace dollar measures 38.1mm in diameter (about 1.5 inches), weighs 27.6g, and is composed of a 90% silver / 10% copper alloy.  The coin contains 0.7734 troy oz of silver, a bullion value of about $14 at silver's current value of $17.83/oz.

 Peace Dollar scale

Grading Guide

As with all U.S. coins, Peace Dollars can be broadly categorized into 7 condition grades, ranging from heavy wear to mint state condition. Each grade is paired with a numeric value on the 70-point Sheldon grading scale, with 0 representing a completely worn, featureless coin and 70 representing a coin in perfect mint condition.

 Peace Dollar G-4

Good Condition (G-4) - Heavy wear with inscriptions still visible but faded in parts. The rim is partially worn down into the coin's fields. "PEACE" partially missing.


Peace Dollar VG-8

Very Good Condition (VG-8) - Lady Liberty's hairline is more clearly defined. The rim is light but fully defined. "PEACE" fully legible.


Peace Dollar Fine Condition

Fine Condition (F-12) - All inscriptions fully defined. Lady Liberty's forehead curls are separated from the rest of her hair. The eagle's neck feathers are visible.


Peace Dollar Very Fine Condition

Very Fine Condition (VF-20) - Individual hair strands are starting to become defined. The eagle's tail feathers are defined.

 Peace Dollar Extremely Fine Condition

Extremely Fine Condition (XF-40) - All hair strands are defined. Lady Liberty's eye is fully defined. The eagle's wing feathers are defined. The coin may have some small areas of remaining mint luster. 


Peace Dollar About Uncirculated Condition

About Uncirculated Condition (AU-50) - All design details well defined, with wear on highest points only (Lady Liberty's hair curls over ear, Liberty's cheek, eagle's upper right area of wing). Partial mint luster. 


Peace Dollar MS-60 Condition

Mint State Condition (MS-60) - All design details fully defined, full mint luster (possibly weak), and no wear. Technically uncirculated, but typically an unattractive coin with many blotches, light scratches, or contact marks from striking other coins.


Peace Dollar MS-63 Condition

Mint State Condition (MS-63) - Strong mint luster, with fewer contact marks - typically a few on Lady Liberty's cheek or neck.


Peace Dollar MS-65 Condition

Mint State Condition (MS-65) - Very strong mint luster, with minimal contact marks - Lady Liberty's cheek is virtually smooth, with only a few light marks on either side of the coin.

Key Dates

There are three key dates to the Peace Dollar series, based on year and mintmark. The coin's mintmark is found on the reverse near the eagle's tailfeathers. Peace Dollars were minted at three U.S. mints - San Francisco ("S" mintmark), Denver ("D" mintmark), and Philadelphia (no mintmark).  

Peace Dollar mintmark location

Peace Dollar mintmark
  • 1921 (Philadelphia mint, no mintmark) - the single year featuring the high-relief design, with a mintage of only 1 million coins. The high-relief design was difficult to strike, so coins with well-defined rather than mushy details are worth an even greater premium.
  • 1928 (Philadelphia mint, no mintmark) - a series-low mintage of only 360,000 makes this coin valuable in all conditions.
  • 1934-S (San Francisco mint, "S" mintmark) - uncommon in circulated condition, but rare in uncirculated condition.

Other than the 1921 and 1928, most Peace Dollars are worth pretty much the same amount in the circulated grades (between G and AU).  But prices diverge significantly in the uncirculated grades (MS), with several coins demanding four or even five figures due to their extreme scarcity in those grades.

Price Guide

Year G-4 VG-8 F-12 VF-20 XF-40 AU-50 MS-60 MS-63 MS-65
1921 $50 $60 $65 $70 $95 $150 $200 $400 $1800
1922 $20 $22 $25 $27 $30 $35 $40 $50 $100
1922-D $20 $22 $25 $27 $30 $35 $40 $50 $500
1922-S $20 $22 $25 $27 $30 $35 $40 $60 $1400
1923 $20 $22 $25 $27 $30 $35 $40 $50 $120
1923-D $20 $22 $25 $27 $30 $35 $40 $50 $1000
1923-S $20 $22 $25 $27 $30 $35 $45 $70 $2300
1924 $20 $22 $25 $27 $30 $35 $40 $50 $120
1924-S $20 $22 $25 $27 $30 $35 $150 $400 $5500
1925 $20 $22 $25 $27 $30 $35 $40 $50 $110
1925-S $20 $22 $25 $27 $30 $40 $60 $200 $25000
1926 $20 $22 $25 $27 $30 $35 $45 $70 $350
1926-D $20 $22 $25 $27 $30 $35 $70 $200 $800
1926-S $20 $22 $25 $27 $30 $35 $50 $100 $800
1927 $20 $22 $25 $27 $30 $35 $70 $160 $1800
1927-D $20 $22 $25 $30 $35 $40 $180 $350 $4500
1927-S $20 $22 $25 $30 $40 $70 $100 $450 $7000
1928 $90 $120 $160 $200 $240 $280
$300 $600 $4000
1928-S $20 $22 $25 $30 $35 $60 $120 $350 $15000
1934 $20 $22 $25 $27 $30 $35 $70 $160 $600
1934-D $20 $22 $25 $30 $35 $40 $120 $250 $1200
1934-S $25 $30 $35 $50 $150 $400 $1400 $4500 $7500
1935 $20 $22 $25 $30 $35 $40 $80 $120 $600
1935-S $20 $25 $30 $35 $45 $80 $200 $400 $1300

 Peace Dollar prices are derived from 2016/17 coin auction results on eBay and Heritage Auctions.

Other Random Notes


Unlike the Morgan Dollar, Peace Dollars rarely develop colorful toning. The most common type of toning is a light golden coloration.  Multicolored or rainbow toning is much rarer and is worth a significant premium, especially if it is smooth and even rather than spotty.

Peace Dollar Rainbow Toned


Varieties & Errors

While not a hugely popular series among variety collectors, the Peace Dollar series has a number of interesting die breaks (most on 1922/1923-P coins) worth small premiums, as well as a doubled-die obverse on the 1934-D. More details can be found in The Cherrypickers' Guide to U.S. Coins.

Only about a dozen Proof coins were produced during the entire Peace Dollar series, isolated to 1921 and 1922-dated high-relief coins. Those coins rarely appear on the market, and sell for high five or low six figures when they do. 


Coin Dealers


Other Resources

Top 50 Peace Dollar VAMs (die varieties)