Better Date Peace Dollars Increase

Peace Dollar  


With the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28th, 1919; most of the world once engulfed in total war paused for reflection. The United States, which would not formally end hostilities with the defeated German Empire until the signing of the Treaty of Berlin on July 2nd, 1921, adopted a new sense that, perhaps, this was the “war to end all wars.”

             Wishing to commemorate this new found sense of peace; Farran Zerbe (historian of the American Numismatic Association and founder of the Chase Manhattan Bank Money Museum) proposed, at a meeting of the A.N.A., that a commemorative half dollar or silver dollar be issued for general circulation. Using the Pittman Act of 1918 as the impetus, the federal Commission of Fine Arts initiated a design competition for the new dollar coin.

 Anthony de Francisci, using his wife Teresa as a model, won the competition with his design that featured Liberty wearing a Romanesque radiate crown on the obverse with the legend: “LIBERTY” and IN GOD WE TRUST”; and an eagle perched atop a mountain peak with the legends: “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”, “E PLURIBUS UNUM”,”ONE DOLLAR”, and “PEACE” on the reverse. De Francisci’s first design for the reverse depicted the eagle clutching a broken sword symbolizing disarmament. This device was viewed by government officials as symbolizing a defeat rather than a negotiated peace and was rejected. The mint had George Morgan (designer of the previously issued Morgan Silver Dollar) rework the eagle so that it was now clutching an olive branch. De Francisci used Roman style lettering on the obverse, notably using a Roman “V” for a “U” in “TRVST.” Many people mistakenly to this day believe that this stylized “U” is intended to symbolize “V” for Victory.

 Morgan also re-worked the lettering on the reverse. Unfortunately it didn’t match the lettering on the obverse, creating the above mentioned confusion.  The new silver dollar was minted in high relief in 1921, its first year of issue. In 1922 the relief of the coin was lowered (by hammering the electroplate model with a flat board!) to facilitate the minting process. The Peace Dollar would be minted until 1935 when designated silver supplies were exhausted. This dollar commemorating Peace would be the last of the general circulation silver dollars minted by the United States.


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