Peace Dollars, 1921 to 1935.

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The Peace Dollar was first struck in 1921 to commemorate the end of World War I or, as it was known at the time, the Great War. The designer used the “V” instead of a “U” to stand for, “Victory. ” It was originally thought that Peace Dollars would be issued only in 1921 and for that reason Morgan Dollars were also minted that year. The new design proved very popular however, so it was modified and made a standard issue coin until 1935. Though it was decided that the “V” would be kept as part of the design, other significant changes were made.

Established sculptor Anthony de Francisci was selected as the designer for the Peace dollar. His work was already well known as he also designed the Maine Centennial half-dollar the year before.

De Francisci’s design features a portrait of Liberty, facing left, wearing a needle-like radiant headdress. His wife, Teresa, served as model for his view of Liberty.

The original reverse showed an eagle atop a ledge looking into the rising sun, symbolic of a new day, holding a broken sword in its talons, indicating the war’s end. The Commission of Fine Arts rejected the eagle reverse because it was thought the broken sword could be considered a sign of defeat rather than victory. The design was changed to show the eagle clutching an olive branch.

There are no Peace dollars bearing the dates 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, nor 1933 — primarily due to the severe nationwide economic slump — better known as the Great Depression. There were only a total of about 270 million Peace dollars struck — less than half the figure for the Morgan dollar — yet they remain a popular pursuit for collectors.

The Peace dollar was dusted off in 1965 and used at the Denver Mint when silver dollar production resumed briefly. However, none of the 1964-D Peace dollars were released or circulated, and official records released to the public indicate all specimens were destroyed. However, rumors persist that at least a few specimens survived.

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