The Peace dollar is a United States dollar coin minted from 1921 to 1928, and again in 1934 and 1935. It was the last United States dollar coin to be struck for circulation in silver.
With the passage of the Pittman Act in 1918, the United States Mint was required to strike millions of silver dollars, and began to do so in 1921, using the Morgan dollar design.
The Bland–Allison Act, passed by Congress on February 28, 1878, required the Treasury to purchase a minimum of $2 million in domestically mined silver per month and coin it into silver dollars. The Mint used a new design by engraver George T. Once it did, production of the coin ceased.
During World War I, the German government hoped to destabilize British rule over India by spreading rumors that the British were unable to redeem for silver all of the paper currency they had printed. These rumors, and hoarding of silver, caused the price of silver to rise and risked damaging the British war effort. The British turned to their war ally, the United States, asking to purchase silver to increase the supply and lower the price.
It is uncertain who originated the idea for a US coin to commemorate the peace following World War I; In the paper, entitled Commemorate the Peace with a Coin for Circulation, Zerbe called for the issuance of a coin to celebrate peace, stating,
“I do not want to be misunderstood as favoring the silver dollar for the Peace Coin, but if coinage of silver dollars is to be resumed in the immediate future, a new design is probable and desirable, bullion for the purpose is being provided, law for the coinage exists and limitation of the quantity is fixed—all factors that help pave the way for Peace Coin advocates. And then—we gave our silver dollars to help win the war, we restore them in commemoration of victory and peace.”
Numismatist Farran Zerbe's paper to the 1920 ANA convention caused the Association to advocate for a peace coin.
Zerbe's proposal led to the appointment of a committee to transmit the proposal to Congress and urge its adoption. He was friendly with the new committee chairman Albert Henry Vestal (Republican–Indiana), and persuaded him to schedule a hearing on the peace coin proposal for December 14, 1920.
While most of the others had designed regular or commemorative coins for the Mint, de Francisci's sole effort had been the conversion of drawings for the 1920 Maine commemorative half dollar to the finished design. De Francisci had had little discretion in that project, and later said of the work, "I do not consider it very favorably."
The sculptor based the obverse design of Liberty on the features of his wife, Teresa de Francisci. I thought of those days often while sitting as a model for Tony's design, and now seeing myself as Miss Liberty on the new coin, it seems like the realization of my fondest childhood dream.
Breen wrote that the radiate crown that the Liberty head bears is not dissimilar to those on certain Roman coins, but is "more explicitly intended to recall that on the Statue of Liberty". The latter design, which would form the basis for the reverse of the Peace dollar, recalled de Francisci's failed entry for the Verdun City medal. The submitted obverse is almost identical to the coin as struck, excepting certain details of the face, and that the submitted design used Roman rather than Arabic numerals for the date.
While most of the others had designed regular or commemorative coins for the Mint, de Francisci's sole effort had been the conversion of drawings for the 1920 Maine commemorative half dollar to the finished design. I thought of those days often while sitting as a model for Tony's design, and now seeing myself as Miss Liberty on the new coin, it seems like the realization of my fondest childhood dream.
Breen wrote that the radiate crown that the Liberty head bears is not dissimilar to those on certain Roman coins, but is "more explicitly intended to recall that on the Statue of Liberty".
On August 3, 1964, Congress passed legislation providing for the striking of 45,000,000 silver dollars. Coins, including the silver dollar, had become scarce due to hoarding as the price of silver rose past the point at which a silver dollar was worth more as bullion than as currency. Much of the pressure for the coins to be struck was being applied by the Senate Majority Leader, Mike Mansfield (Democrat–Montana), who represented a state that heavily used silver dollars. Senator Mansfield refused to consider any cancellation or delay and on May 12, 1965, the Denver Mint began trial strikes of the 1964-D Peace dollar—the Mint had obtained congressional authorization to continue striking 1964-dated coins into 1965.
The new pieces were publicly announced on May 15, 1965, and coin dealers immediately offered $7.50 each for them, ensuring that they would not circulate. However, they have been privately re-struck using unofficial dies and genuine, earlier-date Peace dollars.
Some Peace dollars using a base metal composition were struck as experimental pieces in 1970 in anticipation of the approval of the Eisenhower dollar; This new dollar coin was approved by an act signed by President Richard Nixon on December 31, 1970, with the obverse to depict President Dwight D.