Background and History
Although the Peace Dollar series has a number of significant conditional rarities, the 1928 Peace Dollar (Buy on eBay) is widely recognized as the key date. With 360,649 pieces struck at the Philadelphia Mint, the issue marks the lowest mintage of the series and carries a premium across all grade levels. The issue becomes particularly scarce above the gem grade level.
The Peace Dollar was introduced in 1921 as the successor to the popular Morgan Dollar series. A competition had been held to select the new design for the silver dollar, which would commemorate the restoration of peace following the end of World War I. From the group of nine famous artists invited to submit designs, the winning entry was created by Anthony de Francisci.
The obverse design would feature a rendering of Liberty based on the designer’s 22 year old wife Teresa Cafarelli. Liberty appears facing left wearing a tiara with her hair bound in a bun and several strands of hair flowing lightly in the wind. The reverse design features an eagle perched upon a rock carrying the word “PEACE.” This marked the only time this word had appeared on a United States coin. The eagle has an olive branch clasped in its talons and rays of sunlight emanate from the lower right. The initial design concept had featured the eagle breaking a sword to symbolize the end of war through the destruction of its implement. However, this was altered to the more common symbol of an olive branch.
Peace Dollars would be struck in high relief for the first year of the series in 1921. The relief would be lowered for the remaining issues of the series struck from 1922 to 1935. During the course of the series, coins would be struck at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mint facilities.
The mintage levels for various issues of the Peace Dollar series were heavily influenced by the impact of the Pittman Act. Enacted in 1918, this act authorized the melting of up to 350 million silver dollars for conversion to bullion and sale to Great Britain. The same quantity melted, which turned out to be 270,232,722 silver dollars, were later required to be replaced with newly minted coins produced from the output of American mines.
Large quantities of Morgan Dollars and then Peace Dollars were struck to fulfill the requirements of the Pittman Act. This served to keep mintage levels for the Peace Dollar high despite the fact that new production was not necessary based on the needs for circulating coinage. Once the requirements of the act were fulfilled, mintage levels declined to more less significant levels.
Production of the 1928 Peace Dollars struck in Philadelphia took place between the dates of April 13 and 20, 1928. Production stopped when the Mint had produced exactly enough coins to replace the silver dollars which had been melted under the Pittman Act. The 1928 Peace Dollar had a mintage of 360,649 pieces. This represented the lowest mintage of the series by a wide margin.
After 1928, production of the silver dollar would not take place during the next five years. Peace Dollars would only be produced in 1934 and 1935, which represented the end of the series. This wold also represent the final silver dollars struck in the United States intended for circulation.
Finest Known and Values
The finest known example of the 1928 Peace Dollar is for a single specimen graded PCGS MS66+. There are about two dozen examples at the MS66 grade level (without the plus designation) across PCGS and NGC grading services. At the MS65 grade level, there are more than 400 examples graded across both services.
The highest reported auction price for the 1928 Peace Dollar was $48,875 paid in 2011 for a PCGS MS66 example carrying the Jack Lee pedigree. The same coin sold for the lower price of $39,950 at its next auction appearance in 2015.
Other recent prices for high graded examples include separate sales of PCGS MS66 graded coins at $27,025 in 2017 and $26,400 in 2020.
At the MS65 grade level, prices can vary widely based on the eye appeal and other attributes of the particular coin. At the lower end, some examples have sold for just above $2,000. At the higher end, an example graded PCGS MS65+ with CAC verification reached an auction price of $12,000 in 2020.