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Peace Dollars

In the years following World War I (1914-1918), the hope was for universal peace. To that end, the federal Commission of Fine Arts arranged a competition involving a small group of the nation’s finest medalists. Although some of the contestants were famous in their own right, some having already designed United States coinage, the winner of the competition was a young Italian immigrant named Anthony de Francisci, whose finely chiseled portrait of Liberty was modeled after his young wife Teresa. Mr. Francisi’s design featured an eagle in repose atop a crag with the word “PEACE” superimposed on the rock. Thus, the coin became known as the Peace Dollar. Coinage of the new coin began in December of 1921 and was struck in such high relief that the dies were breaking. To alleviate the problem, the coins high spots were reduced in 1922 and remained in low relief throughout the issuance of the coin. Peace Dollars were issued from 1921 until 1928 and after a five year hiatus, the coins were again issued in 1934 and 1935. In 1964, Congress passed legislation authorizing the mintage of an additional 45 million Peace Dollars, of which 316,076 were coined at the Denver Mint. However, President Johnson rescinded the authorization and all of the coins were recalled and melted. Notwithstanding, there are rumors of 1964 Peace Dollars that still exist. The Peace Dollar was struck on a planchet consisting of an alloy of .900 silver and .100 copper, weighed 26.73 grams and contained .77344 ounces of pure silver.

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