1922 Peace Dollar

REGULAR RELIEF

1922 Peace Dollar

Coinage Context

Record mintage: Beginning in 1922, Peace dollars were coined in fantastic quantities. At the Phila-delphia Mint that year over 51 million were pro-duced, an all-time record for a United States silver dollar. From this time onward, Peace dollars began to pile up in Mint vaults and other Treasury facilities.

Numismatic Information

Hoard coins: Mint-sealed bags of 1,000 Mint State 1922 Peace dollars seem to have been released over a long period of time, with the result that this date has never been rare. Often, Eastern dealers searching for rare dates would often find to their annoyance that shipments to their banks from the Federal Reserve would consist of $1,000 bags of this date.

Particularly large quantities were released through banks in 1949 and 1950, but there was little call for them by numismatists. Bags were still readily available in 1953 and 1954, and wholesaled for about $75 to $125 above face value, if and when buyers could be found. Most often, such bags remained in bank vaults unwanted. Bags remained available through the rest of the decade and were still being distributed by the Treasury as late as March 1964.

In later years, bags traded frequently. In 1982, Wayne Miller wrote that in one recent year he and his partner sold 40 bags (40,000 coins).

Circulated grades: In worn grades of VF-20 and higher, 1922 Peace dollars are exceedingly commonand is considered to be the most plentiful issue of the entire series.

Mint State grades: In Mint State the 1922 is ex-ceedingly common in all grades MS-60, MS-61, etc., through MS-65 and even beyond.

Whether it is absolutely the most common Peace dollar in grades MS-60 through 63 will probably never be known. Most rarity information in print for Uncirculated Peace dollars is based upon population data of the certification services. However, such Peace dollar dates as 1922, 1923, 1924, and 1925 are so inexpensive in lower grades such as MS-60 through 63,that only a tiny fraction have ever been slabbed, as certification costs too much in proportion to the value of the coins. Certainly, in MS-63 either the 1922 or the 1923 is the most plentiful. The distinction is moot, for vast quantities exist of each.

In MS-64 grade, the 1922 is common, but not as common as 1923 (the most common) and 1925; ditto for MS-65 grade. These three dates plus 1924 represent an excellent way to start a set of Peace dollars.

Most higher grade Mint State 1922 dollars, MS-63 or better, encountered in slabs are attractive and lustrous. Many if not most 1922 Peace dollars are bagmarked, sometimes extensively-the result of having been moved around in storage many times. Wayne Miller wrote that one Mint State bag he ex-amined carefully did not contain a single gem coin!

The detail on this and other, later Peace dollars is often unsatisfactory due to the low relief of the design and dies.

Stained and spotted coins for the most part were not submitted for certification, at least not in the lower grades. However, at the MS-65 and better grades I have seen a number of truly ugly Peace dol-lars; coins with dull gray, or brown, or brown-black surfaces, that may be technically MS-65 or better, but who would want to own them? Among coins cer-tified by the leading grading services, PCGS pieces are least affected by this situation.

Some Peace dollars of this era have white spots on them, resembling dried milk. I am not aware of any way to satisfactorily remove these. Wayne Miller says this:

The most plausible explanation for these blotches is that the planchets were improperly washed and dried after they had emerged from the annealing ovens and subsequent acid bath. Also, an increase in the concentration of sulphuric acid and water solution used during this cleaning and polishing operation could have lightly etched the surface of the planchet in some places.

Something to look for: Some specimens exist with the reverse rotated 100° counterclockwise from the normal orientation.

Varieties

Business strikes:
1. Low Relief Breen-5714. Hub combinations 11-B1 and II-B2. VAM-1 (Hub II-B1); VAM-2 (hub II-B2); VAM-3 (hub II-B2) doubled lower feathers on left side; VAM4 (hub II-B2) slight doubling to bot-tom of WE TR in motto.

Obverse: A Low-Relief copy of the 1921 die, with some modifications, including slightly different rays in Miss Liberty's diadem, thinner numbers and let-ters, flatter field, and R inTRVST with a longer, curved tail. Reverse: A Low-Relief copy of the 1921 die, with slight changes in the rocky crag and sun's rays, olive branch divided differently, flatter field, etc. Inspection under magnification will reveal these and other small differences.

Proofs:
1. Low Relief Proof issue, Satin Finish: Hub II-B1. At least eight are believed to have been struck by or for Chief Engraver George T. Morgan, according to Walter H. Breen, who in his contribution to this book stated that he had examined three. I am not aware of any documentation for the Satin finish Proof. Most I have seen offered as "Proof' were not Proofs, in my opinion, even if they were accompanied by papers.

2. Low Relief Proof issue, Sandblast finish: Hub II-B 1. Two are documented to have been struck by or for Chief Engraver George T. Morgan and sold to Ambrose Swasey, Cleveland industrialist, on March 1, 1922. See Norweb Collection catalogue, Lots 3932 and 3933, which sold for $33,000 and $35,200.