The 1925 Peace Dollar is one of the more common dates in the series, though it is not nearly as plentiful as 1922 and 1923. In Mint State condition, the 1925 Peace Dollar can be found with ease, including in Gem conditions up to MS-66. Like most Peace Dollar dates, the 1925 becomes rare in MS-67 condition. PCGS has graded a single example in MS-68, one of only two such coins in the series (the other is an MS-68 1924). In terms of strike, the 1925 usually comes with nice, if not full, details. Luster is usually good and sometimes very reflective, with a crisp metallic sheen and booming luster. Bagmarks can be expected, but they are usually light and fewer in number than on most other dates. Most Mint State examples come with good eye appeal and, at the top end of the condition ladder, the visual appeal can be stunning. For type purposes, the 1925 Peace Dollar is a good candidate.
According to a notice in the June 1934 issue of The Numismatist (p. 416), collectors could still purchase Uncirculated 1925 Peace Dollars directly from the U.S. Treasury for "the face value of the coins and an amount sufficient to cover the mail charrges by first-class mail."
Q. David Bowers:
The following narrative, with minor editing, is from my "Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia" (Wolfeboro, NH: Bowers and Merena Galleries, Inc., 1993).
Large mintage: This was the last large-mintage issue in the Peace dollar series, the last issue to cross the 10 million mark.
Once rare: In 1940, the 1925 Peace dollar was considered to be the rarest Philadelphia Mint issue in Mint State; but by 1945 it was considered second rarest (after the 1923). In numerous offerings early in that decade it was priced higher than the 1934-S. In 1945 at the sale of the Frederick C.C. Boyd Collection (billed as "The World's Greatest Collection" by the auctioneer, the Numismatic Gallery) an Un-circulated 1925 crossed the block at $6, outranking in price all other Peace dollars except the then-rare 1923, which fetched $9. By comparison, a 1934-S in Mint State was knocked down to a bidder for only $4.50.
However, by late 1940s, enough had been released from Treasury vaults that the 1925 Peace dollar was demoted to the status of a plentiful issue. Walter H. Breen in his Encyclopedia stated that many of the 1925 dollars paid out in the 1940s were heavily bagmarked. Apparently, most of these newly issued coins disappeared into collections and into the "woodwork," so that by the early 1950s, the 1925 was back on the scarce; list again. Catalogue values remained high until hundreds of bags were released in 1954-55, after which the date became very common. I remember selling a large quantity to Charles E. Green, of Chicago, who traded under the name of R. Green. I had obtained the coins for face value at a local bank.
By the mid to late 1950s, the 1925 Peace dollar was so common that specimens were a nuisance for dealers searching for rare dates. I recall that at the time they were a drug on the market, along with 1922, 1923, and, to an extent, 1924 (the 1924, common elsewhere, seemed to be somewhat more elusive in Pennsylvania, where I searched through dollars). However, by the early 1960s, most must have been distributed, for Wayne Miller in 1982 wrote that in his experience, bags of 1925 dollars were elusive. Perhaps he was referring to the West, where, apparently, few bags of Philadelphia Mint Peace dollars were paid out.
This date has a place in the heart of John Highfill, who wrote in his 1992 Comprehensive Encyclopedia that a bag of 1925 coins was the first original bag of Peace dollars he ever bought, in a career which eventually included handling many bags of many different dates.
Circulated grades: In VF-20 to AU-58 grades 1925 Peace dollars are extremely common and are not in demand, as Uncirculated pieces are so plentiful.
Mint State grades: Today, Mint State 1925 Peace dollars are very common in all Uncirculated grades M-60, 61, 62, etc., you name it. The typical coin is everything a Peace dollar should be, but usually isn't. The usual Uncirculated 1925 Peace dollar is very bright and lustrous with above average striking, including at the center of the reverse. MS-63 and MS-64 coins are readily available, and MS-65 coins are frequently encountered as well. As such, the 1925 makes a nice coin for a type set.
There are exceptions to quality, however. Many have light milky-colored spots or stains, possibly from dilute sulfuric acid used during the coining process at the Mint. Whatever their cause, the spots are lightly etched into the metal surface and cannot be effectively removed.
It has been my experience that bagmarks, when found on 1925 Peace dollars, are apt to be light and not at all disfiguring, although Walter H. Breen, cited earlier, stated that many of the pieces released in the 1940s were heavily marked.
Differences in striking: John Kamin, publisher of The forecaster newsletter, recalled the following:(Letter to the author, September 8, 1992.)
After I had bumped into that 100-bag hoard of 1924 Philadelphia Mint Peace dollars, I aggressively sought out large quantities of "sister" 1925 Peace dollars, but soon began to discriminate. There were two different kinds of strikes and conditions on the 1925 that I noticed. The 1925 cartwheels that interested me were the highly struck-up 1925 Peace dollars that reminded me of the 1921 Peace dollars, so well were those 1925s struck. These particular 1925 Peace dollars that I sought were often golden toned, indicating long storage in tubes in a particularly beneficial atmosphere. Although they were not as high relief as the hard-to-stack 1921 Peace dollars, they were indeed beautiful.
A few bags of 1925 dollars were offered that were flatly struck, resembling the 1922 and 1923 strikes, often heavily bagmarked, and without the beautiful golden toning reminiscent of certain untouched rolls of Buffalo nickels. My personal opinion is that those beautiful struck-up 1925 Peace dollars (which I never found by the bag, by the way, only individual rolls) in over 30 years of searching, are quite scarce. But the regular 1925 Peace dollars are still perhaps six to eight times as scarce as the 1924 Peace dollars.
1. Breen-5722. Hub combination II-B2. VAM-I.
This is the usual variety. V AM-2 has slight doubling on olive branches.
Dies prepared: Obverse: Unknown; Reverse: Unknown.
Circulation strike mintage: 10,198,000
Estimated quantity melted: Unknown.
Characteristics of striking: Usually very well struck and very lustrous.
Known hoards, of Mint State coins: Many bags were released by the Treasury in 1945; prior to that time they were considered to be scarce.
This and the 1922, 1923, and 1924 Philadelphia Mint issues constitute the four most common Philadelphia Mint Peace silver dollars. In high Mint State grades the 1925 is the most plentiful Peace dollar.
Pittman Act Report
The Annual Report of the Director of the Mint, 1925, advised of the status of silver under the Pittman Act:
"Deliveries of silver purchased under the Act of April 23, 1918, were completed on or before October 1, 1924. Approximately 18 million silver dollars remain to be coined from the silver purchased under this act.
"The New York market price of silver during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1925, averaged $0.68813; the lowest price was $0.66125, on July 1, 1924; and the highest price $0.72375, on October 9,1924."
Efforts to Popularize the Dollar
The Numismatist, February 1925, carried this item:
"For some time efforts have been made to popularize the silver dollar and secure for it greater circulation than it has enjoyed for years. The cost of printing enough $1 silver certificates to supply the demand is the motive behind the effort to induce the greater circulation of the silver dollar."
The September 1925 issue of the same publication had more: "The Treasury has admitted defeat in its efforts to increase the circulation of silver dollars, according to a press report from Washington. The American public, it has decided, apparently is determined never again to carry any amount of the old 'cartwheels' in its money pockets.
"Some months ago Assistant Secretary A.S. Dewey launched a campaign to increase the circulation of silver dollars as a means of saving the dollar bills, which since the war have been used so extensively that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing has had no time to' print a surplus for seasoning.' The campaign promised success from the start and about 10 million dollars was set out from the Treasury, but it was not long before it came back. The circulation of silver dollars saves only about 50 million dollars."