Editor's Note - March 23, 2016: To this day, no 1964-D Peace dollar has been reported. However, the $10,000 cash reward from PCGS still stands. If this coveted coin is submitted to PCGS for grading, PCGS will tender $10,000 to the owner. After authentication and grading, the coin will be submitted back to the owner.
Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) has released its first annual listing of the "PCGS Top 100 Modern United States Coins" (www.PCGS.com/top100) and the controversial 1964-D Peace silver dollar is ranked as number one on the list. PCGS officials also announced they'll pay a $10,000 reward just to see an authentic 1964-D Peace dollar, a historic coin that was eagerly anticipated by collectors a half century ago but never officially released into circulation.
"Mint records indicate that 316,076 1964-dated silver Peace dollars were struck at the Denver Mint in May 1965, but they were all were supposed to be destroyed," said Don Willis , President of PCGS, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).
"These coins have achieved legendary status with rumors and speculation over the decades that some examples may have survived. PCGS now is offering a $10,000 cash reward just to view in person and verify a genuine 1964-D Peace dollar," Willis stated.
The creation of the PCGS Top 100 Modern U.S. Coins listing underscores the growing popularity of coins struck since 1965.
"Modern coins continue to increase in popularity and are a rapidly growing part of PCGS submissions. There are numerous types of collections of modern coins as evidenced by the thousands of modern coin sets in the PCGS Set Registry™," Willis explained.
The complete list of 100 as ranked by PCGS experts and other consultants is available free online at (www.PCGS.com/top100).
The unveiling of the inaugural list and the reward offer were announced by Willis and Collectors Universe President and PCGS Co-Founder David Hall at the PCGS luncheon during the Florida United Numismatists convention in Orlando, Florida on January 11, 2013.
"It sometimes takes years for famous coins to surface. Until 1920, no one knew there actually were 1913 Liberty Head nickels in existence. Until 1962, no one knew the 1804 Draped Bust silver dollar and the other coins in the special presentation set given by the United States to the King of Siam in 1836 were still in existence," said Hall.
"When we offered a $10,000 reward in 2003 to be the first to see and authenticate the long-missing Walton specimen 1913 Liberty Head nickel it resulted in the re-discovery of that coin after a 41-year absence from the hobby. Perhaps this new reward offer will help solve the mystery of whether any 1964-D Peace dollars survived the melting pots. It's the number one modern U.S. coin," explained Hall.
Here are the top five in the PCGS Top 100 Modern U.S. Coins list with comments from Ron Guth, President of PCGS CoinFacts™ (www.PCGSCoinFacts.com), the Internet's most comprehensive, one-stop source for information and images on U.S. coins.
1) 1964-D Peace Dollar: The most controversial and one of the most famous of all modern issues.
2) 1975 proof no "S" mintmark Roosevelt dime: Only two known, and one recently sold at auction for $350,000.
3) 1974 aluminum Lincoln cent: 1,570,000 were minted but only one is known and is graded PCGS MS62.
4) 1976 proof no "S" mintmark Bicentennial Type 2 Eisenhower dollar: only one example is known.
5) 2000-W proof Sacagawea dollar struck in 22 carat gold: 12 are known from a reported mintage of 39.
"We chose 1965 as the start of the modern era. This coincides with the removal of silver from most circulating coins in the United States," Guth explained. "There were extensive discussions about which coins should be included and where they should be ranked. We'll update the top 100 list every year as new varieties are discovered and new coins are produced by the U.S. Mint."
The 1964 Peace dollars had the same design created by sculptor Anthony de Francisci for the familiar Peace dollars issued from 1921 to 1935.
"Under August 1964 federal legislation, the Mint was supposed to strike 45 million new Peace dollars. When an official announcement was made in May 1965 that production had started, some coin dealers advertised they'd pay $7.50 each to purchase them. Critics in Congress complained because there already was a coin shortage at the time. So, the Mint halted production when it appeared the silver dollars would not circulate as intended but instead would be hoarded," Guth explained.
Eva Adams, the Mint Director at the time, said the 316,076 1964-D dollars that had been struck were classified as trial strikes and all were melted.
"Will there ever be confirmation that at least one '64 Peace dollar still exists?" asks Hall. "Like the name of the quiz show of decades ago, that's the '64 thousand dollar question."
For additional information about the PCGS Top 100 Modern U.S. Coins and rules about the reward offer, visit online at (www.PCGS.com/top100).