1922 Peace Silver Dollar: The Ultimate Collector‘s Guide

As a coin collector and numismatic expert with over two decades of experience, I have a deep appreciation for the artistry, history, and rarity of American silver dollars. One of the most fascinating and desirable issues in this category is the 1922 Peace dollar – a coin that embodies the spirit of a nation emerging from the shadows of World War I. In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll delve into the rich backstory of the Peace dollar series, examine the key features and varieties of the 1922 issue, and explore its tremendous value and appeal to collectors.

A Symbol of Hope: The Creation of the Peace Dollar

In the aftermath of the Great War, the United States was eager to move forward and celebrate the return of peace and stability. To capture this sentiment, the U.S. Mint decided to replace the long-running Morgan silver dollar design with a new coin that would embody the nation‘s renewed optimism. A public design competition was held, and the winning entry came from a young Italian immigrant named Anthony de Francisci.

De Francisci‘s obverse design featured a striking portrait of Lady Liberty, crowned with rays of light and wearing a diadem inscribed with the word "LIBERTY". The reverse depicted a majestic eagle perched on a mountaintop, clutching an olive branch in its talons as a symbol of peace. The word "PEACE" appears prominently below the eagle, underscoring the coin‘s theme.

Noted numismatic author Q. David Bowers describes the significance of the Peace dollar‘s design in his book "Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States":

"The Peace dollar was a reflection of its time. The United States had just emerged victorious from World War I, and the coin‘s design conveyed a sense of pride, strength, and optimism. The portrait of Liberty radiated confidence, while the eagle on the reverse seemed to stand watch over the nation‘s newfound peace and prosperity."

Minting the 1922 Peace Dollar: A Transition Year

The first Peace dollars were struck in December 1921 in a high relief format that showcased the intricacy of de Francisci‘s design. However, the U.S. Mint soon realized that this high relief made the coins difficult to produce in large quantities. To address this issue, Chief Engraver George T. Morgan modified the design to reduce the relief, making the coins easier to strike.

The modified low relief design was introduced in early 1922, making this a transition year for the series. The Philadelphia Mint struck Peace dollars in both high and low relief, while the Denver and San Francisco Mints only produced low relief coins. Here‘s a breakdown of the mintage figures for each 1922 Peace dollar variety:

Variety Mintage
1922 (P) High Relief 35,401
1922 (P) Low Relief 51,737,000
1922-D 15,063,000
1922-S 17,475,000

As these figures show, the 1922 high relief is by far the rarest issue, with only a small fraction of the mintage of the low relief coins. PCGS CoinFacts estimates that just 11,000 to 12,000 high relief examples survive today, making it a key rarity in the series.

Numismatic researcher Roger W. Burdette sheds light on the transition from high to low relief in his book "Renaissance of American Coinage 1916-1921":

"The high relief 1922 Peace dollars were struck first, using the original 1921 dies. However, production was halted after just a few weeks due to the challenges of striking such a deeply embossed design. The Mint then quickly pivoted to the low relief dies, which allowed for much more efficient coining and greater output."

Grading and Authenticating 1922 Peace Dollars

As with any rare coin, condition is king when it comes to 1922 Peace dollars. Examples that have survived in pristine, unblemished condition are highly coveted by collectors and can command substantial premiums over coins with even minor wear or damage.

Peace dollars are graded on the Sheldon scale from 1 to 70, with higher numbers indicating better preservation. Here are the main grading tiers and their criteria:

  • Poor (PO-1): Barely identifiable as a Peace dollar, with only an outline of the design remaining.
  • Fair (FR-2): Heavily worn, but major design elements are discernible.
  • About Good (AG-3): Heavily worn, but date, mintmark, and legends are mostly visible.
  • Good (G-4): Heavily worn, but all major features are clear and bold.
  • Very Good (VG-8): Moderately to heavily worn, with some finer details visible.
  • Fine (F-12): Moderate, even wear, with all lettering and major features sharp.
  • Very Fine (VF-20): Light to moderate even wear, with most details clear and well-defined.
  • Extremely Fine (EF-40): Light wear on the highest points, with nearly full details.
  • About Uncirculated (AU-50): Traces of wear on the highpoints, with most luster intact.
  • Mint State (MS-60 to MS-70): No wear, with varying degrees of luster, strike, and eye appeal. Coins graded MS-65 and above are considered gem quality.

When purchasing a 1922 Peace dollar, it‘s crucial to buy from reputable dealers and to insist on coins graded by leading third-party services like PCGS or NGC. These companies use rigorous standards and employ expert graders to authenticate, grade, and encapsulate coins in sonically-sealed plastic holders.

Unfortunately, counterfeit and altered coins are not uncommon in the Peace dollar market. Some key diagnostics to watch out for include:

  • Incorrect font styles or placement of lettering
  • Mushy or blurred details, especially in the hair and feathers
  • Rough or uneven surfaces, as opposed to the frosty luster of genuine coins
  • Seams or file marks near the edge of the coin

If you‘re unsure about the authenticity of a 1922 Peace dollar, it‘s always best to err on the side of caution and have it evaluated by a trusted numismatic professional.

Market Values and Auction Records

So, what are 1922 Peace dollars actually worth in today‘s market? As with most rare coins, values can vary widely based on the specific variety, grade, eye appeal, and market conditions. Here is a sampling of recent auction results and price guide values for key 1922 Peace dollar varieties:

Variety Grade Auction Record PCGS Price Guide
1922 (P) High Relief MS-67 $172,500 (2010) $115,000
1922 (P) High Relief MS-66 $141,000 (2021) $50,000
1922 (P) High Relief MS-65 $48,000 (2019) $37,500
1922 (P) Low Relief MS-67 $7,800 (2006) $3,000
1922 (P) Low Relief MS-66 $575 (2021) $450
1922-D MS-67 $27,600 (2007) $20,000
1922-D MS-66 $2,880 (2021) $850
1922-S MS-67 $28,800 (2018) $22,500
1922-S MS-66 $1,560 (2020) $900

As these figures demonstrate, the 1922 high relief is in a class of its own when it comes to value. Even low-end uncirculated examples can fetch five-figure prices, while finest-known specimens have sold for over $100,000.

The regular low relief issues are more affordable, but still highly desirable in top grades. The 1922-D and 1922-S are notably scarcer than their Philadelphia counterpart in gem uncirculated condition, as evidenced by their higher price points.

According to PCGS CoinFacts, here are the top five finest-known 1922 Peace dollars as of April 2023:

  1. 1922 (P) High Relief PCGS MS-67 (1 coin)
  2. 1922-S PCGS MS-67+ (1 coin)
  3. 1922-D PCGS MS-67 (4 coins)
  4. 1922-S PCGS MS-67 (4 coins)
  5. 1922-S NGC MS-67 (3 coins)

The extreme rarity of these superb gems underscores the challenge and excitement of collecting 1922 Peace dollars at the highest levels.

Building a Collection: Tips and Strategies

Whether you‘re a seasoned numismatist or a newcomer to the hobby, assembling a collection of 1922 Peace dollars can be a rewarding and enriching pursuit. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Determine your budget and goals. Decide how much you‘re comfortable investing in your collection, and set clear goals for what you hope to accomplish. Are you aiming for a complete date/mintmark set, or would you rather focus on a particular variety or grade range?

  2. Educate yourself. Before making any major purchases, take the time to learn as much as possible about 1922 Peace dollars. Consult reputable references like the "Guidebook of United States Coins" (also known as the "Red Book"), and consider joining organizations like the American Numismatic Association (ANA) for access to educational resources and community support.

  3. Buy from trusted sources. Stick with reputable dealers and auction houses that have a proven track record of selling authentic, accurately graded coins. Look for sellers who offer a clear return policy and stand behind their merchandise.

  4. Prioritize quality over quantity. It‘s generally better to own a few high-quality coins than a larger number of lesser pieces. Focus on coins with strong eye appeal, original luster, and minimal marks or blemishes.

  5. Consider starting with more affordable issues. If you‘re on a limited budget, consider starting your collection with the more common low relief 1922 Peace dollars in circulated grades. These coins can often be acquired for close to their melt value, making them an accessible entry point into the series.

  6. Store and handle your coins properly. Peace dollars are large, delicate coins that can easily pick up fingerprints, scratches, and other damage. Always handle your coins by the edges, and store them in protective holders or albums designed for their size.

  7. Be patient and enjoy the journey. Building a meaningful collection of 1922 Peace dollars takes time, effort, and persistence. Don‘t feel pressure to acquire everything at once, and remember to appreciate the history, artistry, and stories behind each coin you add to your collection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much silver is in a 1922 Peace dollar?
A: Each Peace dollar contains 0.77344 troy ounces of pure silver, with the balance consisting of copper. The total silver weight is slightly less than the coin‘s standard one-ounce weight.

Q: Can I melt my 1922 Peace dollars for their silver content?
A: While it is legal to melt Peace dollars, it‘s generally not advisable from a numismatic standpoint. Most 1922 Peace dollars are worth significantly more than their melt value due to their collectible appeal.

Q: What is the most expensive 1922 Peace dollar ever sold?
A: The highest reported price for a 1922 Peace dollar is $172,500, which was achieved by a PCGS MS-67 high relief example in a 2010 auction. More recently, a PCGS MS-66+ high relief sold for $141,000 in 2021.

Q: Are there any error varieties of the 1922 Peace dollar?
A: There are no widely recognized major error varieties for the 1922 Peace dollar. However, minor die variations and striking anomalies do exist, such as slightly doubled die impressions or incomplete striking of the high relief details.

Q: How can I determine the value of my 1922 Peace dollar?
A: The best way to assess the value of your 1922 Peace dollar is to submit it to a reputable third-party grading service like PCGS or NGC. These companies will authenticate, grade, and encapsulate your coin, providing a reliable benchmark for its condition and market value.


The 1922 Peace dollar is a coin that captures the imagination of collectors on many levels. Its stunning design, historical significance, and rarity in high grades make it a cornerstone of the American numismatic landscape. Whether you‘re drawn to the challenge of assembling a top-tier registry set or simply appreciate the coin‘s artistic merits, the 1922 Peace dollar is sure to hold a special place in your collection.

As you embark on your own numismatic journey with these magnificent silver dollars, remember to approach the hobby with patience, curiosity, and a healthy dose of caution. By arming yourself with knowledge, seeking out reputable sources, and staying focused on your goals, you‘ll be well-positioned to build a collection that brings you joy and fulfillment for years to come.

Happy collecting!

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