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Peace dollars

Kevin Bartlett

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Tossing in my 2¢ (or 2p) here ... To try to explain the somewhat confusing terminology that's used for US coin types, the term "silver dollar" is the generic name for any of the large $1 coins minted at various times from 1794 to 1935*. Peace dollars are a particular design within that denomination, minted from 1921 to 1935.  I.e. all Peace dollars are also silver dollars, but not all silver dollars are Peace dollars.  Here's a short overview of the different types minted: US 1 dollar coins

The vast majority of US coin types are by convention identified according to their design, usually describing their obverse image. For example a Walking Liberty 50¢ piece bears an image of Miss Liberty in full stride, while a Lincoln cent carries a portrait of our 16th president. But because these names aren't official, some particularly well-known coin types are instead named for their designers rather than their images. That can cause confusion if you're not familiar with the naming conventions.

What this has to do with silver dollars is that the type immediately prior to the Peace dollar is called a "Morgan dollar" after its artist, George T. Morgan**. This wiki article gives a lot more details:  US Morgan Dollars.  It's important to check the designs because both types were struck in 1921 but prices differ widely because there are far fewer Peace dollars with that date than Morgans. For example in circulated condition, a 1921 Peace silver dollar can retail for 5 or 6 times as much as a 1921 Morgan silver dollar.


* Some people continue to refer to later US $1 coins as being "silver dollars" as well, even though circulating versions have all been struck in base metals.

** The disctinction between design and designer has produced some, uh, interesting questions from non-collectors. One asked me if Morgan dollars carried an image of financier J. P. Morgan's wife. Another design series by artist Charles Barber resulted in queries about coins "minted to pay for haircuts" and even one about who "Barbara" is on the coins' obverses!

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