Updated: Jul 2, 2022
The Peace dollar, designed by Anthony de Francisci, was minted from 1921 through 1935 and replaced the long-running Morgan dollar. It debuted in 1921 with a high-relief design, featuring more sharply engraved details on both sides of the coin.
But the high-relief design proved difficult to fully strike, with many newly-minted coins showing flat details. Because of that, the Mint moved to a lower-relief design for 1922 on. Production stopped after 1928, because the Congressional act that enabled the minting of these coins was satisfied.. Minting started up again in 1934 and ended again in 1935. It was the last true United States' silver dollar coin.
From Q. David Bowers: "In 1964, the Denver Mint struck 316,076 Peace Dollars but, before they were released into circulation, all of the coins were destroyed. A few may have been purchased or "taken" by Mint employees and rumors persist of this coin's existence. However, for fear of confiscation by Treasury officials, none have yet appeared on the market. Were it legal to own, the 1964-D Peace Dollar would become one of the most valuable of all United States coins."
There are a total of 24 different dates and mint marks of the Peace Dollar. There are four issues whose mintage is under a million coins (1927, 1927-S, 1928,, and 1934). The 1928 with a mintage of 360,649 and the 1934-S (1,011,000 minted) are the two key dates. The 1921 is considered key because it is a type coin, the only high relief dollar, needed for type sets. Gem BU coins from the San Francisco mint are scarce and hard to find but there is one coin that is the second hardest to locate in Gem condition in the whole 34 coin series. It is the 1927-D.
The 1927-D had a mintage of 1,268,900 but a lot went into general circulation hence the difficulty finding nice examples. This Denver coin is usually a nice looking coin with strong strike and nice luster, not like most of the San Francisco minted coins. Bag marks seem to be common with this date thus limiting higher grades. It is not widely known that this is a key date and prices in MS-63 and MS-64 reflect this. The price in MS-65 triples from MS-64. If you are looking for a nice MS-66 you might need $150,000-$200,000. I just saw an MS-66+ for sale for $196,000
Below are recent auction records that point out the jump in price between a Mint State 64 coin and a Mint State 65 coin. It seems the MS-64 grade is under appreciated and has much more room to appreciate in price. The Great Collections lot isn't that far off in strike and eye appeal than the two MS-65 lots but for far less money.
Stacks-Bowers 3/26/21—PCGS MS-65 CAC $6,600
Heritage 3/17/21— PCGS MS-64 CAC $1,500
Great Collections 5/29/22—PCGS MS-64 CAC $1,693
Heritage Fun Show next January PCGS MS-65 CAC $4,500 reserve
The Final Score
It takes time to assemble a nice set of Peace Dollars. It took me six years on my budget and I still needed to upgrade a few coins. The key 1934-S was an AU-58 CAC because of budget constraints. It looked like an MS-63 though. The 1924-S, 1925-S. 1926-S, 1927-S, and 1928-S were all hard dates to find in MS-64 condition and certified by CAC. The 1921 was hard to locate with good detail. The toughest date to find for me was the 1927-D. I first picked one up in MS-63 and later upgraded to MS-64. Any MS-65 was out of my league and the true value was at the MS-64 level.
""PCGS Coin Facts"" https://www.pcgs.com/coinfacts/coin/1927-d-1/7371. Accessed 01 July 2022.