The U.S. Mint would like to believe their current activities in the 21st Century are a renaissance of coin design, but coin collectors couldn’t disagree more.
Among coin collectors, the true renaissance of U.S. coinage occurred from 1907 to 1921. From the common cent to twenty dollar gold pieces, every coin underwent sweeping design changes that produced some of the most artistic and beautiful coins ever released by the mint. Ask any collector what they believe are the most beautiful coins ever minted and you’ll get a vote for at least one denomination from this period.
The final design from this renaissance period is the Peace dollar. Designed by Anthony de Francisci, with a composition of 90% silver and 10% copper, the Peace dollar was produced from 1921 through 1935 although there were no coins struck from 1929 to 1933 due to the Great Depression and the fact that the Mint had produced enough Peace dollars to satisfy the Pittman Act of 1918 requirements.
On the obverse, is a portrait of Lady Liberty, the word LIBERTY and the motto IN GOD WE TRVST. No Trust is not spelled incorrectly, the spelling was based on the Latinized version of trust where a U is drawn as a V. Additionally, there are the designer’s initials AF located just below the neck of Lady Liberty.
The reverse design features an eagle atop a crag, peering toward the sun through a series of rays, with the word PEACE just below on the rock near the rim. Additionally, the reverse design shows the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA & E PLURIBUS UNUM near the rim, the word ONE DOLLAR, and a mint mark located just below the word ONE (Philadelphia issues carried no mint mark). Interestingly, this is the only U.S. coin to bear the word PEACE. It became a part of the coin design as a result of World War I and its horrific effects.
During 1921, the original Peace dollar featured what is known as a high relief (design elements that protrude from the background higher than usual) and proved difficult to mint (Variety 1). To resolve minting issues, the U.S. mint lowered the relief in 1922 in order to meet production requirements for the remainder of the series (Variety 2).
General Market Notes
Luckily for type set collectors, there is only one coin type and affordable examples (primarily from the Philadelphia mint) are readily available in all grades. But there are two minor design varieties.