By Blanchard & Company ……
 

In 1965 the US Mint melted 316,076 silver Peace dollar coins that never reached circulation. These coins were the early batches of an initiative intended to coin 45 million silver dollars. The story of “the coins that never were” began with one man in Nevada.

In 1918, Senator Key Pittman of Nevada championed the Pittman Act. The intention of the federal law was to convert 350,000,000 standard silver dollars into bullion. To fulfill this mandate the United States Government purchased approximately 209,000,000 ounces of silver from American mines. This massive haul of silver would become the basis for a series of coins minted from 1921 to 1928, then once more between 1934 and 1935.

Officials wanted a unique design for the coins that would convey a theme of peace. After holding a design contest artist Anthony de Francisci became the winner for his profile image of the Goddess of Liberty and bald eagle with an olive branch on the reverse. This design was met with greater public approval than the first design which included the image of a broken sword. This original design was thought by many to appear as an image of defeat.

By 1928 the mint had fulfilled the requirements underpinning the Pittman Act. However, new legislation ushered in a new period in which additional peace dollars were minted between 1934 and 1935. Then, the coinage of the peace dollar ended. That is, until the turbulent era of the 1960s came roaring forward.

The price of silver started to climb. Banks began to feel pressure as demand for silver coins grew. In response to demand, the 1964 Congress approved a measure to produce 45 million silver dollars. The order came from President Lyndon Johnson despite opposition from other government officials. Production began the following year.

The peace dollar was back.

However, in late May of the same year, Congressional leaders successfully moved to cancel the minting. The new directive to melt the coins proved difficult. In an effort to accelerate the process, the mint decided to ensure all coins were accounted for by using weight measurements rather than the longer process of counting all the coins. This method may also have been preferable given that the coins never reached circulation and therefore were entirely within the confines of the US Mint.

Over time there have been rumors that a few precious coins escaped destruction. In fact, mint records reportedly claim that two test strikes surfaced belonging to a set of 30 test pieces that were part of an inspection batch originally sent to Washington. The two coins were retrieved, then placed in the Treasury Vault until 1970. Then, they were destroyed.

The history and rarity of the coins has inspired some to produce fraudulent counterfeit pieces. In the meantime, the US Mint has responded stating that it is illegal to own even a real 1964 Peace dollar.

Today, the 2019 Red Book address the topic of existing 1964 Peace dollars by simply stating, “many deceptive reproductions exist.”


 

1 COMMENT

  1. I enjoyed reading about the young scholars scholarship. Have you thought about the youth from 1st through 5th grades?
    Partner with: teachers in under funded, impoverished school systems. Giving them the tools and resoureces.
    Using pennies as the collection medium instead of quarters or nickels etc.: as pennies are usually discarded and can be more readily found .
    Set it up with collecting and trading with classmates( in the event pupil has more than one and is looking for another date).
    Each week the student types in their classroom blog where they found their penny. Student must also state current condition, utilizing numismatic terms( for most students but not explicit for younger youths). This allows student to become better abreast of the English language, collection terms, data entry, spelling, skills with social media( as it is shared within their classroom network), seek and find, sharing ideas, research, cognitive connections, self confidence, hand and motor skills, ( and a host of so much more),all the while collecting pennies.
    Motivation: students who achieve within
    target date and have all pennies will receive a gift certificate to Jcpenney,Walmart. Or Movies and pizza for 4, ( Pupils Choice)Not to mention the classroom receives a pizza party(but students don’t know this during competition). Each progressive year prize finale different. Ask the students. They might want a cable for a year.
    Or comfortable shoes, decent wardrobe, where they are picked up to shop. Make it different, Make it unique, special.
    Children at this age regardless of social status are very open to new ideas and concepts. In operating the network of computers through a social medium the students get to know students they might never have ventured out to get to know. Money always gets things interesting, why not make collecting it fun.

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