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The 1922 Peace Dollar With Moustache Variety

By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for PCGS ……
Peace Dollar, 1922 $1 VAM 12A Moustache, PCGS MS64. Image courtesy PCGS

Peace Dollar, 1922 $1 VAM 12A Moustache, PCGS MS64. Image courtesy PCGS

The 1922 Peace dollar struck at the Philadelphia Mint may be one of the most common dates among all Peace dollars, but it boasts some outstanding and highly collectible varieties. One of these is the 1922 Moustache dollar, a variety stemming from a regular-issue coin and cataloged by silver dollar experts Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Mallis as VAM 12A in their seminal work, Comprehensive Catalog and Encyclopedia of Morgan and Peace Dollars.

PCGS recognizes this dramatic die crack variety by its Van Allen/Mallis designation of VAM 12A.

This fantastic variety was originally reported by Clark Yowell in 1964 and is hailed as one of the most important Peace dollar VAMs out there. In fact, it is perhaps the most popular of all Peace dollar VAMs due to the startling feature that can be clearly seen with the unaided eye across Liberty’s upper lip. The die crack, seen on the obverse just under Liberty’s nose, has the nearly comical appearance of a thick, prominent moustache.

Peace Dollar, 1922 $1 VAM 12A Moustache, VAM 12A obverse detail. Image courtesy PCGS

Peace Dollar, 1922 $1 VAM 12A Moustache, VAM 12A obverse detail

Like so many die cracks, different examples show indications of progression from a tiny break that appears as a thin line resembling a pencil mustache to a thick split that nearly looks like a walrus mouser encroaching upon Liberty’s cheek. Earlier examples of the variety showing only a thin die crack over Liberty’s lips can be attributed by the appearance of a die crack along the base of the tiara and interfering with the ends of two central rays. The die marriage for the VAM 12A incorporates a doubled die reverse that exhibits minor doubling in the olive leaves and some of the rays above the word “ONE”.

The 1922 Moustache dollar is of significant interest to Peace dollar aficionados, and especially those who collect VAM dollars. There are multiple challenging PCGS Registry Sets incorporating the 1922 Peace dollar with Moustache variety, including the Peace Dollars Top 50 VAM Variety Set, Circulation Strikes (1921-1935); Peace Dollars Super Set, Circulation Strikes (1921-1935); and Peace Dollars Complete VAM Set, Circulation Strikes (1921-1935).

PCGS has graded a substantial number of 1922 Moustache dollars, with grades ranging from well-circulated grades up through PCGS MS65. The majority of these specimens are clustered in the AU55 to MS63 range, with prices for these examples hovering on the low end around $115 up to about $450. The record price for this variety is claimed by a PCGS MS64 specimen that hammered for $1,438 in a 2011 Heritage Auctions sale.

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