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About the Peace Dollar
If you have some silver dollars in your possession... left over from Uncle Louie's last trip to Vegas in the 50s... or handed down from Grandma's dresser drawer... some of these coins will likely be Peace dollars.
These were the last silver dollar coins issued for circulation by the US Government. They were made of 90 percent silver. The coin, designed by Anthony De Francisci, is called the "Peace" dollar because it commemorates the end of World War I.
De Francisci's wife Teresa was the model for the Liberty head designed for the Peace dollar. This rendition of the Liberty goddess was decidedly more modern in its presentation, as compared to the earlier Morgan dollars.
The first Peace dollars were struck in December of 1921 in "high relief"- which means the highest parts of the design are somewhat above the rims. The 1921 Peace dollar was a truly beautiful coin (and is highly prized today by coin collectors.) However, this high level artistry came at a cost: the new Peace dollars wouldn't stack properly. This was especially apparent when a roll of twenty coins was assembled. Such a stack would simply collapse! Beginning in 1922, and for the remaining years of Peace dollar production, the coins appeared in a lower relief rendition of the original design.
Although the mintage of the 1921 Peace dollar was low at little more than 1 million pieces, during the years following many more were produced annually. During 1922 the Philadelphia Mint alone produced over 51 million pieces. Production of Peace dollars remained high to replace the several hundred million pieces melted to help pay British debts in India in 1919.
The Peace dollar with the lowest mintage is the 1928 Philadelphia coin at only 360, 649. Like the 1921, it is highly valued by collectors.
There is some thought among silver dollar collectors that Peace dollars dated 1964 may exist. There is no doubt that 45 million were authorized in August of 1964 at the behest of casino operators in Nevada. More than 300,000 were actually struck. Authorization was rescinded and the coins were melted. Interestingly, mint employees were allowed to purchase two 1964 Peace dollars each before the project was cancelled. Some believe a few of these coins may still exist, but so far, none have showed up in the collector market.
Why Are Morgan Silver Dollar So Popular?
Silver dollars designed by George T. Morgan, introduced in 1878, are extremely popular with American coin collectors. Using eBay listings as a guide, Morgan dollar listings typically outnumber those of any other US coin -- even more than Lincoln pennies, the usual starting point for new collectors.
So, how does it happen that a coin 100 times the face value of a penny is even more popular?
Four reasons: Size and Weight, Beauty, Historical Significance, and Availability.
Size and Weight
It's great to hold a Morgan dollar! It's a big, heavy coin with a diameter of 38.1 millimeters and a gross weight of 26.73 grams, of which more than 24 grams are pure silver. Back when the Morgan dollar circulated it was considered a bullion coin containing a full dollar's worth of silver.
Looking at a Morgan dollar, you are immediately transported into the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century, a period known for flamboyant (even excessive) ornamentation. The Morgan design is to coinage what a Sousa march is to music - bright, brash, and bombastic. Accordingly, the reverse side of the coin is dominated by a huge spread-winged eagle; a large, confident-looking Liberty head graces the obverse. Contemporary perception of American progress in science, industry, and education were aptly and artistically represented by this coin.
Morgan dollars were produced from 1878 through 1904, and again in 1921. Their existence is attributable to the massive silver discoveries in the Nevada Territory during the late 1850s.
Never popular along the Eastern Seaboard, Morgan dollars were highly regarded in the American West, where they freely circulated. Westerners were openly distrustful of paper money, whose value was subject to the fortunes of the issuing banks. A silver dollar was substantial. Its value was based on its composition -- not on some vague promise to pay.
The Role of Pawn Shops in Today's Economy
Pawn loans, money lent to those who pledge items of personal property, have been with us since the 11th century BCE. The Chinese, and later, the Greek and Roman civilizations featured pawn brokering as a mainstream economic activity. The practice continued throughout the Middle Ages and on through to the present day.
Something that has lasted so long must be fulfilling a fundamental social need. And so it is... Pawning has always served a broad segment of society. Short notice liquidity is useful for nearly everyone at one time or another. Pawn loans are made on the spot, face-to-face, with a minimum of effort, and at the greatest convenience to the borrower.
As credit standards have tightened in most modern economies, an increasing proportion of the population is excluded from traditional borrowing channels. Bank loans involve a complex application and approval process that is time consuming and humiliating. A pawn loan is made without reference to the borrower's credit.
A pawn loan is secured only by the value of the item pledged by the borrower. Therefore, the pawnbroker is mostly concerned with two things:
1) Is the pledged item marketable in the event of default, and
2) How long will it take to sell it, if that becomes necessary?
Pawn loans offer a great value to borrowers. A well-managed pawn loan can help bridge over difficult financial circumstances, such as many of us are experiencing in the current economy. London Coin Galleries in Mission Viejo has, in addition to its other services, offered the South Orange County community pawn loans for thirty years or more. People from Mission Viejo and the nearby communities of San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Beach, Monarch Beach, Lake Forest, and Irvine have come to rely on London Coin Galleries' integrity and sense of fair dealing through the years.