The 1924-S Peace dollar does not get a great deal of attention. Perhaps many assume that the better dates in the Peace dollar set come from later years.
Except for the 1921, Peace dollars from the early 1920s are much more available with much higher mintages.
The Peace dollar was a rushed project. The Secretary of the Treasury at the time wanted over 200 million silver dollars and he wanted them in a hurry.
The Pittman Act of 1918 saw the melting of over 270 million silver dollars. It seems that those melted silver dollars were being used as backing for Silver Certificates that promised a silver dollar. The United States no longer had enough silver dollars to make good on the promise.
The Silver Certificates were withdrawn, but they had to be replaced with something. The backing of the new notes was done by short-term notes that paid 2 percent interest. This was driving the Secretary of the Treasure crazy. He wanted new silver dollars so he could retire the notes and issue new Silver Certificates.
The three prime years of production were 1921, 1922 and 1923. The mints were so busy making silver dollars that many times the mintages of other denominations suffered.
The crisis began to ease in 1924. The Philadelphia mintage sunk to 11,811,000, while San Francisco produced just 1,728,000. Denver produced no silver dollars in 1924.
The numbers were down, but few noticed. Moreover, few would ever notice a 1924-S in circulation. It was assumed to be an available date and there were virtually no silver dollar collectors.
The 1924-S is more expensive than might be expected. It is $25 in G-4, which is the most for any date from 1922 to 1927. In MS-60 it is $200. This is more than any date from 1922 to 1928. It?s at $9,500 in MS-65.
The mintage was low, but it was not that low. It appears that the 1924-S was released in large numbers only sporadically. There are no regular reports of bags, so it apparently trickled out and never received much notice.
The late 1950s saw just a few $1,000 bags. In the case of many San Francisco dates, the Redfield estate came to the rescue with bags of otherwise tough dates. The 1924-S total was not bags but rather a few hundred Mint State coins.
Just to make matters worse, the 1924-S is notorious for being heavily bag-marked. We do not know why. Some dates seemed to pick up bag marks while others did not. There are usually lots of bag marks on 1924-S coins, making it tough to find a nice example from an already low supply.
The 1924-S may never be the key to the Peace dollar set, but it is well on its way to becoming a Peace dollar sleeper. The totals do not lie. The 1924-S is a lot tougher than most realize.