The 1926-D Peace dollar is a mystery, which makes it all the more fun to not only study, but also to own. We know when it was made, but beyond that, the trail is very cold when it comes to tracking down just what happened to the 1926-D from the day it was made until it reached your collection.
By the time it was produced, the period of heavy Peace dollar mintages was over. The pressure to produce silver dollars peaked in 1921 and 1922, when the secretary of the Treasury had Mint workers on 12-hour shifts, six days a week, so that dollar production would go on 24 hours a day, six days a week.
He felt it was extreme that the United States was paying 2 percent interest on short-term notes, which were being used to back bank notes, when silver dollars could be used to create a new issue of Silver Certificates, which the silver dollars backed, and without paying interest. As a result, he wanted over 200 million silver dollars as fast as possible.
The pressure was extreme in 1921 and 1922 and it is seen not only in the high mintages of Morgan and Peace dollars starting in 1921, but also in low mintages of other denominations, including very low cent totals in 1922.
Within a couple years, however, the needed silver dollars had been produced and a new issue of Silver Certificates was possible. The secretary of the Treasury could turn his attention to other matters, like reducing the size of bank notes.
The fact that the needed silver dollars were made did not mean no more Peace dollars would be made. There was silver and that meant more dollars could be produced. It was simply a case where the mintages would be dramatically lower, as was the case with the 1926-D, which had a mintage of 2,348,700.
Precisely what happened to that mintage is an interesting question that does not seem to have easy answers.
Q. David Bowers explained the situation well in his American Coin Treasures and Hoards, where he noted, ?during the course of my research for my Encyclopedia on silver dollars, I did not find a single verified instance of a bag of 1926-D dollars being released before 1950, yet many must have been.?
The best guess as to what would have happened is that bags would have been quietly released, but with virtually no numismatic interest, there would have been no reports regarding their release.
Even when there were reports of the 1926-D in the 1950s, the numbers were not large, as there were, according to Bowers, a couple bags in the Midwest around 1953 and a few more in the great Treasury releases of 1962-1964.
Wayne Miller wrote in 1982 that rolls were available, but there is a large difference between a roll and a bag. The lack of verified supplies may well play a role in the price of the 1926-D, which is slightly higher than would be expected for a silver dollar with its mintage starting with a VG-8, which is currently at $17, which is a bit more than an available date.
In MS-60, the 1926-D lists for $66 ? a premium price over the most available dates. In MS-65, the same holds true, as at $600, the 1926-D is certainly not a key or semi-key date, yet it is also well above the price of a more available date.
It cannot be said that the 1926-D will be discovered to be a tougher date. We know they are available in reasonable numbers. It is simply a case where we honestly are not very sure how those numbers came to be saved.