Normally speaking, there would not be a lot of attention paid to the 1935 Peace dollar. In fact, the main claim to fame of the 1935 Peace dollar is that it, along with the 1935-S, were the last Peace dollars to reach circulation. We have to be careful as they were not the last Peace dollars to be produced. In 1965, over 300,000 Peace dollars dated 1964 were struck in Denver. The big difference is that the 316,076 reportedly produced were promptly melted before ever reaching circulation. Making and then melting silver dollars may make little sense, but that sort of thing was typical of the U.S. government silver policy at the time.
In fact, it could probably be said minting the 1935 Peace dollar only made a little more sense than that 1964-D mintage.
Realistically, even if people had wanted silver dollars, there were enough silver dollars sitting in Treasury vaults in 1934 to probably fill any possible demand for the next 25 years. Even after the destruction of 270 million silver dollars under the provisions of the Pittman Act in 1918, all those melted silver dollars had been replaced by 1928. At that point in time, officials probably expected that they would never again make a single silver dollar for the United States.
As it turned out, if officials had believed there would be no more silver dollar production, they were very close to correct. The Great Depression proved a lot of people wrong about a lot of things. My grandfather was wrong in his stock purchases and that made for some lean holidays at that home. Officials were wrong about silver dollars so, sure enough, they were at work making more silver dollars as part of President Roosevelt’s attempt to get the economy moving.
The 1934 and 1935 mintages were not large. In fact, the 1935 at 1,964,000 was the highest mintage of the four dates produced during the two years. Suffice to say, being the top mintage date of the four has done nothing over time to help the price of the 1935, although there is another side as it did nothing to encourage saving of the 1935 either. Moreover, it was still the Great Depression and it was not easy for many to save a dollar.
Since 1998, the 1935 Peace dollar has acted like an average date. Back in 1998, the 1935 was listed at $6.50 in G-4, $43 in MS-60 and $650 in MS-65. Today, the 1935 sits at $35 in G-4, $85 in MS-60 and $835 in MS-65. Interestingly, its best price increase in terms of percentage is in G-4.
If you check the grading numbers for the 1935, they are not that bad. At the Professional Coin Grading Service, the 1935 has been graded 8,393 times while the 1935-S is at 5,071. It is worth remembering the 1935-S in MS-65 is almost double the price of the 1935 at $1,650. In fact, if you examine the MS-65 totals, you find the 1935-S has been seen 685 times to 862 for the 1935 and only the 1935-S has been seen in a higher grade. The 1935 has the higher numbers but there has also been 2,000 more examples graded. Suddenly, the 1935 seems inexpensive when compared to the 1935-S, which is almost twice the price of the 1935. This suggests that the 1935 has the potential to do better.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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