The only evidence that proves the 1922-D Peace dollar is anything special is its MS-65 price of $625. It is assumed that Peace dollars from the first few years are likely to be high mintage and available.
The Peace dollar did have higher mintages the first few years because the mints were under severe pressure to produce them as fast as possible.
This pressure came from the Secretary of the Treasury, who wanted more than 200 million silver dollars in a hurry. He needed them to back a new issue of Silver Certificates that was to replace existing notes that were backed by short-term notes paying 2 percent interest. The Secretary was determined to stop paying that interest as soon as possible.
In this effort, there was no waiting for the new Peace dollar design to be ready. The 1921 mintages were enormous but, except for just over 1 million coins, they were all the old Morgan dollar design.
By late 1921, the new design was ready. After a small mintage and some changes that year, all facilities’ 1922 mintages were just Peace dollars. As a result of the nearly constant production schedule, the totals were large in both 1922 and in 1923.
The 1922-D’s mintage was 15,063,000. While lower than the 1921-D Morgan dollar mintage, it would end up as Denver’s top Peace dollar mintage.
Even though the initial 1921 issue was hoarded because of rumors that it might be recalled, there was virtually no saving of the new Peace dollars. The vast majority of the 1922-Ds would have been placed in the vault since these Peace dollars, as well as the 1921 Morgans, were not meant to actually circulate. They were minted to sit in the vault and back Silver Certificates. Even if the entire city of Denver had been ankle deep in 1922-D Peace dollars, there would still have been some left over.
The 1922-D did trickle out over the years. Bags were sent to Nevada casinos and just about everywhere else. Most people who received the bags did not care about silver dollars, and the few who did certainly did not care about the 1922-D.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, 50 bags were reportedly examined by Dwight Manley. According to Q. David Bowers’ American Coin Treasures and Hoards, in an average 1922-D 1,000-coin bag, there were five coins in MS-66, 70 in MS-65, 200 in MS-64, 225 in MS-63 and 500 in MS-60 to MS-62. It should also be noted that in some cases the 1922-D seemed to be heavily bag-marked, so quality is a real issue.
We see the 1922-D’s situation in terms of a lack of quality. Its prices are $33 in VG-8 and $66 in MS-60, but rise to $625 in MS-65 where it is well above the price of the most available dates.
Certainly if you want a cheap Peace dollar, the 1922-D is a good choice. The same can be said if you want an overlooked Peace dollar that is better in MS-65 than most realize. ◆