At least in top grade, the 1924 Peace silver dollar is a bit of a surprise and a definite departure from the general trend, at least in the case of early Philadelphia Peace dollars as it is not as available as many would expect.
The general belief when it comes to Philadelphia Peace dollars is that those of the first few years are all roughly equal in availability. That belief is supported as they all are at essentially the same prices. That may actually not reflect the real situation but rather that the supplies of all dates like the 1922, 1923 and 1924 are strong enough to meet current demand. If, however, demand were to change, that might see some of the early dates prove to be less available than others. If that happens, it is the 1924 that would move ahead of the others in price.
Certainly the first years of Peace dollar mintages were high. The Mint was under heavy pressure to replace the 270 million coins melted under terms of the 1918 Pittman Act.
If you look at the mintages, the pressure was already easing off by 1924. The better than 51 million Philadelphia dollars of 1922 and more than 30 million in 1923 along with over 80 million Morgans of 1921 had basically solved most of the problem.
There were still high mintages, but the 1924 at 11,811,000 was still far below the earlier totals.
Precisely what went on with the 1924 and just how available it is today in top Mint State grades is a subject of some debate.
What we do know is the 1924 was released in some numbers in 1949 and 1950. There were bags reported in banks in the East for much of the 1950s with no interest in them even at face value. The general conclusion, however, was that by the 1960s the 1924 was elusive compared to other Peace dollars.
The period after 1960 becomes one of uncertainty as dealers of the era split their opinions. In his “American Coin Treasures and Hoards,” Q. David Bowers reports a letter from John Kamin in which Kamin said the 1924 was “about 100 times scarcer than the super common 1922 and 1923 Peace dollars,” but then he found “a hoard containing nearly 100 bags.” That hoard was dispersed, but would certainly change anyone’s view of the 1924’s availability.
Other dealers seemed unaware of the hoard. John Highfill in his 1992 book reported on 12 bags handled by John Love in the late 1960s and two more handled by himself in 1980. Wayne Miller claimed to have seen fewer than five bags in 15 years before 1980.
Reports are definitely mixed. At least so far, the prices seem to support the notion of large numbers being available. At Numismatic Guaranty Corporation they reported 4,878 graded MS-65, but the 1922 total is well over 9,000 and the 1923 total is well over 20,000.
The Professional Coin Grading Service shows 1,896 examples of the 1924 in MS-65 while the total for the 1922 is 3,772 and the 1923 is 10,625.
Simply put, at least in MS-65, the grading services agree that the 1924 is better, though prices are identical up to MS-64. Only in MS-65 does the 1924 begin to assert a separate identity.
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