Written by Javier Mercado
Why is it the silver dollars from 1921 are important for knowing a coin’s value? The year 1921 is certainly one of the most relevant years in the history of American collectible silver coins. In fact, during this year, two of the most collected silver dollars by American coin buyers coexisted – the Morgan Silver Dollars and the Peace Dollars.
In this article, we show you why these two types of coin are so important and how their editions, conservation status and rarities determine selling prices.
Please Note: This article is about the two types of silver dollars that coexisted in 1921. If you want to know more specific information about the Morgan Dollars you can click on the link.
- 1 How rare are our 1921 Silver Dollars?
- 2 1921 Silver dollars 1921 – Value and their Grading
- 3 Value of silver dollars 1921
- 4 1921 Silver Dollars Value – Chart Prices
- 5 What are silver dollars worth?
- 6 1921 Silver Dollars – The transition from the Morgan Dollar to the Peace Dollar
- 7 The history of the 1921 Peace Silver Dollars
- 8 The Design of the 1921 Peace Dollar
- 9 1921 Dollar Coins – How to Identify Mint Marks
- 10 Rare 1921 Silver Dollars
- 11 What are ProofLike Silver Dollars?
How rare are our 1921 Silver Dollars?
The 1921 silver dollars are much-loved by coin collectors in the United States. The value depends mainly on two aspects:
- the rarity of the coin
- its condition
The state of conservation is not easy to determine for someone who has no experience in numismatic collecting. Very subtle details cause great variations in price. Therefore, 1921 silver dollars that are in a Mint State are usually certified by a Third Party Grading Service (TPG). A TPG is an independent company, who encapsulate the coins in a secure plastic container, offering two major advantages:
- It guarantees authenticity.
- It offers an objective graduation of the state of conservation.
1921 Silver dollars 1921 – Value and their Grading
The largest TPGs today, who have the confidence of collectors for their professionalism and impartiality, are NGC and PCGS. These companies, in addition to being widely used by collectors around the world, provide statistics on the number of pieces in each state of conservation.
Value of silver dollars 1921
For the 1921 Silver Dollars we have the following amounts of pieces in Mint State certified by the PCGS company:
|Peace Dollar 1921||91||325||2824||4738||4676||1513||193||6|
|Morgan Dollar 1921||79||688||10669||44854||35784||5959||728||18|
|Morgan Dollar 1921S||20||147||1865||5877||4784||1319||125||0|
|Morgan Dollar 1921D||45||248||2155||6699||6639||2109||503||11|
And these are the Mint State quantities certified by the NGC company:
|Peace Dollar 1921||54||804||2556||3412||3754||1255||143||7||0|
|Morgan Dollar 1921||244||1437||10043||55422||48860||9691||688||13||0|
|Morgan Dollar 1921S||77||580||1700||5566||5740||788||69||1||0|
|Morgan Dollar 1921D||143||890||2028||5949||7173||2189||326||15||1|
We can determine the status of our currency using this link from the American Numismatic Association.
1921 Silver Dollars Value – Chart Prices
As seen in the previous section, Morgan Dollars are a very common coin, with many tens of thousands of units encapsulated by the most important TPGs. For our coin to be expensive, we will need to seek excellence in its state of conservation.
1921 Peace Dollars
The peace dollars, although less common, are also ordinary coins, so they follow the same principle. If our coin is not encapsulated, the price of the 1921 silver dollar is approximately….
What are silver dollars worth?
Here’s the answer…
|Peace Dollar 1921||$100||$110||$120||$155||$170||$180||$195||$250|
|Morgan Dollar 1921||$22||$22.50||$24||$25||$27||$28||$30||$32|
|Morgan Dollar 1921S||$25||$29||$30||$35||$38||$40||$42||$45|
|Morgan Dollar 1921D||$27.50||$28||$28.50||$32||$36||$39||$41||$43|
We can use this table to approximate the price of our uncirculated 1921 silver dollar. However, please note that these values are merely estimates.
Some small details, such as the color that our coin has acquired over the years, or if it so happens that more or less coins have come onto the market than normal, with its circulation varying the price greatly.
|Peace Dollar 1921||$285||$300||$375||$490||$775||$1800||$5400||$84500|
|Morgan Dollar 1921||$40||$42||$45||$58||$65||$150||$700||$13500|
|Morgan Dollar 1921-S||$47||$50||$60||$80||$145||$750||$3000||$25000|
|Morgan Dollar 1921-D||$47||$49||$55||$74||$150||$355||$1000||$16000|
1921 Silver Dollars – The transition from the Morgan Dollar to the Peace Dollar
This design was used from 1878 to 1921 – just the year in question. In 1921, it was replaced by the Peace Dollar. This second design has its origin in the First World War.
The history of the 1921 Peace Silver Dollars
The German government, as a destabilizing measure, began to spread the rumor that the British government did not have the capacity to cover the silver value of the paper money it was issuing. Therefore, the British government turned to its American allies requesting the sale of silver, and the American government authorized the smelting and sale of 270 million one-dollar coins, approximately 47% of all Morgan dollars minted up to that time.
Thus, the Treasury requested the minting of a new silver dollar coin to replace all the precious metal sold to its British allies. The new type of coin was called the Peace dollar, at the request of the American Numismatic Association, which defended the creation of a new circulating coin to commemorate the Victory in the War and the longed-for peacetime afterwards.
The Design of the 1921 Peace Dollar
The Peace Dollar, designed by engraver Anthony de Francisci, shows, on the obverse side, the bust looking to the left of an allegory of Freedom adorned with a radiata crown. In legend, we can read “IN GOD WE TRUST” and the word “LIBERTY”, and under the bust, the minting date.
On the back, we find the bald eagle, the national symbol, this time perched on a rock with an olive branch between its talons. In legend, we can read “E PLURIBUS UNUM” and the word “PEACE“, as well as the issuing entity “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and its facial value “ONE DOLLAR”.
1921 Dollar Coins – How to Identify Mint Marks
We have seen that there are two different types of Dollar Coins from 1921. Within each type, the sales value depends on which mint it was created at.
In order to know the mint, we have to look at a small lettering stamped on our coin. In the case of the Peace silver dollar, this mark will be just above the eagle’s tail and below the word ONE. In the Morgan Dollars, we can find it on the back of the coin, just between the ‘D’ and the ‘O’ of the word DOLLAR.
In the year 1921, there are three variations of one dollar coin:
- If it doesn’t have any letters, it’s minted in Philadelphia
- If we find an ‘S’, it’s minted at the San Francisco Mint
- If we have a ‘D’, it’s minted in Denver
There are no Peace Dollars minted in Denver or San Francisco.
All 1921 Peace Dollars were produced at the Philadelphia Mint.
Rare 1921 Silver Dollars
Some collectors, especially in such common coins, collect variants. A variant is a coin, that despite being of the same type and year as others, has some special feature that makes it different. Usually it is a small error or difference in the mint with which it was struck.
There are even books that collect these variants. The most important one is The Comprehensive Catalog and Encyclopedia of Morgan and Peace Dollars, by Leroy C. Van Allen and George Mallis.
As an example, we are going to show some known stamp variant of these silver dollars, although there are many of them. Some of them affect the price enormously, but the most normal is that they do not do it too much.
The Peace Dollar of 1921 has a very well known variant, albeit which does not affect the value too much – it is called “Ray through L“. In it, we can see how one of the rays on the back passes over the ‘L’ of the word ‘DOLLAR’ instead of under it.
What are ProofLike Silver Dollars?
One aspect that does have importance in the price of the pieces is the mirror shine. This shine is especially present in the first strokes of each coin, which when new, are highly polished; and the field of the coin (the part of the coin that serves as the background, with nothing engraved) usually has some reflectivity.
This makes it behave like a mirror. These coins are called Prooflike (PL). This only applies to coins minted for circulation, and is simply an indication that it is one of the first pieces produced with a new set of dyes. Although it is often difficult for an uninitiated person to see if a coin is PL, they are highly prized by collectors.
Here we show a Morgan PL dollar. As you can see, the field has a brightness that reminds one of a mirror, while the reliefs have a more matte tone.
Apasionado de las inversiones, historia y coleccionismo de monedas en general. Licenciado en Antropología Cultural y graduado en Informática. Escribo en diversos medios digitales especializados en coleccionismo, subastas y antigüedades.
A fan of investments, numismatics, history and coin collecting in general. Graduate in Cultural Anthropology and computer science. I write in several digital media specialized in collecting, auctions and antiques reviews. I like reliable information, so my main sources are the American Numismatic Association (ANA), the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and numismatic publications: CoinWeek, COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter and Coin Values.