1921 Peace Dollar
by Steve Estes ©
Medallist Anthony De Francisci applied the art of medal-making to his design for the Peace Dollar, initially creating
a high-relief design. Unfortunately De Francisci did not consider the logistics of executing a high-relief design on coin-making machinery.
Medals are struck 20 to 50 times to bring up all details. The Mint was set up to deliver one blow per planchet, resulting in a poorly struck coin.
The portion of the 1921 Peace Dollar first to suffer this striking deficiency was the central portion, i.e., hair on the central obverse and feathers on the central reverse.
Poor strike is apparent on 95% or more of all 1921 Peace Dollars. In reality, probably less than 1% of the issue is well struck. In fact, most 1921 Peace Dollars graded MS-65 will not present a sharp strike.
The coin was redesigned for 1922 and subsequent years, without the high relief. One must not compare strike on the 1921 Peace Dollar with issues from later years.