1964-D Peace Dollar

By: Joshua Verley

What is the 1964-D Peace Dollar?

All collectors know about the famous 1933 Double Eagle that fetched over 18.9 million dollars in an auction in 2021. 

Some of these coins went to court because the government believed it was illegal government property. The court judged that all 10 of the 1933 Double Eagles were to be confiscated by the government. But, if someone ever found a 1964-D Peace dollar, it could break the 1933 Double Eagle auction record.

The 1964-D Peace dollar is thought to have a similar design to the Peace dollars from 1921-1935, but no one knows since none have been found and the dies for 1964 had a slight difference. All the dies from 1921-1935 were destroyed. The image included in this article is an artist’s impression of the coin.

The Origins of the 1964-D Peace Dollar

This coin was already controversial before it was even minted! In the early 1960s, the nation was already beginning to experience the affects of a nationwide coin shortage. In 1965, mintmarks were removed from coins – originally for five years – but only three years in the end. The Mint also stopped producing proofs so that all machinery could be used in combating the shortage. A silver dollar wouldn’t help this situation and was opposed by the Congress and Mint officials from the beginning.

Another event happening during this period was skyrocketing silver prices, so senators started asking for the Mint to lower the percentage of silver content in a coin. The Treasury saw an opportunity to strike a deal with the senators to strike these silver dollars, and the senators supported by the Treasury would appeal for lower silver content coins and the Treasury. Only part of the deal was fulfilled.

Production

In 1964, Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon requested funds to mint over 50 million dollar coins. When the silver spot price started rising so high that the Peace dollar would have $1 worth of silver, the Senate intervened and said that only 45 million coins would be minted in the Denver Mint. However, the coins were delayed for a while because of the high demand for circulating coinage in the shortage.

When it was time for the coin to be produced, Mint Director Eva Adams and many in the House of Representatives opposed this dollar. Collectors and dealers began offering up to $7.50 per coin and collector demand was high, which increased resistance to these coins, including opposition from some citizens. One factor for this was people were worried that collectors would hoard these coins for themselves and wouldn’t ‘enter’ true circulation. Also, the Treasury was gearing up to produce the new dollar bill, the Federal Reserve Note, which would render the dollar coin useless.

From May 13-24, 1965, 316,076 1964-D Peace dollars were minted. But Adams insisted that they were only trial coins. On May 25, Congress heard whispers from the numismatic community and repealed the act that allowed the striking of the coin. The Mint said all coins were melted and destroyed but were counted by weight. This is where collectors think maybe someone substituted a few Peace dollars with other dollars. There were rumors about some being in President Johnson’s estate but were proven unfounded. There were theories that Denver Mint employees were allowed to buy two coins like in the past with new coins but several Denver Mint employees later claimed that it was just a myth.

Legal to Own?

Since these dollars were never monetized, these coins are still government property and could face the same court battles as the $10 1933 Double Eagles if found. And most likely, the government would be given the authority to seize it. 

$10,000 Reward

Since 1964, people have been looking for the famed 1964-D Peace dollar. In 2013, PCGS offered $10,000 if someone sent them an authentic 1964-D Peace Dollar, which would be authenticated by experts. So far, there have been no takers to this offer. Since these coins were made from new dies, it is not certain what it would look like, which would make it hard to authenticate.

Where Would We Find It?

Many famous coin collectors believe there are a few out there, but don’t know where they will turn up. Many doubt they will appear in our country, but another country, which might be a good thing since this would mean if they appear elsewhere, the government will have a hard time seizing from foreign countries.

An event happened in 1972 with a very interesting coincidence. In 1972, a market newsletter reported that such dollars had been produced and that some had escaped into private hands. The coincidence was that the report appeared just about the time the seven-year statute of limitations would have expired for federal prosecution of anyone who “removed” or stole these coins from the US Mint.

In April of 1973, a Maryland coin dealer named Bob Cohen put a full-page ad on The Numismatist and got some responses but no coins. He offered $3,000 per coin. In May of 1973, the Mint said that all 1964-D Peace dollars were government property. So any coins that remain in the US are possibly kept at a low profile. This has led people to believe there are coins out there.

Three Main Reasons Behind the Ending

Collectors: Made Congress worried about hoarding and might have caused coin shortage because of hoarding new mint rolls.

Silver price and Federal Reserve Note: Made it extremely expensive to produce these coins and rendered them useless.

Coin shortage: Caused Congress to focus on making coins for circulation, not experiments.

Conclusion

In the end, this coin might surface in our lifetimes, or the whispers of this coin might be rumors and gossip and lost in history. This coin is still an interesting one to research from an interesting period.