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The 1964-D Silver Peace Dollar

The 1964-D Peace silver dollar remains an enigma. The 1964-D Peace dollar is supposed to be the only U.S. coin of the 20th Century to have been struck, then melted in its entirely. Despite some persistent rumors, none are known to exist today. The Denver Mint is supposed to have struck an estimated 322,394 1964 Peace dollars in 1965. But the entire mintage was supposed to have been destroyed before they were allowed into circulation.

The idea that any silver dollars were issued in 1965 for the first time in 30 years seems to incredible on first thought. The Treasury Departmentís once vast silver inventories were rapidly being depleted as the Public exchanged silver certificates in for the coins at face value. In past decades, striking new silver dollars wouldnít have been controversial. In 1965, the government was on the verge of eliminating silver in U.S. coinage, so any new silver dollar would have been an anomaly.

In 1964, the nation was facing two issues with our coinage. One was the fact that the Bureau of the Mint couldnít keep up with the public demand for coinage and the other was that the supplies of silver were diminishing, with the price of silver steadily rising making it unprofitable to mint new silver coins. A September 1964 act had granted the Mint the authority to keep striking 1964-dated coins past the end of the calendar year in an attempt to combat the coin shortage.

This could explain why the 1964-D Peace dollar was dated 1964 instead of 1965, the year it was struck. Unfortunately no known examples are known to exist, not in any government or private collections. In fact researchers have no idea how closely the designs of the coin matched the earlier versions. The story of the 1964-D Peace dollars began when Mint Director Eva B. Adams for approval to issue more silver dollars to replace those being distributed from the Treasury vaults during the early 1960s.

The issue of new silver dollar production was resurrected in early April 1964. Adams declared the Mintís intent to produce silver dollars bearing the designs of the Morgan silver dollar, with the new production to be limited to the Denver Mint. The total maximum production, was reduced to 45 million coins. Somewhere along the line, the idea of restriking Morgan dollars was changed to a reissue of the Peace dollar design.

Months passed before action was taken to implement production. The Treasury had run out of silver dollars on March 25, 1964, except for $2.8 million face value in coins it retained that were of substantial numismatic worth, mostly from the Carson City Mint.

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