The Last Real Silver Dollar
To truly understand Peace dollars, you need to know something of its time period as it applied to numismatics and history in general. The world in 1920 was still trying to recover from the after effects of the Great War. That war was beyond the worst nightmares of anyone of that time period. Instead of the glorified cavalry charges and chivalry people had expected, they were faced with the horrific images of tanks, machine guns, airplanes, and poison gas.
World War I caused the Russian Czar to abdicate his throne and allowed the Bolsheviks to introduce Communism and Marxism to the Russian people and later to the rest of the world. The war so traumatized an entire generation, that it has been referred to as the “Lost Generation.” While we in the U.S. didn’t experience as much trauma as our European Allies, it still had a psychological effect on us nonetheless.
What we lost was our innocence and our feeling of aloofness from the rest of the world. It was the first time our nation had been drawn into a European conflict. The 1920s was a period of conflicting events. There was one unifying concern that seemed to unite most people together. It was the urge for peace. After what people had experienced in World War I most people wanted desperately to avoid a future event like it.
A paper from Farran Zerbe which was delivered at the American Numismatic Association convention in 1920 called for the introduction of a Peace silver dollar. This paper complimented the terms of the Pittman Act of 1918 which had 270 million silver dollars melted down. These dollars needed to be replaced as they had backed Silver Certificates. New silver had to be purchased and new dollars needed to be issued to replace those that had been melted. The process was started in 1921.
By 1921 the Morgan dollars were making their last curtain call which had been in the works since 1904. Simultaneously, legislation was introduced for a dollar “of an appropriate design commemorative of the war between the Imperial German Government and the Government and people of the United States.”
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