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The Mysterious 1964 Peace Dollar

The 1964 Peace Silver Dollar officially doesn't exist, but rumors claim several may be stored in secret.  The United States government claims all 300,000 coins struck were melted, and, if any survived, owning them is illegal.  Under this uncertain legal status, it isn't difficult to imagine why the owners of such coins may want to remain quiet!

An uncirculated 1922 Peace Dollar. The 1964 Dollar also used the Peace design and the same 90% silver alloy.  
1922 Peace Dollar Obverse
The original Peace Dollars were struct starting in 1921 and ending in 1935 with a small mintage.  Then, as now, dollar coins were not popular for use in daily commerce; most were struct to satisfy legal quotas and sat in bank vaults for decades.  By 1964, the government supply of silver dollars was almost depleted and western states and casinos said the nation needed a fresh supply. 

Approimately 300,000 silver dollars were struct in the spring of 1965.  Due to an official "date freeeze" policy in effect at the time, the coins bore the 1964 date.  Ironically, the same forces that led to the striking of the silver dollars also lead to their destruction.  Rising silver prices caused the value of silver coinage to exceed its face value.  As a result, bags of newly issued coins were hoarded.  A coin shortage soon developed.   Silver dollars that had previously sat in bank vaults for decades were suddenly in high demand.  Just as these factors led to the striking of more silver dollars, they also led mint officials and members of Congress to stop the issuance of the coins and melt those already made.  Several may have been sold to mint employees or given as show pieces to government officials, however, no proof exists that any dollars survived. 

Approximately 5 years later, a prominent coin dealer placed advertisements seeking the 1964 Peace Dollar.  He received on potential offer.  However, before he could review the coins, the US Secret Service issued a warning stating that any coins in existence were stolen government property and would be confiscated.  A simlar situation has plagued the 1933 Double Eagle (a $20 gold coin).  Those coins were minted before the Gold Surender Act of 1933 was passed, but were melted prior to release.  A settlement was recently negotiated whereby one of these coins became legal to own.  Perhaps a similar settlement could be negotiated for any remaining 1964 Peace Dollars. If they do exist, their current owners will most likely come forward only after legalization, or from a country outside of US jurisdiction. 

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