The year 1922 was a remarkable one in world history. It witnessed the birth of the Soviet Union, the first communist state that would shape global politics for decades. It also saw the discovery of insulin, a life-saving hormone that revolutionized the treatment of diabetes and opened new possibilities for medical research.
But another event that happened in 1922 may not be as well-known but is equally fascinating and significant: the minting of the 1922 silver dollar. In the previous year — 1921 — the U.S. switched from minting Morgan dollars to minting Peace dollars to celebrate the end of the Great War.
In this article, we will explore this piece of numismatic history. You will walk away with better knowledge of its history, how it came to be, and how to evaluate one — should you be so lucky to get your hands on a 1922 silver dollar — and its market value.
The History of 1922 Silver Dollars
As the name suggests, the Peace dollar symbolizes peace. World War I, the Great War, ended in 1918. Three years later, in 1921, the United States created the Peace dollar to celebrate the end of the gruesome episode and to cherish the peacetime that followed.
The coin’s design comes from Anthony de Francisci, an Italian-American sculptor who created several coins and medals for the United States. The design features a portrait of Lady Liberty on the obverse with an eagle perched on a hill with the text “PEACE” on it while holding olive branches, yet another symbol of peace. It’s made of 90% silver and 10% copper.
Peace dollars came to be in 1921 mainly because of the Pittman Act of 1918, signed right at the end of World War I. The act authorized the melting of millions of previously minted silver dollars; almost all of the melted ones were Morgan dollars since the series ran from 1878 to 1921.
The Peace dollars kept being minted from 1921 up to 1928, but due to the recession the U.S. was about to enter — the Great Crash of 1929 — the demand for dollars was low. Thus, minting resumed in 1934 and only lasted until 1935.
Evaluating a 1922 Silver Dollar
The importance of knowing how to evaluate old coins can’t be overstated. You don’t need to be an expert appraiser — though it would certainly help — but you need to know the basics to give a ballpark estimate of a coin’s value.
The reasons for this necessity come from how the collectors market operates. You will run into people who have no idea of their coin’s value, who are trying to make a quick buck off someone else’s ignorance, and fraudsters who peddle fake coins. Thus, you take on considerable risk when you don’t know how to evaluate a coin.
Let’s start by figuring out if the coin you’re trying to buy is authentic. Get a scale, a caliper or a ruler, and a magnifying glass or a loupe.
Start with the scale: measure your coin’s weight; if it’s not 26.73 grams, it’s most likely fake.
Next, measure the coin’s diameter, but if you have a ruler know it might not be as accurate as the caliper. The coin’s diameter must be 38.10; if it’s not, question the coin’s authenticity.
Now that you have determined you’re dealing with an authentic coin, it’s time to get to the evaluating work. Here’s how.
Factors to Look For when Evaluating a 1922 Silver Dollar
Here comes the fun part. Pick up your magnifying glass and check the coin’s surface. Take note of any imperfections you find, and compare them to this grading chart courtesy of PCGS.
Here are the factors to consider when evaluating a 1922 silver dollar:
- Conditions: Grades run from 0 to 70, with 70 being absolutely perfect coins and 0 being barely recognizable coins. The higher the condition, the more valuable the coin is — though there are exceptions to the rule.
- Mint mark: 1922 silver dollars were minted in three locations: Philadelphia (no mint mark), Denver (D), and San Francisco (S). Knowing this is important, as different mints minted different amounts of coins, impacting each one’s rarity.
- Rarity: Rare coins sell for more, as the law of supply and demand suggests us. The rarer a coin, the more people want it relative to how many specimens exist. This is also why a coin owned by a famous person goes for way more than common coins.
- Aesthetic value: How a coin looks impacts its value. The aesthetic value is often why coins from the same category fluctuate substantially. Coins with different shading, full lines, or an excellent luster fetch higher prices on the market purely because they have more eye appeal.
Now that you know what to look for when evaluating a coin let’s see how much 1922 silver dollars sell for on the market.
The Market Value of 1922 Silver Dollars
The first thing to dow hen assessing the value of any coin, you must first decide where you’re going to buy one. There are three main avenues for 1922 silver dollars:
- Online marketplaces like eBay — These offer the best prices, but there is a real risk of fraud, plus it’s harder to find super-rare specimens.
- Auction houses like Heritage Auction — Here is where the heavyweights are. If you’re ready to shell out some serious cash for a coins, these are the places.
- Antique coin shops — If you’re in a rush and don’t mind paying a premium for a coin, these are the best buying place for you.
No matter where you’re shopping, always do your research to make sure you’re getting a good deal.
To help you with market rates, we compiled a list of coins with their respective prices, divided by category. Here they are:
1922 Silver Dollar – Poor to Fine (Grades 0 to 15)
These coins have lots of flaws that make them almost unrecognizable. Few coins in bad conditions have survived today:
There is also one coin that sold for $240, this PO1 specimen.
1922 Silver Dollar – Very Fine to About Uncirculated (Grades 20 to 58)
Coins in this category present lots of wear, with chips, marks, and scratches visible without magnification. Still, they are recognizable and their features are mostly intact.
Prices start at around $10:
Prices slowly climb up, and we find a cluster of sales at a few hundred dollars:
A few coins in this category sold for thousands of dollars:
1922 Silver Dollar – Uncirculated to Select Uncirculated (Grades 60 to 63)
These coins are also called MS (Mint State) coins, because they look quite similar to how they did when they were fresh off the minting press. There are still minor flaws on the coin’s surface, but they need magnification to be seen.
There are plenty of affordable coins in this category:
- This MS63 coin sold for $2
- This MS63-S coin sold for $3
- This MS63-D coin sold for $3
- This MS63 coin sold for $16
- This MS62-D coin sold for $27
- This MS61-S coin sold for $26
With so many available specimens, prices rise very slowly. The next landmark is at a few hundreds of dollars:
At the top end of the price ladder for this category we find a few coins that sold for thousands of dollars:
- This MS62 coin sold for $2,070
- This MS63-D coin sold for $3,738
- This MS62-S coin sold for $5,175
- This MS61-S coin sold for $8,050
1922 Silver Dollar – Choice & Gem Uncirculated (64 to 66)
We are getting close to perfection with this category. These coins only have minor imperfections that require magnification to notice. They also have above average strikes, contributing to the crispiness of their design.
Yet, there are a number of affordable coins:
Prices rise slowly again, thanks to the high population of coins that belong in this category. Here are some past sales in the hundreds of dollars:
- This MS65 coin sold for $161
- This MS65-D coin sold for $299
- This MS65-D coin sold for $403
- This MS66 coin sold for $575
- This MS64+-S coin sold for $823
The next big pricepoint to consider sits in the thousands of dollars range:
For those who aren’t afraid of splurging money on a piece that will gather the attention of everyone, check these pieces out:
- This MS66-D coin sold for $10,575
- This MS66-S coin sold for $16,800
- This MS65-S coin sold for $32,200
The record sale goes to this MS66-S coin that sold for $41,125.
1922 Silver Dollar – Superb & Perfect Uncirculated (Grades 67 to 70)
These coins are the top of the tops. They are as close to perfection as it gets, as if they were just minted.
Editor’s note: No coins from the San Francisco mint have been sold in this category.
Their rarity is showcased by their starting price; you won’t find any below $1,000:
- This MS67 coin sold for $1,035
- This MS67 coin sold for $2,760
- This MS67-D coin sold for $5,520
- This MS67 coin sold for $7,200
But this was only the beginning. If you have a high budget, there are plenty of options for you:
- This MS67-D coin sold for $13,800
- This MS67 coin sold for $16,450
- This MS67 coin sold for $35,250
- This MS67 coin sold for $50,400
The record sale belongs to this MS67 coin that went for a staggering $90,000.
F.A.Qs about 1922 Silver Dollars
How do I know if my 1922 silver dollar is rare?
It depends mostly on your piece’s conditions. If it’s worn out it’s most likely not very rare. Still, as you could see, even coins in great conditions have sold for little money.
Where were 1922 silver dollars minted?
1922 silver dollars were minted in three mints: Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. To know where yours come from, check the mint mark on the reverse.
Will 1922 silver dollars go up in value?
There is no definitive answer to this, as the future is always uncertain. However, the most likely answer is yes. The more time passes, the more 1922 silver dollars will get lost to time and negligence, making the surviving specimens rarer.
Collecting coins is a beautiful hobby with plenty of upsides, from a sense of pride and accomplishment from securing a rare piece to the fun of participating in auctions (beware of auction fever, though).
You’ll find a 1922 silver dollar that helps you expand your collection even if you’re on a tight budget. Plenty of coins sold for less than $100, making Peace dollars a great entry-level collectible.
But even more experienced collectors with serious cash will find stunning pieces. It’s all about what you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to pay for it.
If you’re in the market for a 1922 silver dollar, our primary recommendation is to take some time to learn how to evaluate a coin to avoid potential fraud. And, if you’re in doubt, you don’t have to give up on your purchase. You can use a grading service like those of PCGS or NGC to get an appraisal for a small sum. Alternatively, you can contact a professional appraiser, who will gladly evaluate your coin honestly.
Good luck with your collection, and remember that patience is your best friend here, especially if you’re after rarer pieces. The supply of rare coins is limited, and people who buy the rare ones tend to hold onto them for life, eventually passing them down to their descendants. You’ll have to wait for one to pop up at an auction house, which might take weeks — or months.
Buying this sort of family heirloom can be complicated at times, but if you persevere, you’ll find the perfect piece to finish your collection.