US Coins

Proof 1922 Peace High Relief dollars surface

A California woman says she doesn’t believe her dad ever knew the rarity or value of the two silver dollars given to him circa 1968 by the daughter of former U.S. Mint Director Raymond T. Baker.

The two coins that were part of her father’s estate are Matte Proof 1922 Peace, High Relief dollars, bringing the total number of known Proof examples to as many as 13 (sources differ on totals). 

No more than 20 examples of the 1922 Peace dollar are reported to have been struck in High Relief in Proof.

The woman’s father died in July 2013. The woman has asked for anonymity, preferring only to be identified as Kathleen.

The two recently discovered coins are to be offered at auction by Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles in the firm’s June 1 to 3 Pre-Long Beach sale. The net proceeds are to be divided between Kathleen, who is the executor of her father’s estate, and her two brothers.

The two Peace dollars were taken for evaluation March 1, 2014, along with other coins, to a coin dealer in Stockton, Calif. They have since been certified by Professional Coin Grading Service. One coin is graded Proof 67, the highest example graded by PCGS, and the other graded Proof 64.

In addition to the PCGS Proof 67 1922 High Relief Peace dollar, Numismatic Guaranty Corp. has also certified as Proof 67 a Matte Proof 1922 High Relief Peace dollar. The NGC-graded piece, reportedly from a Philadelphia estate, sold at a Jan. 9, 2014, Heritage auction for $329,000.

Envelopes provide clues

The two coins had been stored in 2-inch by 2-inch manila envelopes, each separately identified with typed information on paper taped to one side.

The envelope that contained the coin that graded PCGS Proof 67 carried the text, “Indicator registered / 104,001 pieces struck / when this coin taken / RAYMOND T. BAKER / Sec. of Treasury 1922.”

The envelope that contained the coin that graded PCGS Proof 64 carried the text, “1 of first 20 / Struck - 1922 / Given by: / Raymond T. Baker / Sec. of Treas.”

Who typed and taped the information to each of the coin envelopes is unknown.

Baker did not serve as Treasury secretary, but served as the director of the U.S. Mint, appointed by Woodrow Wilson. Baker served in the office from March 1917 until March 1922.

Upon Baker’s death on April 28, 1935, the two Matte Proof 1922 Peace, High Relief dollars were secreted in barrels along with other family property bequeathed to Baker’s daughter, Yvonne. 

Yvonne later gave the two coin envelopes with their contents to Kathleen’s father, a family friend and business partner, as a gesture of thanks. Kathleen’s father was also a modest collector of coins.

As trustee of her father’s estate, Kathleen said that in January 2014, she and her brothers attempted to divide their father’s coin collection.

Noting that she has been surprised by the outcome so far, Kathleen added that the sale will be somewhat bittersweet.

“I don’t think he knew what he had,” Kathleen said of her father. “He never said anything to us about it. Our parents lived frugally and could have used the money. I just wish he had known what he had.”

Matte Proof history

In Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States, A Complete Encyclopedia by Q. David Bowers, with Mark Borckardt, it is suggested that the 1922 Peace dollars with Proof finish could have been created during the period of experimentation at the Philadelphia Mint to lower the Peace dollar’s relief for general circulation.

“... but this does not seem likely, as the relief and designs are nearly identical to that of 1921,” according to Bowers-Borckardt. “It may be they were coined by or for [Chief Engraver] George T. Morgan as delicacies for private sale to collectors. Certainly, there is no record of their having been placed on general sale.”

In Roger W. Burdette’s Renaissance of American Coinage 1916-1921, Burdette writes: “Both sides of the high relief proofs were probably made by reworking the lettering and making other modifications to the 1921 design. However, none of the 1921 coins the author examined share diagnostic details of the 1922 varieties, and the conclusion is that the 1922s came from new, extensively recut hubs.”

For further information on the June 1 to 3 Goldberg sale, contact the auctioneer at Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins and Collectibles Inc. at 800-978-2646. Visit the firm’s website at

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