• Gerry Tebben

    Five Facts

    Gerald Tebben goes behind the scenes and explores many offbeat trails in bringing to the forefront the long-lost information that makes coins so special in "Coin Lore."

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  • A dollar so rare it doesn’t exist

    With a mintage of more than 300,000, the last regular issue silver dollar – the 1964-D Peace dollar – should be an easily accessible piece. However, none is known.

    In the early 1960s as silver dollars were diverted into the numismatic market, gambling casinos became concerned about the sudden disappearance of what was, in effect, a government issued gambling chip and prevailed upon Congress to authorize replacement.

    The last shipment of silver dollars – a reported 1 million pieces ordered by Heralds Club – occurred in 1964. The few silver dollars the casinos had on hand quickly walked out the door. One casino reported losing an astounding 45,000 coins a day before quitting the dollars.

    On Aug. 3, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation authorizing minting of some 45 million silver dollars. In mid-May, the Denver Mint produced 300,000-plus trial strikes. However, Congress, acting wisely for once, called a halt, and the coins were ordered destroyed.

    Not one is known to have survived the melt. Reports, though, periodically surface of survivors – including one that was supposedly given to Johnson.

    The casinos quickly found an alternative – issuing their own metal chips. The Franklin Mint eventually dominated that market.

    The story of the 1964-D Peace dollar has a postscript. In 2015 researchers including Q. David Bowers discovered among the Mint’s archived treasures the models, hubs and master dies for a 1964 Morgan dollar. No trial strikes are known to have been made from those dies. But wow, what a coin it would be.