This 1922-dated high relief Peace dollar combines the new high relief obverse, as adapted by mint engraver George Morgan, with the standard reverse of 1921. A side-by-side comparison with the 1922 high relief proofs confirms that although the obverses are the same, the two reverses are completely different with length of the rays through the N in One, and also the the ones under the P and R in Pluribus being longer on the 1922 reverse as shown below.
Following the failure of the original 1921 high relief design to strike up properly using production presses, mint engraver George Morgan began work on a modified obverse. In addition to slightly reducing relief, he also remodeled the portrait and lettering to improve definition. Evidently, Morgan felt this version would be successful because he shipped working dies to both Denver and San Francisco Mints. Trial production was conducted between January 2 and 10, 1922 during which approximately 35,401 pieces were made on normal production presses.
One or more samples were evidently sent to Mint Headquarters in Washington, and soon thereafter acting director Mary O’Reilley stopped the trials. Archive documentation indicates the results were no better – and possibly worse – than in 1921. Nearly all of The trial pieces were later destroyed.
The illustrated example was offered in Stack’s sale of November 18, 2008 as lot 3865. This piece was likely one of the samples sent to Washington and eventually entered circulation. The weak central devices are consistent with 1921 examples intended for circulation. A second example, lot 1345, from Mint Director Raymond T Baker's estate, was in I&L Goldberg's 6/14 sale with the following notation on its envelope.
INDICATOR REGISTERED / 104,001 PIECES STRUCK / WHEN THIS COIN TAKEN / RAYMOND T. BAKER / SEC. OF TREASURY 1922.
This piece was reoffered in StacksBowers 8/15 ANA sale and a third, heavily circulated (VF) and polished example was offered in Heritage 8/15 ANA sale.
This pattern design variation was first identified by numismatist David W. Lange in 2007. A more extensive description will be found in A Guide Book of Peace Dollars (Whitman Publishing LLC. 2008).
As this design predates the recently discovered medium relief J2020, we are calling it Judd-2018.
Photo courtesy of Stacks.