Usually, when you think of really collectable coins, the humble Eisenhower Dollar isn’t on our list for some reason. Often, the term collectable is associated with old coins or the new commemorative coins such as State Quarters or the new designs of the Jefferson Nickel leaving poor Ike out in the cold. Afterall, the coin is not 90% silver, there are no real key dates and they are plentiful even in uncirculated straight from the mint condition at extremely reasonable cost.
So, why even bother writing an article about a coin that doesn’t seem to hold much interest you ask? The answer is simple.
There was a time when Morgan Dollars were not considered worthy of collecting either and now they are one of the most popular coins that you can collect in excellent condition for reasonable cost depending on what your perspective of reasonable that is.
For that reason, since the Eisenhower Dollar is readily available, since it is extremely reasonably priced, it would take very little effort to complete a Eisenhower Dollar collection and a completed collection in any coin is worth having.
The Eisenhower Dollar was minted from 1971 to 1978 after a five year ban on Silver Dollars. The idea came about to honor President Dwight D. Eisenhower on a dollar coin who had recently died at the time the coin was proposed.
There was some political wrangling about the design of the coin. A bill was introduced in 1969 to make a commemorative coin marking the moon landing along with the Eisenhower design. The wrangling lasted for more than a year before a compromise was reached and both were commemorated.
The Eisenhower Dollar was designed by Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro. His design portrays on the obverse (front) a bare-headed, left-facing profile bust of the late president. Arranged in an arc above him is the legend LIBERTY, while the motto IN GOD WE TRUST appears in two lines below Eisenhower’s chin. The date is at bottom, with the mintmark (if any) above it and to the right. Gasparro’s initials FG are on the truncation of the bust. The reverse depicts the American eagle, an olive branch of peace in its talons, descending onto the moon. The distant Earth is in the field above and to the left. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM is centered above the eagle, and the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is arranged in an arc around the upper periphery. The value ONE DOLLAR is superimposed on the moon’s surface along the lower periphery. An arc of small stars surrounds the eagle, Earth and the motto. The initials FG appear below the eagle’s tail.
The first coins were not ready until November 1, 1971 and collectors snapped up a good portion of these coins being so late in the year and the 1972’s were ready to be minted. Despite that, 1971’s are still readily available. Enough of the 1971’s were minted to reveal that the public still didn’t really want to carry around heavy dollar coins. The mint then significantly dropped off the minting of the remaining years and the 1973 series only minted enough to fulfill orders for uncirculated sets for collectors. This left a net mintage of less than 2 million each for the Philadelphia and Denver Mints.
The upcoming Bicentennial resulted in a competition for commemorative designs to grace the reverses of the quarter, half and dollar, respectively. The winning design for the dollar’s reverse was submitted by Dennis R. Williams, whose design was of the Liberty Bell superimposed on the moon. His initials are found to the right of the bell’s clapper. The regular dollar coinage dated 1974 continued until the middle of 1975, when production of the new Bicentennial designs dated 1776-1976 began. This left no dollar coins dated 1975. The Bicentennial pieces were first released in the fall of 1975, and their mintage continued through the following year. The regular design was again minted in 1977 and 1978. For the last two years of minting, there is no silver in the Ike Dollar. It was terminated due to the smaller dollar known as the Susan B. Anthony which turned out to be extremely unpopular.
There are no rare dates within the regular coinage of Eisenhower dollars. However, 1971 and 1972 dollars from the Philadelphia Mint were poorly made and are more difficult to locate than other years. A small quantity of silver-clad dollars were made at the Denver Mint in error and may be found dated 1974-D, 1976-D or 1977-D.
Diameter: 38.1 millimeters Weight: 24.59 grams (silver-clad) Composition: .800 silver, .200 copper bonded to .209 silver, .791 copper Net Weight: .3161 ounce pure silver Weight: 22.68 grams (CuNi-clad) Composition: .750 copper, .250 nickel bonded to pure copper Edge: Reeded