Anyone from the United States of America has a special connection to July 4 each and every year. More than just a day for picnics and fireworks it is a celebration of the birth of a country and a new political system.
The conviction of our Founding Fathers, in face of British retaliation, forfeited their wealth and security in exchange for liberty. Their actions have provided the freedoms & rights enjoyed by one and all Americans of today.
Their sacrifice obviously did not go unnoticed nor appreciated as we celebrate their actions every year on the 4th of July. So momentous in U.S. history the moment is even captured on coinage.
On October 1973, President Nixon signed the Bicentennial coinage design legislation and the search for new designs began when the Department of the Treasury presented an award of $5,000 for the winners of a national competition for reverse designs for quarter, half and dollar coins.
By March of 1974, reverse designs were selected and the U.S. Mint released three newly designed coins emblematic of the Bicentennial of the American Revolution beginning July 4, 1975 and ending in 1976.
The Bicentennial Dollar features the original Frank Gasparro obverse design with only a change to carry a dual date to mark the Bicentennial (1776-1976) where the date is separated by a dot and the designer's initials FG were added to the bottom on the bust. The dual date was used for both years of mintage (1975 & 1976) and there is no way of determining if a coin was from 1975 or 1976. A mint mark for Denver (D) or San Francisco (S) issues can be found just below the bust design. Note: There were no mint marks for Philadelphia issues.
The reverse design and one of three winners of the reverse design competition was Dennis R. Williams. The reverse design features the Liberty Bell extending over the moon. To the right of the moon are the words E PLURIBUS UNUM. and just below the bell are the designer's initials DRW. On the outer periphery are the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and ONE DOLLAR with each phrase separated by a star.
Type 1 coins, referred to as Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollars, were issued by the Philadelphia & Denver mints in 1975 & 1976 displaying the date of 1776/1976 and were made of a copper/nickel composition. Additional features included a new reverse that was designed by Dennis Williams and shows the Liberty Bell in front of the moon.
Type 2 coins were also Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollars and were issued by the San Francisco mint but in a silver clad composition.
Varieties exist within the Bicentennial coins. Dollars produced in 1975 featured a thick font for the words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" (known as variety 1). Dollars produced in 1976 featured a more refined and thinner font for the words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" (known as variety 2).
|Thick Font||Thinner Font|
General Market Notes
Even with the varieties considered prices are still affordable. The only area where Eisenhower dollars carry a premium is at the high end mint state grade of 66 or higher. Most of the Philadelphia and Denver issues had weak strikes and typically grade no higher than MS65. Because the population is low for coins carrying the grade of MS66 or higher there is a significant price jump.