Designed by Frank Gasparro, the Eisenhower dollar (or commonly referred to as the Ike Dollar by collectors) was produced from 1971 to 1978. There was a special break in the series during 1975 & 1976 to celebrate the Bicentennial of the United States. Coins produced during 1975 & 1976 are commonly referred to as Bicentennial Dollars.
The obverse design for the coin was based on a fond and lasting recollection of strength and character when Gasparro first saw Eisenhower in a 1945 parade in New York City. Also appearing on the obverse are the word "LIBERTY" and the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST". Located just below the portrait of Eisenhower is the Mint Mark, "D" for Denver or "S" for San Francisco. (note: Philadelphia issues carried no mint marks).
The reverse was a some what political design more than it was an artistic rendition. An amendment to the coinage bill, first introduced by Representative Bob Casey (D. Tex.), provided that the reverse design be symbolic of the Apollo 11 flight honoring the exploits of our country’s astronauts and the first landing on the moon.
Congress deemed the Apollo 11 insignia particularly appropriate for the Eisenhower coin because the space program began under the administration of President Eisenhower. The Apollo 11 spaceship, christened “The Eagle,” landed on Tranquillity Base on July 21, 1969. The majestic bird swooping in for a landing was adopted to represent the Apollo 11 mission.
The Apollo 11 insignia shows the bald eagle landing on the crater-pocked surface of the moon, an olive branch clutched in both claws. The receding earth appears above the eagle’s head and below the motto “E Pluribus Unum,” required by statute on all U.S. coins. The 13 stars represent the first states of the Union. Circling the coin are the words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and "ONE DOLLAR". The designer’s initials, "F.G." appear at the right below the eagle’s tail feathers.
Throughout the series there were no design changes but there were two different metal compositions providing collectors with two type coins:
Type 1 - coins consist of a copper/nickel composition and were issued by the Philadelphia & Denver mints from 1971 to 1974, and again from 1977 to 1978.
Type 2 - coins consist of silver clad composition and were issued by the San Francisco mint from 1971 to 1974.
In addition to the type coins, there were two varieties.
Varieties exist within Type 1 & 2 coins for 1972 issues. Different reverse dies were used on circulating issues which ended up producing three variations to the "receding earth" seen in the background of the design (referred to as varieties 1, 2, & 3). Variety 1 is referred to as "Low Relief Earth", Variety 2 is referred to as "High Relief Earth", and Variety 3 is referred to as "Improved High Relief Earth"
|Low Relief Earth||High Relief Earth||Improved High Relief Earth|
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.