Coin Specifications

Category: Modern Commemoratives (1982-Date)
Mint: West Point
Mintage: 241,669
Catalog: KM-227
Obverse Designer: John Mercanti
Reverse Designer: Marcel Jovine and John Mercanti
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 26.7300g
ASW: 0.7734oz
Melt Value: $12.14 (10/5/2015)
Diameter: 38.1mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1990 W EISENHOWER S$1 MS obverse 1990 W EISENHOWER S$1 MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

Though he had been honored with a circulating dollar coin from 1971 through 1978, Dwight David Eisenhower remained a popular figure in the minds of Americans, especially during the presidential administration of fellow Republican Ronald Reagan. Thus it was that Ike was slated to reappear on a commemorative silver dollar in 1990 that marked the centennial of his birth. This bill was signed into law by Reagan on October 3, 1988.

This coin honors the dual careers that Eisenhower enjoyed in his lifetime. The obverse by U. S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver John Mercanti features conjoined, opposite facing portraits of Ike that symbolize him as a man of achievement in both war and peace. In correct heraldic fashion the portrait of the civilian President of the United States (1953-61) is superimposed over that of the military Allied Supreme Commander (1942-45). Above the bust is the legend “EISENHOWER CENTENNIAL,” while below are the dual dates 1890•1990. The portraits are flanked by statutory inscriptions, and the mintmark is centered beneath “LIBERTY.” Mercanti’s initials are placed inconspicuously at the truncation of the civilian bust.

The reverse by sculptor Marcel Jovine features a perspective view of Eisenhower’s retirement home in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, though its location is not noted on the coin. A view of his birthplace home would have been more meaningful, but was evidently not as conducive to tourism. The balance of the coin is comprised of purely statutory inscriptions. Jovine’s initials are worked into the shrubbery at far right, though the actual production model for this coin’s reverse was sculpted by Chester Y. Martin of the U. S. Mint.

As with most U. S. commemorative coin programs during the late 1980s and early ‘90s, there were charges of favoritism in the design selection process. The Mint’s own staffers, in particular, complained that they were compelled to identify their submissions, while outside artists could label them by numbers alone. With most of the winners being outsiders, there was a gradual drop-off in participation by Mint engravers, though it was still they who had to translate the selected designs into useable models. Among the Mint staff, only John Mercanti seemed to enjoy desirable status at the time, and Mint Director Donna Pope came under some criticism for her transparent favoritism toward him. Though it in no way diminished the excellent quality of his work, it did create hard feelings among the Mint’s other artists, most notably Chief Sculptor-Engraver Elizabeth Jones, who left shortly after the Eisenhower Centennial program.

Proofs of this coin were produced at the Philadelphia Mint (‘P’ mintmark), and they were promoted as being from the same state as the house depicted on the coin. The uncirculated pieces were struck at West Point (‘W’ mintmark). While it was quite unusual to make non-gold commemoratives at West Point, this mint was chosen due to its being on the grounds of the U. S. Military Academy, where Ike’s military career had commenced.

The ordering period opened January 15, 1990, with pre-sale prices of $23 for the uncirculated dollar and $25 for the proof edition. The Eisenhower Centennial Dollar was also included in that year’s Prestige Proof Set at $42 during the pre-order period. From March 1 onward, these prices rose to $26, $29 and $46, respectively.

The authorizing law for this coin provided for the coining of up to four million pieces, though it was becoming apparent by 1988 that such mintages were optimistic for any coin sold at a premium above face value. Nevertheless, this coin was successful from a sales standpoint, with over a million proofs being sold and just under a quarter million uncirculated examples being ordered.

The vast sales to veterans anticipated by the bill’s sponsors never materialized, and this reinforced a pattern common to most commemorative coin programs. The buyers of such coins, regardless of the subject matter, are almost solely coin collectors. Even today this truism is not understood by Congress or by the sponsors of commemorative coin programs, but it is routinely worked into the sales pitch for getting a particular bill passed.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 9/26/2014

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Base $ - - - - - - - - - 20.00 21.00 22.00 26.50 28.75 30.00 31.00 33.75 38.75 185

The World Coin Price Guide is independently compiled by Krause Publications’ NumisMaster. NGC makes this information available to its website visitors as a free service, but in no way does the information provided represent NGC’s official opinion or policy. For example, varieties listed in the World Coin Price Guide may not necessarily be recognized by NGC. Please contact NGC Customer Service with any questions.

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Total Graded: 2149
Low Grade: 65
Average Grade: 69
High Grade: 70

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
3/27/2006 NGC MS 70   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 80, 85/Lot# 1178 $172.50
6/24/2007 PCGS MS 69   Teletrade Auction 2385, 2385/Lot# 1961 $38.00
1/1/2012 NGC MS 70   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131202/Lot# 20578 $126.50
1/19/2012 NGC MS 69   Heritage Auctions Thursday Modern Coin Auctions Session(1), 241204/Lot# 19399 $30.00
5/13/2012 PCGS MS 69   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 05/13/2012, 22/Lot# 44580 $40.00
5/13/2012 PCGS MS 68   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131221/Lot# 28607 $21.00
8/19/2012 NGC MS 69   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 08/19/2012, 36/Lot# 37003 $36.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1990 W EISENHOWER S$1 MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 70
Points: 653
Owner: BODIN
Grade: MS 70
Points: 653
Owner: Bruce Laquster
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