1972 Eisenhower Dollar

Posted by Jay Turner, NGC Grader and Attributor on 4/1/2006

Among the most interesting issues of the Eisenhower "Ike" Dollar is the 1972 Philadelphia Mint Issue. The 1972 Ike Dollar comes in three distinct reverse types, with the 1972 Type 2 Dollar being the rarest and key date in the Eisenhower Dollar Series.

There are a handful of coins in our nation's history that never became popular circulating issues. The 20 Cent Piece is perhaps the most obvious candidate, but all late 20th Century efforts to issue a circulating dollar are soundly on this last. As time passes, however, coins unpopular in circulation gain favor with collectors. The Eisenhower Dollar is such a coin, now receiving considerable attention with collectors.

The Eisenhower Dollar came about to commemorate the former President Eisenhower, best known as a World War II hero and Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, and also for his role fostering the creation of NASA while President in 1958. After his death in 1969, Congressman Bob Casey of Texas proposed a coin that would commemorate both Eisenhower and the then recent Moon Landing.

Modern Coin of the Month The Eisenhower Dollar reverse, an adaptation of the Apollo 11 insignia. The blue box indicates the position of the detail close-ups of the earth, displayed below.
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Modern Coin of the MonthType 1. Note three islands to the right of Florida, and flatness from 8 to 11 o'clock.
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Modern Coin of the MonthType 2. Note overall low relief and absence of island shapes beneath Florida.
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Modern Coin of the Month Type 3. Islands appear beneath and to the left of Florida, and overall relief and detail is strengthened.
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Designed by Frank Gasparro, the obverse of the coin depicted the bust of the late President and the reverse featured an eagle landing on the moon, clasping an olive branch (an adaptation of the Apollo 11 insignia). The Bank Holding Act, signed into law by President Nixon in 1971, allowed for the Eisenhower Dollar to be struck. Production and release began that year.

While the Eisenhower Dollar is a short-lived eight year coin series, there are a total of over thirty different issues to entice the collector when all the various dates, mint marks, metal compositions, and major varieties are tallied. The key of the series is the 1972 Type 2. In 1972, the Philadelphia mint produced three distantly different hub varieties for the Eisenhower Dollar. They are as follows:

The Type 1 or low relief reverse type features the Earth with three islands falling to the right of Florida. In addition, the Earth is flat from 8 o'clock to 11 o'clock and the eagle's breast feathers are raised and distinct.

The Type 3 or "Normal" reverse shows a higher relief than the Type 1. This change is attributed the use of a new more resilient die steel. The Type 3 can be distinguished by the islands falling directly below Florida, and the eagle's breast feathers are smooth.

The Type 2 or "Proof" reverse has a completely different and unique appearance. The Earth has been flattened with little relief on North and South America. Instead of islands, incuse water lines hint at their appearance. Like the Type 3, the eagle's feathers are smooth.

Of the three types, Type 2 is the scarcest. NGC has graded 89 examples of the 1972 Type 2 Dollars, ranging from EF 45 to MS65. A Type 2 graded MS65 trades for a couple thousand dollars. By contrast, the Type 1 and Type 3 coins each trade for at least couple hundred dollars in MS65, with the Type 1 being slightly higher in value. The price differences illustrate the demand and scarcity of this coin. NGC now attributes the type on all 1972 Eisenhower Dollar s submitted for grading, and no VarietyPlus service fee is required.

The 1972 Type 2 Eisenhower Dollar is now a recognized key among modern coin enthusiasts, and as such it's a particularly deserving issue to be featured as our Modern Coin of the Month.

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