Coin Specifications

Category: Modern Commemoratives (1982-Date)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 2,747,116
Obverse Designer: Patricia L. Verani
Reverse Designer: Patricia L. Verani
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 26.7300g
ASW: 0.7734oz
Melt Value: $14.18 (2/27/2017)
Diameter: 38.1mm
Edge: Reeded
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1987 S CONSTITUT S$1 PF obverse 1987 S CONSTITUT S$1 PF reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

The Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island program was in full swing when Congress, on October 29, 1986, authorized the coining of silver dollars and gold half eagles to mark the bicentennial of the United States Constitution in 1987. Strictly speaking, this date marked the bicentennial of the drafting of the Constitution, since it was not fully ratified and effective until 1789.

Since all of the commemorative programs to date had been very successful in both achieving broad sales and painlessly raising funds for their sponsors, the mintage limits for the Constitution coins were set at unrealistically high levels—ten million silver dollars and one million half eagles. Surcharges included within the sale prices of these coins were directed toward reduction of the national debt, but even a complete sellout of the program would have been just a drop in the bucket. As it is, sales were less than anticipated, though still quite good when compared to some subsequent programs.

Both sides of the silver dollar were designed by sculptor Patricia Lewis Verani. The obverse features four leaves of parchment paper, over which are superimposed an antique quill pen and the words “We the People” in script. This famous phrase serves as the opening to the Constitution’s preamble. On the reverse appears a wedge formed by thirteen individuals, these representing the broad spectrum of classes and cultures that comprise the USA. A pair of three-link chains are used as stops between the legends, while the denomination appears awkwardly in two lines as DOLLAR 1. The artist’s initials ‘PV’ are to the right of the figural group, while the coin’s mintmark (‘P’ for Philadelphia and ‘S’ for San Francisco) is placed to the right of the parchment leaves.

Verani’s designs were not well received by the numismatic community. The figural group was compared to bowling pins, while the unimaginative treatment of the coin’s denomination was also singled out for criticism. The obverse imagery, while more appealing, was better suited to the reverse of the coin. In fact, it was the reverse before being swapped at the insistence of the Treasury Department. Ultimately, it was only the exhilaration that still lingered over the novelty of modern commemoratives that pushed sales as high as they went.

The gold half eagle, or five-dollar piece, was far more successful artistically, though its higher issue price than that of the dollar naturally limited sales. It was the work of Marcel Jovine, whose name would figure prominently in several succeeding commemorative programs. Both sides of this coin display a quill pen, the obverse showing it grasped within the talons of the American eagle, while the reverse presents it heraldically in a vertical position. Superimposed over this feather on the reverse are the words WE THE PEOPLE in script, while the date SEPT 17 1787 is to the left of the quill, this being the date on which the Constitution was approved for ratification by the states’ representatives. The balance of both sides is occupied by statutory inscriptions. The West Point mintmark (‘W’) is above the word CONSTITUTION on the reverse, while the monogrammed initials of Marcel Jovine appear upon one of the eagle’s feathers at lower right on the obverse.

As with all previous programs in the modern commemorative series, each of the coins was offered in both uncirculated and proof editions. The uncirculated silver dollars were coined at Philadelphia, the proofs at San Francisco. As was becoming customary for gold commemoratives, both versions of the half eagle were struck at West Point. The sales spread for this program conforms to that of most modern USA commemoratives, with the proof pieces greatly outselling the uncirculated coins. All four options, however, sold well enough that none of the coins are rare in average condition. The Constitution Bicentennial Silver Dollar was also included in that year’s Prestige Proof Set, which featured it as a supplement to the regular line-up of cent through half dollar.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 11/2/2016

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1987 S CONSTITUT S$1 PF Ultra Cameo
Base $ - - - - - - - - - 19.00 20.00 21.00 22.00 26.50 28.75 30.00 31.00 33.75 40.00 135

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Total Graded: 5870
Low Grade: 64
Average Grade: 68
High Grade: 70

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
11/24/2004 PCGS PF 69   Ultra Cameo Teletrade Auction 1966, 1966/Lot# 1714 $26.00
10/22/2007 NGC PF 69   Ultra Cameo David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 188, 194/Lot# 9105 $13.80
4/26/2009 PCGS PF 67   Ultra Cameo Teletrade Auction 2684, 2684/Lot# 2309 $23.00
11/3/2011 PCGS PF 70   Ultra Cameo Heritage Auctions Thursday Modern Coin Auctions Session(1), 241145/Lot# 16221 $138.00
1/12/2012 PCGS PF 70   Ultra Cameo Heritage Auctions Thursday Modern Coin Auctions Session(1), 241203/Lot# 18316 $126.50
2/26/2012 NGC PF 69   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 02/26/2012, 9/Lot# 36413 $35.12
11/24/2013 PCGS PF 69   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 11/24/2013, 102/Lot# 45237 $35.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1987 S CONSTITUT S$1 PF
1987 S CONSTITUT S$1 PF Cameo
1987 S CONSTITUT S$1 PF Ultra Cameo
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: PF 70 UC
Points: 925
Owner: Beijim
Grade: PF 70 UC
Points: 925
Owner: Bruce Laquster
View the Registry Image Gallery

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Conservation Showcase: Proof 1987-S Constitution $1

7/5/2010 — A recent example from our conservation laboratory.
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