From the Grading Room: 1973 S Dollar on a Copper-Nickel Planchet

Posted on 8/28/2008

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Coins accidentally struck on planchets intended for other issues are known for quite a number of United States coin types, but they are rarely more spectacular than when occurring with dollar coins. This superb gem Eisenhower Dollar was struck at the San Francisco Mint for inclusion in the series of “blue pack” silver-clad dollars offered by the US Mint at $3 apiece from 1971 to 1974. At first glance it could almost pass for one of these silver-clad pieces, but inspection of its edge (made all the more easy through NGC’s unique EdgeView™ holder) reveals the bright orange-red glow of a copper-nickel-clad planchet! This coin has the satiny texture typical of most silver-clad dollars and confirms that it was struck accidentally as part of that series.

The Denver Mint was assigned the role of preparing planchets for San Francisco’s production of the “blue” Ikes, but it was simultaneously making planchets of the copper-nickel-clad composition for its own press run of circulating coins. One of these ordinary planchets evidently found its way into a shipment of silver-clad planchets going to San Francisco and was struck and packaged as a silver-clad issue. While this scenario describes how such an error could have occurred, it did not play out very often. This is the first report of a 1973 S Dollar struck on a copper-nickel planchet.

If that weren’t enough to excite collectors, this coin is also a doubled-die obverse variety! It is DDO-2, as listed and illustrated in the book CONECA Attribution Guide to Eisenhower Dollar Die Varieties by James Wiles, Ph.D. This variety, previously known only in the normal silver-clad composition, is now confirmed on a copper-nickel-clad planchet intended for currency strikes. Collectors should check their “blue packs” for more new discoveries.

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