NGC Certifies Rare Proof Type 1 Reverse 1971-S Ike Dollar
Posted on 4/16/2013
In the fall of 1971 collectors eagerly anticipated delivery of their silver-clad Proof Eisenhower Dollars from the US Mint. Each buyer had paid a whopping $10 per coin, a figure that was quite controversial at the time and is hard to translate into 2013 dollars. Even so, the Mint sold more than four million of the 1971-S silver-clad Proofs, and recipients were pleased with both the coins and their attractive packaging.
The Mint had a steep learning curve with Frank Gasparro’s design, the reverse being particularly difficult to translate into hubs and dies that would produce a complete rendering of his models. Because the first reverse hub was found to be deficient in striking the circulating 1971(P) and 1971-D dollars and the Uncirculated silver-clad 1971-S pieces, the Engraving Department created a second reverse that featured sharpened details. Dies taken from this improved hub were used to strike all of 1971’s proofs—or so we thought until quite recently. But now a small number of Proofs have been found having the first, or Type 1, reverse, and NGC has certified one of these as PF 68 Ultra Cameo. The coin is still sealed in its original US Mint holder.
Type 1 is easily distinguished from the common Proof edition having the Type 2 reverse by its shallow, sunken rendering of Earth and by the lack of an outline behind the Moon crater above letters LL of DOLLAR.
In addition, this die marriage features a doubled-die obverse (DDO-001 in the CONECA Master List) which is seen as doubling in the date and the motto IN GOD WE TRUST.
Though an interesting coincidence, this obverse variety adds little to the coin’s value, as it is the Type 1 reverse which makes it so rare. NGC has acknowledged both the obverse and reverse varieties in its grading label and has assigned the number VP-003 to this die marriage. The letters VP are short for VarietyPlus®, NGC’s own trademarked variety recognition system for United States coinage. Because the reverse variety is so new to the hobby, it does not yet appear in The Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties of United States Coins, but it’s a likely candidate for inclusion in a future edition.
Eisenhower Dollar specialists have been actively searching for the Type 1 1971-S Proof Dollar since its discovery, and there exists the possibility that a few more may surface as the variety becomes better known to the hobby. There is some speculation that the Type 1 Proofs may have been included in the coins distributed to VIPs during ceremonies that preceded the general release to collectors, but this theory awaits further research.