Eisenhower Dollars (1971-1976)
Silver Eisenhower Dollars were struck by the United States Mint beginning in 1971 and running through 1974. They were again produced in conjunction with the bicentennial of the United States with dates of 1776-1976. The coins take their name from the fact that a portrait of General of the Army and President Dwight David Eisenhower is featured on the obverse.
Those Eisenhower Dollars minted in silver were composed from 40% of the precious metal for a total silver weight of 0.3161 ounces (current melt value information may be obtained by using the calculator in the right column). The strikes have a total weight of 24.59 grams and a diameter of 38.1 mm (1.5 inches).
Previous to the debut of the Eisenhower Dollars, a silver dollar had not been issued by the United States Mint since 1935 when the last Peace Dollar was struck. That gap would end, however, with plans in place to strike a new silver dollar which would feature a portrait of former President of the United States Dwight D. Eisenhower on the obverse and a reverse emblematic of man’s first landing on the moon.
Historical Eisenhower Dollar Silver Coin Melt Values
Both the obverse and reverse of the new coin were designed by Frank Gasparro, Chief Engraver of the United States Mint. The obverse showcased a left-facing portrait of Eisenhower surrounded by the inscriptions of “LIBERTY,” “IN GOD WE TRUST” and the year of minting.
The reverse was emblematic of the Apollo 11 insignia and included an eagle clutching an olive branch while landing on the moon. Reverse inscriptions include “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM” and “ONE DOLLAR.”
A special reverse was created for the Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollars which showed a Liberty Bell over an image of the moon. The special reverse was designed by David R. Williams.
Unlike previous releases, silver Eisenhower Dollars were only struck for collectors. Clad versions of the coin were struck for circulation. The 1971-1974 silver Eisenhower’s were produced solely at the United States Mint’s facility in San Francisco. Uncirculated versions were referred to as “Blue Ikes” since they shipped in a blue envelope. Proof Eisenhower’s were known as “Brown Ikes” as they came in brown boxes. The 1976 Bicentennial Eisenhower Silver Dollars were released only as part of a three-coin set which included 1976 versions of the quarter, half dollar, and dollar.
Clad versions of the coin continued to be struck by the U.S. Mint through 1978. The Eisenhower’s were then replaced with smaller Susan B. Anthony Dollars beginning in 1979.
Overlooked for many years, the Eisenhower Dollars have gained increased attention recently from collectors who are able to create complete sets relatively easily and inexpensively owing to their small run. Eisenhower Silver Dollars are also of value owing to the 0.3161 ounces of silver in each piece. This gives them a melt value approximately equal to that amount of silver on the open market.