Do you have any of those old “Ike” dollars gathering dust in a shoebox somewhere? You might be interested in learning more about the value of those 1972 silver dollars.
The Eisenhower dollar series was originally conceived to commemorate the late President Dwight D. Eisenhower, with the first U.S. coins actually being produced in 1971.
Coins in Public Circulation
All of the dollar coins that were produced for public circulation were originally produced on a copper-nickel planchet. This is the same device used for U.S. quarters, dimes, and half dollars. A few special Eisenhower dollars were composed of a 40% silver alloy, and these were sold to coin collectors by the United States Mint for a small premium.
In 1972, the United States Mint produced copper-nickel coins for circulation at two mint branches, Denver and Philadelphia. Denver mint coins can be identified by the small 'D' mintmark that is directly above the date on the coin.
These types of coins are common, and most of them are worth only one dollar (or maybe two) in any condition. Just how much is generally dependent on a few external factors, such as the rarity of the coin.
Rare Eisenhower Dollars
Most Eisenhower dollars have become readily available across large swaths of the country and this is one reason they are often worth little more than their face value of a dollar. Eisenhower dollar values can be hard to discern at times.
However, there are certainly a few more valuable coins that can be well worth keeping an eye out for. Coins produced by the Philadelphia mint can be identified by their lack of a mintmark. Even though most of these coins can also be very common, there is one notable 1972 Philadelphia variety with a greater value.
This rare 1972 Type 2 design variety can be worth more than $40 in all conditions. Type 2 dollars show more details of the Earth on the reverse (or tails) side as opposed to the obverse (or heads) side. Next to the outline of Florida, there are no distinguishable islands on these coins.
However, you’ll find visible and distinct Caribbean islands in the sea among the less valuable Type 1 and Type 2 1972 dollars. The Type 2 design is rough and undefined, with a barely distinguishable outline of the east coast. Look for the small dots or islands off the coast of Florida on the Type 1 and Type 3 designs. They can be a little hard to make out, so be sure to use a magnifying glass or a jeweler’s loupe to confirm your coin’s design.
Much of this design was conceived by Frank Gasparro, the tenth Chief Engraver of the United States Mint. Gasparro’s coin designs also include the presidential coat of arms on the Kennedy half dollar, certain liberty coins, the Susan B. Anthony dollar, and many other medals, gold coins, and commemorative coins that remain collectors’ pieces to this day.
Keep in mind that copper-nickel coins like the one we’ve described can sometimes command a premium price as the rare 1972 Type 2 design variety with no mintmark. As mentioned above, these coins can be quite valuable. No other years in the Eisenhower Silver Dollar series except for the 1972-S Eisenhower dollar coins feature the rare Type 2 design.
There are no real other rarities within the series. Proof Eisenhower dollars, which are often uncirculated, can be interesting but not always very valuable. These are the Ike dollars produced by the United States Mint with mirrored surfaces and sold to coin collectors.
Coins like these are mostly only worth a small premium, a little higher than their face value. But the lack of key dates does mean that a handsome proof set of Eisenhower Dollars can be easily compiled by many coin collectors, no matter what type of budget they have set.
Always be sure not to confuse these coins with the Morgan Silver Dollar (1878-1921), which was in circulation longer than any other silver dollar coins. For coin collectors, the goal is always to find a group of coins that have been well-preserved over the years. With many Morgan Silver Dollar being more than 100 years old, it is not very common to find them, but always be on the lookout when you are going through your coins!
While all of the Ike dollars that were originally intended for general circulation were struck with copper and nickel, a few S-mintmark coins (produced at the San Francisco mint) were also struck by the U.S. Mint for coin collectors in 40% silver (so each of these coins contained a third of an ounce of pure silver).
However, not all of these S-mint dollars were silver, because the 1977-S and 1978-S Eisenhower dollars were both produced with copper and nickel. The actual silver coins can be identified by their lighter color. A simple way to test your coin is by using the tissue test.
If you place a facial tissue on top of your dollar coin, notice whether the color that shines through is darker or lighter than the color from another coin. Lighter coins contain more silver, and darker ones contain more copper and nickel.
A Few Other Important Factors
Even though many valuable coins are rare, the order of coin values doesn’t always correspond with how rare the individual coins are. For example, some coins are not as widely collected, and so the dollar worth of those types of coins is generally a bit lower.
And even though mintage numbers can be important, they don’t tell the full story either. So many types of coinage that were once minted just don’t even survive in circulation in the United States of America, for a wide variety of reasons.
For example, the coin’s overall condition can be very important in terms of its value. Well-preserved coins can have much higher values in the numismatic world of coin collecting than similar coins with a great deal of wear and tear or general damage. Damaged coins are sometimes only worth their face value to most coin dealers, even if they are really old coins.
Finally, always keep in mind that some mint years will be more valuable than others, and the minting location may also be an important factor to consider in the worth of a certain coin. This is especially true in the case of the Eisenhower dollar varieties that we have described above.