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28 Aug 2019

The Eisenhower Dollar Part Four

Young Numismatists Exchange | ZanzibarCoins

And here is the final post in my Eisenhower dollar coin series! This last post will cover the coin’s last years of production, and then its replacement with the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin. Enjoy!

And now, the final years of the Eisenhower dollar’s production, 1977-1978. The Treasury actually began to be concerned by the drain on their resources from striking the dollar, which still did not really circulate, all the way back in 1975. They engaged a private firm to study the six current denominations of US coinage, and then make recommendations. The firm came up with the conclusion that the Eisenhower dollar was too large, and too heavy, to circulate effectively. They recommended that the Mint reduce the diameter by about a third, and then reduce the weight by about two-thirds. The report found that "the Eisenhower dollar has not been widely accepted by the public because of its large size and weight”.

In January of 1977, just before he left the office, Ford’s Treasury Secretary, William E. Simon, actually proposed the elimination of both the cent and the half dollar, and a major reduction in the size of the dollar coin. According to Q. David Bowers, the Treasury had come to believe that a coin as large as the Eisenhower dollar simply would not circulate in the United States. So the Mint began to make pattern pieces of smaller dollars, with various shapes and compositions. An 11-sided coin was actually considered, and that would have definitely made sure that it differentiated from the quarter, but the 11-sided pattern did not work with vending machines. Exotic metals, such as titanium were even considered before the Mint decided on the standard clad composition. Gasparro prepared a design with Liberty, with flowing hair, for the circulating pieces. As the Eisenhower dollar was approaching the year of its demise, approximately 50 million were struck, with the eagle design on the reverse. In both years, the majority were coined at Denver, no silver collector’s edition was minted, and the blue and brown Ikes were not minted at all, having ended in 1974.

Gasparro's new design was presented before Congress, but the Senator of Wisconsin, William Proxmire, refused to introduce the bill, because it would have left the choice of the design up to Michael Blumenthal (the new Treasury Secretary), or his successor. Instead, Proxmire introduced his own legislation for the coin, to commemorate Susan B. Anthony, an early women's rights leader. Many of the new Congress members, and many in the Carter Administration were social progressives, and they supported the women’s liberation movement. Mary Rose Oakar, Ohio’s Rep, also introduced legislation for a Susan B. Anthony dollar coin, in October of 1978. The legislation proceeded rapidly through Congress, and it was signed by President Jimmy Carter. Gasparro was given photographs of Anthony and he was told to reproduce her appearance exactly on the coin. Ironically enough, Anthony’s stern expression caused some to dub it the "Susan B. Agony" dollar. Gasparro used the Eisenhower dollar's reverse for the Anthony dollar. The Mint was convinced that the public would hoard the new coins, half a billion of the new coin was minted before its official release to the public, which was on July 2nd of 1979. They needn’t have worried though, the public quickly rejected the new coin because it was too close in size and weight to the quarter dollar. Production for circulation ceased after 1980. Mint Director Stella Hackel Sims said, "people are accustomed to the Eisenhower dollar, but in time, they'll become accustomed to the Susan". But this was not true, it turned out. Attempts were made to give the new smaller dollars out as change in postal transactions, and to force their use by U.S. military personnel in Europe, but both failed. I hope you guys have enjoyed this series on the Eisenhower Dollar Coin! I certainly have enjoyed writing it!! I should have another blog post up sooner or later. :) Until then! :)

Bibliography: (again, basically the same as last time, but here you go) :)

Eisenhower Dollar - Wikipedia,

The Red Book,2018 edition,

Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia- Q. David Bowers,

Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins- Walter Breen,

Coin World Almanac,

The Authoritative Reference on Eisenhower Dollars-John Wexler; Bill Crawford; Kevin Flynn,

A Guide Book of United States Coins 2014 - R.S Yeoman

Comments

Kepi

Level 6

Great research! Thanks for all your work!

"Susan B. Agony' : It fits. For the true artist he was, Frank Gasparro got kicked around during his time as chief engraver - having to do stuff he knew was doomed to fail. There are really FOUR different Eisenhower Dollars when you look at it: The 1971-78 38mm ike's, the 2015 mini-presidential Ike dollar, the 1990 Eisenhower centennial dollar, and the 2013 5-Star Generals dollar. I like all Ike's.

Just Mokie

Level 5

I think I hate William Proxmire. LOL

Longstrider

Level 6

What I said on your first one. Very good job..

Pat

Level 6

I like the reserch. But I wonder if you were going to the store what would be heaver twenty Susan B Anthony or ten Eike 's. Yes there smaller but take up more room and the store owner would need a hand crypt at the end of the day. That's why it never took of. I like the coin but not for regular commerce. I also like the Eisenhower set. Good blog. Good work.

again, great research, thanks! looking forward to the next blog/blog series

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