ZanzibarCoins's Blog

28 Aug 2019

The Eisenhower Dollar Part Three

Young Numismatists Exchange | ZanzibarCoins

All right! I'm back again, and this time with part three of the blog series. The second to last post in my series on the Eisenhower dollar coin. This post will cover the bicentennial issue. I know that I said that part three would cover both the bicentennial issue and the last years of the coins' production, and then its replacement, but I had to change that. :) I wrote the whole thing out, and then realized that it was way too long for one single blog, so I split it in half. :) The two parts will be put up one directly after another though, since I wrote the whole thing out as one, and then split it up. I hope you guys enjoy it! :) Let's begin!

All right, the bicentennial issue. :) And, just in case you don't know, although I'm sure you all do :), I did not skip a year here. I took the coin through 1974 in the last post, and now I'm starting with the bicentennial issue. Well, our bicentennial was in 1976. However, the bicentennial issue was minted in both 1975 and 1976, both bearing the double date of 1776-1976. This was the case with all of the coins. Therefore, no coins were minted bearing the date of 1975 (sorry if you were born in 1975, no mint set for you). :) Between 1892 and 1954, the US had issued commemorative coins, usually as a means for fundraising, for organizations that were deemed worthy of federal support. The way it worked was this: A sponsoring organization would be designated in the authorizing legislation. They were then able to buy up the commems at face value, and then sell them to the public at a premium, and then pocket the difference. However, after various problems with this system, and complaints that public coins should not be used for private profit, the Treasury Department began to oppose the commems, and so none were minted after 1954. However, the American Revolutionary Bicentennial Commission (ARBC), which was established by Congress in the year of 1966 as a group to oversee "preparations" for the Bicentennial that was a decade away. In 1970, the group's coins and medals advisory committee recommended that the Mint issue a special half dollar. Subsequently, the committee sought the temporary redesign of all circulating American coins. Initially, both Mary Brooks and the Mint opposed the legislation that would effect these proposals. Eventually, however, Brooks ended up supporting the legislation to redesign the reverses of the quarter, half dollar and dollar coins, and also to issue special collector's sets in a silver clad composition. The legislation that authorized this was signed by President Nixon on October 18th of 1973. According to the legislation, the coins of these denominations that were minted for delivery after July 4, 1975 and before December 31, 1976 would not only have specially designed reverses, but they would also be dated 1776-1976. Also, a total of 15 million sets (45 million coins) would be struck in silver clad for sale to the public.

The special reverse designs for the three Bicentennial coins were determined by a design competition open to the public. The competition closed in January 1974, and in March, a design for the dollar was chosen. It was submitted by 22-year-old art student Dennis R. Williams, who was the youngest person to design a U.S. coin up to that point. He had submitted a design featuring the Liberty Bell, superimposed against the Moon. Gasparro slightly modified the design, and then Williams operated the press to strike the first coins on August 12, 1974; a set of these prototypes was later given to the new president, Gerald Ford. Williams' design was well-liked by the public, although it did attract some criticism from numismatists because the Liberty Bell had been used on coinage before. Interestingly, the Mint feared that a low-mintage 1975 piece would be hoarded by collectors, they obtained legislation, in December of 1974, that would allow it to continue coining pieces dated 1974 until it began the coinage of Bicentennial pieces.

Of the three denominations to be struck for public distribution, the Bicentennial dollar coin was the first. Coinage of these began in February of 1975. On April 23rd of 1975, mintage of the silver coins began, in San Francisco. Then the Mint found a problem. The copper nickel dollar was striking poorly, which was a problem they didn't have with the silver pieces. Brooks called a halt in production to allow Gasparro to modify the dies. This is where the Type II dollar came from. This revised edition has narrower, sharper lettering on the reverse. (All silver pieces, which were struck only at San Francisco, are Type I. All three mints struck both Type I and Type II copper nickel pieces. All dollars included in 1975 proof sets are Type I; all those included in 1976 proof sets are Type II.) On October 13, 1975, the first Bicentennial dollars were released into circulation. Over 220 million were struck. The Bicentennial design was not used again after 1976, although sets of silver clad Bicentennial coins were sold by the Mint until the sales finally closed at the end of 1986.

The last part of the series will be put up in just a second, once I give it a title, lol. Stay tuned! :)


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



Level 6

Good job with your research! I really enjoyed your blog!


Level 5

Good Job Z'Bar, you are both learning and teaching at the same time. I enjoy your blogs.

Mike B

Level 6

I think I missed this one. Good research kept me interested. I bought a book before I went after the set. I hate the fact that it's not appreciated as much as it should. The big boys determined that not us. I know this because people are still collecting them. I saw two 70's that has not happens in years.


Level 6

Very well done. Great research and a bibliography too.. Finally some one gets it.. I learned some things from your work. Thanks. On to the second part..

interesting, thanks for your research

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