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Eisenhower Dollar (1971-1978)

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1974 Eisenhower Dollar BU Uncirculated Clad IKE $1 Coin1974 Eisenhower Dollar BU Uncirculated Clad IKE $1 Coin

Eisenhower Dollar (1971-1978): A Brief History

Eisenhower dollars were a series of dollar coins minted by the United States government from 1971 to 1978. They were named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who served as the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. The coins were issued to commemorate Eisenhower's contributions to the nation.  

The obverse (front) of the coin features a portrait of President Eisenhower, while the reverse (back) features an adaptation of the official Apollo 11 mission insignia, representing the United States' successful moon landing in 1969. The coins were made of a copper-nickel clad composition, which means they consisted of an inner layer of pure copper surrounded by outer layers of copper-nickel alloy. The coins have a diameter of 38.1 millimeters (1.5 inches) and weigh 22.68 grams (0.8 ounces). Eisenhower dollars were minted at three different locations: Philadelphia (no mint mark), Denver (D mint mark), and San Francisco (S mint mark). The mint mark can be found on the obverse side, near the base of Eisenhower's neck.  To celebrate the 200th anniversary of America’s founding, the U.S. Mint issued special bicentennial issues of the quarter, half dollar and dollar. The Bicentennial dollar bears Frank Gasparro’s original obverse design with the dual date 1776-1976. A new reverse by Dennis R. Williams depicts the Liberty Bell superimposed over the moon, with the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM at right. Encircling the design are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and ONE DOLLAR. Both copper-nickel and silver clad issues were minted in 1975 and 1976.

Initially, Eisenhower dollars were primarily intended for circulation, but they saw limited use in everyday transactions. Due to their large size and weight, they were not widely accepted in vending machines and were often used in casinos or as novelty items.  The end of the Eisenhower dollar series in 1978 marked the last regular-issue large-size dollar coin produced by the United States Mint as the smaller Susan B. Anthony dollar was introduced the next year. 

While Eisenhower dollars were not widely circulated, they gained popularity among coin collectors. Several notable varieties of Eisenhower dollars exist. One of the most well-known is the 1972 - Type 2 variety, which features a different design on the reverse side with a smaller Earth. This variety is rarer and more valuable than the Type 1 version, which has a larger Earth. Additionally, there are some special mint mark varieties and proof coins issued for collectors. 

Overall, Eisenhower dollars hold historical significance and are popular among coin collectors. Their design and connection to the Apollo 11 mission make them a fascinating piece of American numismatic history. 

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