January 17, 2022

Rare 1971 Eisenhower silver coin sells for $264,000

[The Sun]

Do you have a valuable piece in your wallet?

A RARE silver dollar prototype coin from 1971 has sold for $264,000 after bidding went on for almost two weeks.

The public auction for the rare prototype coin, bearing 34th President Dwight D. Eisenhower on one side, was held by Heritage Auctions and ended on January 14.

One of the three known 1971 Eisenhower silver dollars struck at the San Francisco Mint sold for $264,000 last week
Credit: Photo courtesy of Professional Coin Grading Service

The other side of the coin shows an eagle landing on the moon.

The coin has been described by Heritage Auctions as being the “birth certificate of America’s last silver dollar”.

“This is an extremely rare discovery of an early design stage for the first year of the Ike dollars that were made from 1971 to 1978,” said Jim Halperin, co-chairman of Heritage Auctions.

“There isn’t even an example of this prototype in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian.”

The first US silver dollars were struck in 1974.

However, this prototype coin is different from others that were also minted in San Francisco.

Prototype coins are generally used to help an engraver perfect the design of a coin and are produced within the Mint.

Around 6.8million “Ike” dollar coins were struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1971, according to Heritage Auctions of Dallas.

And while price guides indicated that a 1971 San Francisco-minted Ike coin in good condition could sell for $400, advance bidding online for this prototype coin began at $63,000.

“This was the first of only three known prototype Ike dollars found in the half-century since the coins were made,” Mr Halperin said.

“It was discovered by a collector at a coin show in California in 2008; another was found at an Alabama pawn shop in 2010; and a third was offered on eBay in 2013.”

According to Mr Halperin, one of the main differences between the prototype coin and the other Ike dollars is an unfinished moon on one side.

There are also additional details missing from the prototype, including craters and rocks.

Halperin also noted that the surface of the coin has mirror-like reflectivity which is common on prototypes.

The coin was authenticated and certified by the Professional Coin Grading Service. 

Some details of the moon craters design are missing on the back of the 1971 prototype Eisenhower silver dollar
Credit: Photo courtesy of Professional Coin Grading Service
More details in the moon craters design are visible on the back of “normal” Eisenhower silver dollars
Credit: Photo courtesy of Professional Coin Grading Service.

By Caitlin Hornik

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