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HomeUS Coins1977 Eisenhower Dollar : A Collector's Guide

1977 Eisenhower Dollar : A Collector’s Guide

1977 Eisenhower Dollar. Image: CoinWeek.
1977 Eisenhower Dollar. Image: CoinWeek.

The 1977 Eisenhower Dollar – Apollo 11 Reverse Resumed

With America’s Bicentennial celebrations in the rearview mirror, the quarter dollar, half dollar, and dollar reverse designs reverted back to their regular designs. For the Eisenhower dollar, that meant the return of Frank Gasparro’s sculptural rendition of Michael Collins’ Apollo 11 mission patch.

While most people associate NASA and the moon missions with President Kennedy (and rightly so), it was President Dwight D. Eisenhower who signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act into law in 1958. Eisenhower was a strong supporter of America’s space program and accelerated the government’s spending on programs, such as the Saturn rocket. Eisenhower died on March 28, 1969, nearly four months before the Apollo 11 moon landing captivated the entire world.

Seen in that context, Gasparro’s Eisenhower dollar obverse and reverse design makes sense together. This was indeed the legacy this great man left a grateful nation. The final moon landing took place in the second year of the Eisenhower dollar’s production. Americans didn’t know it at the time, but it would be fifty years and counting before another humanity set sights on again walking on the lunar surface.

1977 was not a year without a major space achievement, however. In 1977 the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft launched, putting in motion an odyssey of human space exploration to the fathers reaches of our solar system.

How Many 1977 Eisenhower Dollars Were Made and What Are They Worth?

Despite the Eisenhower dollar’s unsuitability for circulation, the Philadelphia Mint struck 12,596,000 coins in 1977. 2,006,869 of this total were packaged in the annual Mint Set. In Uncirculated condition, the 1977 Eisenhower dollar has a retail value of about $3.00 – $4.00.

Certified examples in high grade can carry a significant premium. Considering that the typical Mint Set Uncirculated example has grade-limiting dings and scratches, finding an example of sufficient quality to justify certification is unlikely without examining dozens, if not hundreds, of Mint Sets. The typical grade of a Mint Set coin is MS63.

Terminal Grade for certified coins is MS65, with the typical MS65 example selling at or below the cost of certification. In MS66, the 1977 retails for between $55 and $70 depending on quality. The top certified grade for this issue is MS67. MS67 coins come in a wide range of quality, and this date is plagued with coins that were bulk graded at this level several years ago. These examples tend to be of poor quality for the date and will not CAC. A CAC-quality 1977 can sell for more than $2,000 with superlative toning and clean surfaces.

Design

Obverse:

Gasparro’s portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower (as president); Eisenhower facing to the left. Gasparro’s initials “FG” appear raised in the bust truncation. Beneath Eisenhower’s chin, to the left, is the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” LIBERTY wraps around the top of the coin in the space between the rim and the top of Eisenhower’s head. The date wraps around the bottom of the design, between the rim and the bottom of Eisenhower’s bust truncation. While Philadelphia-struck pieces bear no mintmark, coins struck at Denver and San Francisco will bear small mintmarks of “D” or “S” above the space between the last two digits of the date and below Eisenhower’s neck. On Eisenhower dollars, mintmarks were hand-punched and may vary in exact location and orientation.

Reverse:

1977 Eisenhower Dollar ReverseThe reverse is based on Michael Collins’ Apollo 11 Mission Patch design.

In the center, a bald eagle in descent. In its talons, an olive branch. Its left-wing is raised. The lunar surface lies below. Above the eagle’s head is a depiction of the Earth. North America is prominently visible. Wrapping around the top of the coin adjacent to the rim is the legend “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” Thirteen small five-point stars circle around the eagle. Below the ring of stars but above the eagle is the motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM”. Wrapping around the bottom of the design is the denomination “ONE DOLLAR”.

Edge:

The edge of the 1977 Eisenhower dollar is reeded.

Designer

Frank Gasparro was a friend to numismatists and served as Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1965 to 1981 (View Designer’s Profile).

Coin Specifications

Country:  United States
Year Of Issue:  1977
Denomination:  One Dollar
Mint Mark:  None (Philadelphia)
Mintage:  12,596,000
Alloy:  Copper-Nickel (Cu-Ni)
Weight:  22.68 g
Diameter:  38.1 mm
Edge:  Reeded
OBV Designer  Frank Gasparro
REV Designer  Frank Gasparro | Michael Collins
Quality:  Uncirculated

 

CoinWeek IQ
CoinWeek IQ
With CoinWeek IQ, the editors and writers of CoinWeek dig deeper than the usual numismatic article. CoinWeek IQ provides collectors and numismatists with in-depth information, pedigree histories, and market analysis of U.S. coins and currency.

5 COMMENTS

  1. The issues of size and weight weren’t misconceptions. Even during the silver dollar’s heyday in the 19th century, people objected to carrying the coins and derisively referred to them as “cartwheels”.

    The failure of the successor Anthony dollar can be traced not specifically to its size, but to the fact that the Mint and the consulting company that they hired failed to learn from the experiences of both the US and other countries that introduced a new coin.

    The most obvious failure was to ignore the fact that similar-size denominations circulate successfully ONLY if they’re otherwise distinctive in design, shape, and/or composition. The designers ignored the failure of the 20¢ coin which differed from the quarter only in having a smooth edge. They similarly ignored 130 years of experience with cents and dimes which differ in size by only 1.1 mm but aren’t confused because they’re different colors. The Mint ignored advice from experts who recommended that the SBA coins be given a brass plating and/or be struck on multi-sided planchets, opting instead to use the same Cu-Ni clad composition and round, reeded-edge planchets as dimes, quarters, and halves.

    Tellingly, when Canada introduced its $1 coin a decade later the RCM explicitly referenced the SBA’s failures by choosing a brass-colored, dodecagonal planchet. While US merchants and consumers regularly confused SBA dollars with quarters, Canadian citizens had – and continue to have – no such difficulty distinguishing their similar-size coins.

  2. How much are the Eisenhower silver Dollars worth I have 5 Eisenhower silver Dollars dates 1971-2. 1972 -1 1974-1 1776-1976

  3. Can you refer me to any reputable coin dealers in the Chicagoland area to deal with silver and gold coins was trying to find somebody who can certify it some coins. Thanks

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