Mike Byers Mint Error News - 1973-S

By Mike Byers for Mint Error News ……
 

1973-S Eisenhower Dollar “Blue Ike”

Struck on a Clad Planchet 22.3 grams

(Should be on a 40% Silver Planchet)

PCGS AU 58

One of Only Two Known

 

This is an amazing and extremely rare Eisenhower Dollar off-metal. Mint State Eisenhower Dollars struck in silver came in special sealed U.S. Government blue packages (referred to as Blue Ikes) and were sold starting in 1971 through 1974 at the San Francisco Mint. There is only one other known Blue Ike off-metal, which recently sold in a Stack’s Bowers auction for $48,000 USD.

To illustrate and compare how rare off-metal Blue Ikes from the San Francisco Mint are, there are approximately 45 Denver Mint Ike Dollar off-metals that were struck in 40% Silver instead of Clad. Recently in a Heritage auction, a 1977-D Eisenhower Dollar struck on a 40% Silver Planchet sold for $26,400.

The first known Blue Ike off-metal was a 1973-S struck in Clad instead of 40% Silver. This discovery mint error was featured in an August 8, 2008, NGC article. It sold for $48,000 in the Stack’s Bowers August 2021 ANA Auction (Session 7 – U.S. Coins Part 3 – Lot 6322).

The second known example (this coin) was featured in a July 19, 2011, Coin World article detailing how it was “obtained at face value from a California bank [and] has been authenticated as a 1973-S dollar struck on a copper-nickel clad planchet instead of the intended silver-copper clad planchet.”

The estimated 45 known Denver Mint 40% Silver Ikes are dated 1974-D, 1976-D, and 1977-D. There are reports of three known 1972-D Ikes struck on 40% Silver Planchets. The Denver silver Ikes are scarce but occasionally available and in no way compare to the two known San Francisco Blue Ike off-metals.

This 1973-S Ike Dollar is lightly toned in attractive chestnut gold. It is very lustrous, well-struck, and only has the slightest rub on the high points. The fields are immaculate, the marks on the portrait and eagle are on the holder and not on the actual coin itself.

Stack’s Bowers described the discovery Clad Ike as “one of the rarest and most significant Eisenhower dollar errors known.” I would absolutely agree with their assessment, and in my 45 years of being a dealer in major mint errors, these two known Clad Ike dollars are as exciting as it gets!

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8 COMMENTS

    • Assuming they’re (a) cupronickel clad and (b) in circulated condition, they have very little added value.

      A high-quality uncirculated one could bring several dollars at retail, depending on the strike quality. A silver-clad collector’s version (S-mint only) is worth at least its melt value, around $8 at current silver prices.

  1. Is it 40% silver, this error coin? I frankly do not care for errors. I like coins, varieties, but errors mean a mistake and I like coins w/o mistakes.

    • You may like lack of error, and is understood, but realize that such mistakes are rare, are still part of the mintage population, and thus their prices reflect that section of the market, and are usually downright valuable. What I’m not attracted to are Commemoratives; as I am more a type collector of regular issue coins. But these mistakes are still part of that.

  2. In your article about the 1973-S Eisenhower blue Ike coin you stated there were only 2 known to exist. I think I might have one. It is sealed and uncirculated with a blue chip in it’s original packaging. I’ve been holding onto it since I was young, I’ve never shown it to anybody. How do I get it graded? Also how do I know who to trust?

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