By CoinWeek ….
From August 3 through 9, Heritage Auctions held its August 2020 Signature Auction of U.S. Coins. Among the lots on offer were several mint error coins of various denominations. Most of these were sold on August 3.
Sold on August 4, lot 3959 featured a Proof 1973-S Eisenhower dollar double struck on a clad half dollar planchet, graded PF-66 Cameo by NGC. It went for $19,200 USD (including buyer’s premium).
Besides affecting how much of the Ike dollar design appears on the coin, the fact that the planchet was intended for a clad Kennedy half dollar means that it is unknown whether the 1973-S Eisenhower was struck during the production run for that year’s clad Proofs or whether it was struck as part of the silver Proof mintage. At any rate, the production of Proof coinage at the United States Mint utilizes strict quality control, starting with the hand feeding of special coin blanks into presses used exclusively for Proofs. The resulting coins are scrutinized at several points while they are being produced, packaged, and shipped, and so it is unusual for mint errors involving Proof coins to escape into the “wild” for collectors to find them.
This, of course, generates quite a bit of demand for Proof coinage errors–especially gem-quality pieces with high eye appeal–as evidenced by the five-digit hammer price of this specimen. Reminiscent of John Mercanti’s obverse for the 1990 Eisenhower Centennial commemorative silver dollar, the fortunate placement of this double-struck coin created a pleasant side-by-side or “jugate” arrangement of Frank Gasparro’s twin portraits of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s. In addition to the unintended remix of the Ike dollar’s design, the fields are still highly polished and reflective, earning the Cameo designation from NGC.
Part of the reason for the appeal of this double struck 1973-S may also come from the fact that, after multiple modifications to the relief and design of the Eisenhower dollar in the first two years of the series’ run, by this year the Mint had finally settled on modified versions of high-relief dies that it would use for Ike dollars from here on out.
Regular Proof Eisenhowers produced in 1973 at the San Francisco Mint are not rare, though the silver variety has the lowest mintage of the series with “only” 1,013,646 pieces struck. The 1973-S clad has the second-lowest mintage of clad Proofs with 2,760,339 struck.