The Eisenhower dollar was a one-dollar coin issued by the United States Mint from 1971 to 1978; it was the first coin of that denomination issued by the Mint since the Peace dollar series ended in 1935. The coin depicts President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the obverse, and on the reverse a stylized image honoring the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon mission based on the mission patch designed by astronaut Michael Collins. Both sides were designed by Frank Gasparro. It is the only large-size U.S. dollar coin whose circulation strikes contained no silver.
|Value||1 U.S. dollar|
~22.68 g (350 gr)Silver clad:
~24.624 g (380 gr)
|Diameter||38.1 mm (1.5 in)|
|Thickness||2.58 mm (0.1 in)|
|Composition||Circulation strikes: outer layers of 75.0% copper 25.0% nickel clad with a core of 100% copper (in all 91.67% copper, 8.33% nickel).|
For silver clad: Outer layers of 80% silver with a center of 20.9% silver. Aggregate 60% copper, 40% silver
|Silver||None in circulation strikes. For silver-clad pieces 0.3162 troy oz|
|Years of minting||1971–1978. Coins struck in 1975 and 1976 bear double date "1776–1976"|
|Mint marks||D, S. Located on the obverse beneath Eisenhower's bust. Mint mark omitted on Philadelphia Mint issues.|
|Design||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|Design||Eagle clutching olive branch landing on the Moon, based on the Apollo 11 mission insignia designed by astronaut Michael Collins|
|Design date||1971 (Not struck in 1975–76)|
In 1965, because of rises in bullion prices, the Mint began to strike copper-nickel clad coins instead of silver. No dollar coins had been issued in thirty years, but, beginning in 1969, legislators sought to reintroduce a dollar coin into commerce. After Eisenhower died that March, there were a number of proposals to honor him with the new coin. While these bills generally commanded wide support, enactment was delayed by a dispute over whether the new coin should be in base metal or 40% silver. In 1970, a compromise was reached to strike the Eisenhower dollar in base metal for circulation, and in 40% silver as a collectible. President Richard Nixon, who had served as vice president under Eisenhower, signed legislation authorizing mintage of the new coin on December 31, 1970.
Although the 40% silver collector's pieces sold well, the new base-metal dollars failed to circulate to any degree, except in and around Nevada casinos, where they took the place of privately issued tokens. There are no dollars dated 1975; coins from that year and from 1976 bear a double date 1776–1976, and a special reverse by Dennis R. Williams in honor of the bicentennial of American independence. Beginning in 1977, the Mint sought to replace the Eisenhower dollar with a smaller-sized piece. Congress authorized the Susan B. Anthony dollar, struck beginning in 1979, but that coin also failed to circulate. Given their modest cost and the short length of the series, complete sets of Eisenhower dollars are inexpensive to assemble and are becoming more popular among coin collectors.