100 Greatest U.S. Modern Coins Series: 1973-P and D Eisenhower Dollars

In the short lifespan of the Eisenhower dollar, the coin saw its fair share of quirks. One big one? It followed the five-year ban on the production of a dollar coin that was put into place in 1965. It was also the first large-size dollar produced since the silver Peace dollar in 1934 which made collectors hoard those in circulation. Problem #1 established.

In this next edition of the 100 Greatest U.S. Modern Coins Series, we take a look at a pair of Eisenhower dollars that have low mintages. What’s the big deal you ask? Chosen by authors Scott Schechter and Jeff Garrett in addition to the advisement of influential coin dealers from across the country, the pair don the Philadelphia and Denver mintmarks which normally would far exceed the mintage of the pair of dollars found in the fourth edition of Whitman’s publication. Let us see where they have been placed on the list.

#77 - 1973-P and D Eisenhower Dollars

With the United States Mint’s belief that collectors were keeping the circulating Ike dollars rather than spending them, it became their objective to prevent this from happening. The Mint felt that lack of availability was causing a barrier for the circulation of the dollars. Their solution was to produce copious amounts of the coin so that it would be available to everyone everywhere. The coins in 1971 were produced all year but were not released until the end of that year so that the Mint had the time to produce a massive quantity (approximately 115 million copper-nickel dollars) for circulation. In 1972, they struck yet another 168 million for circulation.

In the midst of all the production though, the use of large size and heavy dollars to the consumer society was very little. Remember those quirks we were explaining earlier? Problem #2: the Eisenhower dollar was made in a hurry due to the expiration of the dollar coin ban and the passing of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in March of 1969. In the midst of that hurry, Proof and Mint set packaging was never altered to fit the new large size dollar. Due to the packaging issues, the 1971 and 1972 sets did not include the Ike dollar which created problem #1 (hoarding of the coins). Time constrictions did not allow for the creation of new Mint and Proof set packaging.

In 1973, the Mint decided they would include the dollar in the 1973 Proof Set but no word was said about the Mint set. By the time the Mint set would go on sale that year, they did decide to include the Philadelphia and Denver minted dollars. With the accomplishment of providing the Eisenhower dollar in the set, they felt no need to produce more dollars for circulation. This means that the only P and D minted coins from 1973 were ONLY available in the Mint set making their mintages very low.

With the addition of the dollar though came a cost increase to the overall 1973 Mint Set which affected overall sales. Only 1,767,691 sets were sold compared to the previous year’s 2,750,000. This means that only two million Eisenhower dollars were struck at both Philadelphia and Denver compared to 1972’s 76 and 93 million. 1973 Eisenhower dollars with the P and D mintmark have been deemed the lowest minted circulation issue Eisenhower dollars.

The pair has dropped down on the top 100 list since the first edition as they started at #74. The second edition saw them at #78 before settling at their current spot since the third edition (#77).