1972 Silver Dollar Value Guide (Rare Errors, “D” and “S” Mark)

In the annals of coinage, the year 1972 marks an essential chapter with the continuation of the iconic “Eisenhower dollars”. Distinct in their grandeur and weight, these coins stand in stark contrast to contemporary dollars. Fast forward to today, and while many might rest in old chests or wallets without much worth, a select few lie in the vaults of avid coin collectors, glittering with both history and value.

So, what transforms an ordinary 1972 Eisenhower dollar into a coveted treasure? Let’s embark on a journey to decipher the worth of these silver dollars and discern the attributes that could make your coin the star of an auction.

Eisenhower Silver Dollar Value Breakdown for 1972

Coin Description In Everyday Use Near Mint (MS63) Sparkling Mint (MS66) Almost Flawless (MS66+/MS67) Collector’s Dream (PR69)
1972 Standard, Made of Copper-nickel (Type 1) $1.05 $4 Between $1,500 and $7,500 No Recorded Value No Recorded Value
1972 Standard, Another Version (Type 2) $30 $75 to $150 $7,600 to $14,400 No Recorded Value No Recorded Value
1972 Standard, Yet Another Version (Type 3) $1.05 $4 $120 to $5,000 $5,800 No Recorded Value
1972, With a “D” Mint Mark, Copper-nickel Blend $1.05 $4 $50 to $550 $1,500 to $9,800 No Recorded Value
1972, Sporting an “S” Mint Mark, Comprised 40% Silver No Recorded Value No Recorded Value $20 to $170 $1,500 to $4,000 $20 to $50

A Coin’s Tribute: The Story of the 1972 Eisenhower Silver Dollar

In 1971, the United States unveiled a fresh chapter in its numismatic history: a new silver dollar, distinctively christened the Eisenhower Dollar in homage to the president whose likeness it proudly bore. This new currency harked back to the robust, substantial silver dollars of yesteryears, a breed last seen in circulation in the 1930s.

The tale of this coin’s birth is one of unlikely alliances. Picture the bustling casinos of Las Vegas, where the jingle of coins is the players’ favorite melody. For years, these gaming houses had substituted tokens for real dollar coins. But the heart of the gambler yearned for the genuine weight of a dollar in hand, and the stockpile of hefty silver dollars was steadily diminishing.

A twist in the legal landscape had also been brewing. In light of soaring silver values, legal measures enacted had, up until 1970, prohibited the utilization of silver in the making of coins. As this date neared, the clamor for the reintroduction of a silver dollar reverberated ever louder across the country.

The year 1969 marked a poignant moment: the passing of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. This event sparked a public sentiment strong and unanimous—a national tribute was in order, a lasting commemoration. What better way than a silver dollar in Eisenhower’s honor? Such an act would beautifully intersect the desires of both the nostalgic American public and the gaming houses of Vegas.

But herein lay a hitch: silver was a precious commodity, its price tag steep. Crafting a solid silver dollar would be a pricey affair. Thus, a middle ground was sought and found. The Eisenhower dollars would be forged not of pure silver, but of a more affordable concoction, predominantly composed of base metals, with hues resembling silver thanks to a blend of copper and nickel.

For the discerning collectors, though, a limited series of special coins was conceived. They would contain a core of copper, enveloped by a layer of silver, constituting 40% of the coin’s total composition.

These collector’s treasures were crafted in the San Francisco Mint between 1971 and 1974. With a touch of ceremony, proof editions were encased in rich brown wooden boxes, while the uncirculated versions found their home in blue envelopes. Numismatists affectionately dubbed them as the ‘Brown Ikes’ and ‘Blue Ikes’, labels that endure to this day.

By 1972, this line of currency was in its infancy, with a diverse range of coins minted that year. The regular, circulating variants were struck at the Philadelphia and Denver mints, while San Francisco had the honor of producing both the uncirculated and proof editions of the silver-clad coins.

However, as the sands of time passed, it became evident that these sizeable coins were finding favor primarily within the casino walls. Their bulk and weight rendered them rather impractical for the pockets of everyday America. By 1979, it was time for a new chapter; the Eisenhower dollar made way for the more petite and convenient Susan B. Anthony dollar.

A Deep Dive into the 1972 Silver Dollar’s Design

Frontal Beauty of the 1972 Coin

In 1972, the Eisenhower dollars proudly displayed a portrait of the esteemed former president on their front side. This exquisite portrayal wasn’t a product of mere imagination but inspired by an impromptu sketch. The man behind this design, Frank Gasparro, the chief artist at the Mint, once chanced upon Eisenhower during a VE Day celebration in 1945. Captivated by the moment, Gasparro quickly etched the leader’s visage.

While every coin tells a story of its origin, some give subtle clues. The absence or presence of certain initials can reveal a coin’s birthplace. If you find none, Philadelphia was its cradle. However, a discerning eye might spot a “D”, indicating Denver’s craftsmanship, or an “S”, signaling its birth in the heart of San Francisco.

How were these marks etched onto the coin, you ask? A craftsman would carefully wield a hammer and a stencil, placing the mark just above the third or fourth numeral of the year, situated at the coin’s base.

Also, etched elegantly on the coin’s face are the words representing freedom and faith: the proud proclamation of “Liberty” and the profound declaration, “In God we trust”.

As coins often come in variations, the 1972 dollar was no exception. While the rear side had most distinctions, the front had its share of unique touches. One such variant, labeled Type 3, boasted pronounced ridges on Eisenhower’s neck, with a meticulous representation of his hair. Interestingly, the “R” in “Liberty” on this variant missed a small flourish on its lower left, leading enthusiasts to affectionately dub it the “Peg Leg”.

The Tale Behind the 1972 Silver Dollar’s Flip Side

In 1972, a remarkable silver dollar was minted in the United States, with the reverse side bearing an image designed by Gasparro. This wasn’t an original creation from scratch; instead, it drew inspiration from a pre-existing design. This design portrayed a majestic eagle, descending gracefully onto the lunar surface. This captivating image didn’t emerge from nowhere—it was adapted from a patch, a symbol of human achievement. This patch, crafted by astronaut Michael D. Collins and his team, celebrated the historic Apollo 11 mission, humanity’s monumental journey to the moon.

In this intricate design, the eagle isn’t empty-handed. It gently carries an olive branch within its sharp talons—a timeless emblem of peace. Hovering above the eagle, almost like a guardian spirit, our own planet Earth is subtly depicted in miniature.

Encircling this entire celestial scene, stars twinkle brightly, as though saluting the eagle’s voyage. Above, proudly declaring the coin’s origin, the words “United States of America” are inscribed. Below, we find the denomination “One Dollar.” The scene is made whole with the enduring Latin phrase “E pluribus unum,” a call for unity echoing from the country’s past, translating to “From the many, one”—a reference to the harmonious union of the states.

Now, while at a casual glance each 1972 silver dollar might appear to be a mirror image of the next, a closer inspection reveals a world of difference—quite literally.

Type 1 coins present our planet in a subdued, almost flattened relief. Remarkably, the Caribbean islands seem to gently protrude from the coin’s surface, as if reaching out for the observer’s touch.

Type 2 coins tell a story of a minor mishap—a die intended for the silver proofs in San Francisco took an unexpected journey to Philadelphia. On these coins, Earth is perfectly spherical, with Florida pointing directly towards the southern horizon, and the Caribbean islands appearing as gentle indentations, a unique signature left by the die.

By the midpoint of 1972, technology had evolved and so did the coins. The Type 3 variants were born, featuring a crisp and precise grouping of islands, replacing the previous indented portrayal.

To delve deeper into the distinctions between these three variants, consider watching a comprehensive video analysis by CoinWeek on YouTube. Their 6-minute guide is an enlightening journey through the subtle yet fascinating differences that make each type of this 1972 silver dollar a unique piece of history.

YouTube video

Exploring the Unique Edges of the 1972 Eisenhower Silver Dollar

Take a journey back to 1972 and imagine holding an Eisenhower silver dollar in your hand. As you scrutinize this iconic piece of currency, you’ll notice something intriguing about its side profile. This isn’t just a plain boundary; rather, it has a tactile, textured quality.

Let your fingers glide along the edge of the coin. What you’re feeling are deliberate, uniform indentations, akin to the ridges on a finely crafted gear. This isn’t merely an aesthetic choice; it’s a security feature with roots stretching back to the late 18th century.

Picture the bustling markets of the 1780s. Back then, a less-than-honorable merchant might be tempted to subtly shave slivers of precious metals from the edges of coins, a deceitful practice known as “coin clipping.” This would allow them to keep a portion of the valuable gold or silver while still passing the coin as legitimate currency to an unsuspecting recipient.

To outwit these cunning individuals and protect the integrity of the nation’s coinage, a solution was crafted: the introduction of these distinctive ridges, or “reeded edges” as they are technically known. The 1972 Eisenhower silver dollar, just like its siblings in the series, proudly carries this legacy feature—a steadfast guardian against the age-old deception of coin clipping.

The Tale of the 1972 Silver Dollars: A Journey from Philadelphia to San Francisco

The Common and the Exceptional: A Look at Type 1

In 1972, Philadelphia became the birthplace of nearly 48 million silver dollars, destined for pockets and purses across America. Among this vast sea of coins, the Type 1 variety is a frequent sight. If your coin’s depiction of Earth appears faint or soft, don’t jump to conclusions — this doesn’t necessarily mark it as a hidden treasure. For the majority, the value remains modest, hovering just above the coin’s face value.

However, in the world of numismatics, condition is king. Unearth a pristine, untouched Type 1 — a true time capsule from 1972 — and the narrative shifts dramatically. Within the spectrum of mint condition grades, which peaks at a near-perfect 70, the Type 1 stars known to exist score an impressive 66. Such specimens are extraordinarily rare, with a mere four discovered thus far. Locate one of these elusive gems, and you’re holding not just a coin, but a small fortune.

To paint a picture with numbers: in 2011, a Type 1 silver dollar, radiant in its MS66 grade, found a new home for a grand total of $7,745, buyers’ premium included.

The Serendipitous Error: Unveiling Type 2

Moving on to the intriguing chapter of the Type 2 coins — a narrative steeped in both rarity and error. Originally, the dies that sculpted these coins were destined for the crafting of silver-clad dollar coins over in San Francisco. However, in a twist of fate, these dies found themselves in Philadelphia.

This error, undetected, persisted for a single month, March of 1972, before eagle-eyed inspectors intervened. Within this brief window, a modest batch of approximately 100,000 coins emerged, with current estimates suggesting a survival count of roughly 40,000.

Encounter one of these Type 2 survivors, in any state, and you’re holding a piece of history worth well beyond its one-dollar face value. For context, even a well-traveled, standard circulated example can command a price tag of around $30 today.

However, as the coin’s condition ascends, so does its value. An exceptional Type 2 specimen, graded MS63, might dance in the range of $75 to $150. Climb further up the condition ladder to an MS65, and you may be welcoming bids approaching a cool $1,000.

In the realm of the extraordinary, we find the MS66-graded Type 2 coins — the peak of this coin’s known existence. As for numbers, the PGCS has bestowed this grade on nine coins, and the NGC on two. The value of these numismatic celebrities is as dynamic as an auctioneer’s chant, but a milestone was set in August 2022: one Type 2 1972 dollar, resplendent in its MS66 grade, commanded a staggering $14,400 at auction.

The 1972 Type 3 Silver Dollar: A Tale of Rarity and Value

In 1972, a special variety of silver dollars emerged—Type 3. These coins made their debut midway through the year, but despite their relatively late arrival, finding one isn’t akin to hunting for a needle in a haystack. For collectors who are content with coins that have seen their fair share of circulation, acquiring a Type 3 silver dollar won’t mean breaking the bank; these pieces are often available for a sum that closely mirrors their designated face value.

However, for those with an eye for unparalleled quality, the story takes a dramatic turn. In the world of Type 3 silver dollars, a single specimen stands out like a lighthouse beacon: a coin awarded the illustrious MS66+ grade by the PCGS. When this coin was auctioned in July of 2022, collectors and investors alike watched as the gavel came down at a record-shattering $5,880. This remarkable sale set a new high-water mark for a Type 3 silver dollar.

The 1972 D Silver Dollar: Denver’s Hidden Gem

Meanwhile, miles away from Philadelphia, the Denver Mint was producing its own series of silver dollars in 1972. These Denver-minted treasures, even in their pristine, untouched condition, aren’t typically the stuff of legend; they are relatively abundant and usually available for a modest sum, oftentimes less than $5 for a coin graded MS63.

Yet, as the grading scale inches upward, a transformation occurs. When a 1972 D Silver Dollar reaches the MS66 level, it becomes something of a numismatic unicorn, with prices that can range from a modest $50 to a substantial $550.

It’s an interesting contrast, particularly when one compares these Denver minted dollars to their Philadelphia counterparts at equivalent grades. Denver holds a unique distinction: it boasts the availability of a higher-tiered specimen, the MS67. For those desiring to own such an exceptional piece, they should be prepared to invest significantly, with prices spanning from $1,500 to a staggering $9,800.

The Unexpected Tale of the 1972 Silver-Clad Dollar

In 1972, San Francisco’s famed mint unveiled two distinct varieties of silver-clad dollar coins. One set was comprised of mint state coins — pristine, untouched treasures that were never meant to see the light of day in a cash register. These coins were crafted to perfection but were not destined for the hustle and bustle of everyday transactions.

The other set, the proofs, were born of meticulous craftsmanship. Crafted using specially designed dies, these coins were struck on planchets that had been polished to an immaculate sheen.

One might naturally assume that, given their limited production and intended status as collector’s items, these 1972 silver-clad dollars would sit atop the pyramid as the most coveted and valuable of their kind. Surprisingly, this is not the reality.

Despite their limited mintage in comparison to standard circulation coins, the production numbers of these special 1972 editions were quite significant. Picture this: nearly 2.2 million untouched, uncirculated coins, known affectionately as “blue Ikes,” were created. Parallel to this, just above 1.8 million of the polished, pristine “brown Ikes,” the proofs, were produced.

What sets these coins apart further is their history of preservation. Since they were struck with collectors in mind, these coins have generally been handled with the utmost care. They have slumbered in protective environments, guarded from the elements that would otherwise diminish their lustre. As a result, uncovering a well-preserved specimen today is more a matter of course than a miraculous find.

Because of this, the market is fairly saturated with high-quality examples of these coins, and this abundance has an equalizing effect on their price. For instance, a brown Ike, with a grade of MS66, might find a new home for a price ranging from $20 to $170. On the other hand, a blue Ike, standing tall with a PR69 grade and boasting a “deep cameo” appearance, typically commands a price tag falling between $50 and $70.

In a delightful twist of expectation versus reality, these 1972 silver-clad dollars, while undeniably special, remain accessible to collectors due to their surprisingly generous production numbers and meticulous preservation over time.

The Tale of the 1972 Silver Dollar’s Unique Misprints

The Mysterious Double Impression

In the world of coin collecting, slight mishaps during the minting process can turn ordinary coins into extraordinary treasures. Imagine a 1972 silver dollar where the images and inscriptions are mysteriously replicated, slightly offset from their intended positions—like a ghostly echo of the design. This intriguing phenomenon is known as a double die error, which happens when the coin, known as a planchet, shifts a little between the hammering of the mint’s dies, resulting in a distinct double image.

The allure and value of such a double die error coin are determined by two key factors: the prominence of the doubling effect and the overall condition of the coin. Sometimes, this doubling can be seen gracing both faces of the coin, while at other times, it appears on just one side.

For instance, consider a 1972 silver dollar, shining brilliantly and graded as MS66 by the NGC—a near-perfect specimen. When this coin also boasts a double die error, specifically on the back side, collectors have paid a premium, such as $100, to secure it. Meanwhile, another 1972 dollar, exhibiting this doubling phenomenon on both the front and back but with a slightly lower grade of MS65, found a new home for $55. Then, there’s the proof coin, graded as PR69DCAM (indicating a sharp and deeply contrasting design), that, with its doubling visible on the front, commanded a remarkable $500!

The Coin with a Unique Silhouette

Now, envision a 1972 silver dollar with a personality—it sports an uncommon shape, unlike the perfectly round figure we expect. This quirk is the result of a clipped planchet error, where a small fragment of the metal was inadvertently sheared off during the coin’s creation, giving it an exclusive, albeit accidental, design.

Take, for example, a 1972 silver dollar that lost a small, but noticeable, 3% of its surface before it ever left the mint. Back in 2003, this unique specimen commanded an auction price of $31. Yet, as interest in these quirky coins has grown, so have their price tags. Recently, another 1972 dollar, with an even subtler clip, was presented to prospective buyers with a price tag of $100, illustrating the rising demand for such distinctive pieces.

To witness the fascinating variety of these 1972 silver dollar errors in living color, consider taking a virtual dive into a detailed video guide. Couch Collectibles on YouTube offers a rich and engaging visual tour that showcases these rarities in all their glory.

YouTube video

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the 1972 Silver Dollar a Rare Find?

While the majority of 1972 silver dollars can be found with relative ease, the true gems in this category are those struck from base metals and have received a mint state grade of 66 or higher. These specimens are genuinely rare and exceptional.

To add a layer of intrigue, consider examining the design of our planet as depicted on the front side of the Philadelphia-minted coin. A unique variation, referred to as Type 2, can be identified through the depiction of the Caribbean islands. In the Type 2 design, these islands appear as indentations in the surface, rather than protruding elements. This particular characteristic marks a coin as a member of this uncommon group.

Which Version of the 1972 Silver Dollar Holds Significant Value?

The value of a coin often walks hand in hand with its scarcity. For those minted in Philadelphia, the pinnacles of rarity are those graded as either MS66 or MS66+. As for Denver-minted specimens, the crème de la crème are those with a grade of MS67.

Let’s not overlook the charismatic misfits of the coin world: error coins. These are the mavericks, the rebels — and they can command significant value when the error occurs on a coin that is otherwise of high quality. They are captivating not just for their rarity, but for the unique stories they tell, making them highly prized by collectors.