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What are the Reverse Die Varieties of Eisenhower Dollars? 

The Eisenhower dollar was designed by Frank Gasparro, who based the reverse on the Apollo 11 mission patch by astronaut Michael Collins. The reverse underwent multiple changes during its years of issue and reverse die varieties refer to the different reverses used over the years.  

The Eisenhower dollar was issued from 1971 until 1978 and depicts Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) on the obverse. Eisenhower reverse die varieties refer to the different reverses used for the Eisenhower dollar.  

This Answer will focus on some of the most prominent reverse die varieties. Many of the changes were subtle, and the differences may not be readily apparent at a passing glance.  

Reverse Die Varieties of Eisenhower Dollars 

Of the Eisenhower dollar reverse die varieties (RDV) identified by collectors, the 1972 Type 2 Eisenhower dollar is one of the most valuable.  

1971-S Proof Eisenhower Dollar – Normal “R” 

Most 1971–S Eisenhower dollars have a serif on the bottom of the vertical leg of the “R” as the die had not yet begun to show signs of wear. 

1971-S Eisenhower Dollar – Peg Leg “R” 

The 1971-S Eisenhower Peg Leg variety is rare and relatively easy to spot. If the “R” in LIBERTY is lacking serifs on the bottom of the vertical leg, you may have a peg leg reverse die variety.  

While the cause is disputed, there are two predominate theories: 

This variety was either created by an over polished proof die or there was a change in the San Francisco coin hub that resulted in a master die without serifs on the “R.” In either case, this variety of Eisenhower reverse die is rare. 

1972 Type I Eisenhower – Low Relief

You can spot this 1972 Eisenhower dollar variety by finding the three islands underneath and to the right of Florida. If you’re unsure of this, look for a flat rim of the earth from 8 o’clock to 11 o’clock. This variety was minted between January and August of 1971 and is the most common reverse die variety found in 1972 Eisenhower dollars. 

1972 Type II Eisenhower Reverse – High Relief

Identifying the rarest variety of Eisenhower reverse die is easy since there are no islands off the coast of Florida. This was caused by mistakenly using a proof die, and instead of islands by Florida, there are incuse lines that look like water.  

Another detail to pay attention to are the North and South American continents. If they look like they fade into the top and bottom of the earth, you may have a valuable key date. It is estimated that there are fewer than 100,000 of the 1972 Type II Eisenhower dollars. 

1972 Type III Eisenhower Reverse – Modified High Relief

The 1972 Type III variety is sometimes called the ‘normal reverse’ and can be identified by again assessing the islands beneath Florida. The islands will be to the left of Florida and the features of the earth are stronger than on the other two 1972 reverse die varieties.  

If you are not certain about this, pay attention to the edges of the earth on the reverse. The details should be well-defined and do not blend into the field of the coin directly to the left of the earth. 

1976 Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar – Type I

The 1976 Type I Eisenhower dollar variety can be identified by paying attention to the lettering. Look for a serif and assess the width of the letters in UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and ONE DOLLAR. The letters are thick and blocky. You can also examine the letter T in STATES and the horizontal bar atop the T, which is squared at both ends with Type I. 

The U.S. Mint began producing these in 1975 to fulfill a large anticipated demand.

1976 Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar – Type II

Identify the 1976 Type II Eisenhower dollar variety by paying attention to the lettering. The letters in Type II have a slight serif, like that on Eisenhower dollars from other years. The other detail to pay attention to is the horizontal bar at the top of the letter T. The ends of this bar are slanted on each end of the bar on both T’s. 

The U.S. Mint began producing Bicentennial Eisenhower dollars with the second reverse in 1976. Neither type of Bicentennial Eisenhower dollar was produced for a full year, but this can still be found in circulated conditions without a large premium. 

The Eisenhower dollar had numerous reverse designs in its eight years of issue. These varieties make it a great coin for collectors who enjoy the thrill of the hunt and have an eye for detail. 

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