1972 One Dollar Coin Value: The Eisenhower Dollar

Are you curious about the 1972 one dollar coin value? You are not alone. More than 170 million Eisenhower dollars were minted in 1972 to honor the life of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

This number might make it sound like these U.S. coins are plentiful, but they are still considered collector’s items among enthusiasts.

In 1972 alone, a few different types of Ike dollars were made, so assessing the value can be difficult without more information.

Take a look at the surprisingly complex world of the 1972 Eisenhower silver dollar.

What Is the Value of a 1972 One Dollar Coin?

There’s no single answer to the question of the value of a one-dollar coin from 1972, as there are three main types of 1972 Eisenhower dollars. Depending on the type, the value can range from slightly over a dollar to over $1,000.

The value also depends on whether the coin was circulated or uncirculated. Uncirculated coins are often in mint condition, and the most pristine can sell for five-figure prices.

most valuable 1972 dollar coins

History of the 1972 One Dollar Coin

The Eisenhower one dollar coin was issued from 1971 to 1978. It was a highly symbolic coin meant to honor Dwight D. Eisenhower, former president and military general.

The coin’s reverse side was also symbolic — it commemorated the moon landing. The design was based on the mission insignia for Apollo 11. 

Frank Gasparro, Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint, designed the coin. Gasparro had previously worked on the Kennedy half-dollar coin honoring President Kennedy after his assassination.

1972 one dollar coin
1972 One Dollar Coin

Gasparro based the portrait of Eisenhower on a sketch he had made of the late president delivering a speech.

You might wonder why you don’t see too many Eisenhower dollars in circulation. That’s because, despite its beautiful design, the coin didn’t circulate well.

It was larger and heavier than quarters, nickels, and other coins, so it was inconvenient to carry around, mainly because you could hold a dollar bill instead.

Interestingly, research into the Eisenhower dollar found that almost 100% of these coins were used for just one transaction and then disappeared from circulation. In many cases, people found them too inconvenient to use or decided to have them as keepsakes.

In some other cases, President Eisenhower’s dollars were kept in casinos in Nevada and other parts of the West. They were used as replacements for casino-specific tokens.

Despite their lack of popularity with the general public, Eisenhower dollars from all years sold well within the numismatic and coin collector community.

There was controversy over the sale of collectible U.S. coins, as the mint made a considerable profit off partially silver coins.

1972 One Dollar Coin
1972 One Dollar Coin

The Ike Dollar Coin

Eisenhower dollars are often colloquially called “Ike dollars.” They were first minted in 1971. After Eisenhower’s death in March of 1969, legislators wanted to honor his life with a special coin. 

Once the Ike dollar went into production, the mint produced it in three locations.

You can tell where a given Ike dollar was made by looking at the mint mark, a tiny single-letter stamp below the portrait of Eisenhower, corresponding to the following:

  • San Francisco Mint – S
  • Denver Mint – D
  • Philadelphia Mint (no mark)

Notably, all Ike dollars containing silver were made at the San Francisco Mint with an “S” mint mark. 

So why wouldn’t a coin honoring a heroic president and general contain silver? Thanks to the rising prices of silver at the time, the value of a silver dollar as a coin would be lower than its value as bullion.

The mint addressed the issue with a mintage of copper-nickel-clad coins for general circulation and 40% silver-clad for collectors.

1972 one dollar coin

Why Is a 1972 Silver Dollar Valuable?

Not all types of 1972 silver dollar coins are valuable, but nearly all are at least worth a bit more than face value.

In some cases, silver-clad coins are worth more than copper-nickel-clad, although it’s not always true. You can buy 1972 40% silver dollar coins today in good condition for around $50. 1972 40% silver proof coins sell for $60.

One of the primary factors determining the value of a 1972 silver dollar is its condition. Uncirculated coins in pristine, mint condition with no marks can fetch $1,000 or more.

Another factor determining value is the specific type of Eisenhower dollar. Of the three main types of 1972 coins, type 2 is the rarest and most valuable.

1972 one dollar coin value
1972 One Dollar Coin

Three Types of the 1972 Eisenhower Dollar Coins

To the untrained eye, these three types of coins may look identical. However, when you compare the reverse sides, you’ll see a slight difference in the shape of Florida and Cuba — shown on the small globe above the eagle — that sets them apart.

1972 One Dollar Coin Value: Type 1

Type 1 silver dollars show Cuba as having a teardrop shape. In reality, Cuba has a crescent shape. A type 1 U.S. coin will also have a lower relief than the other types.

1972 One Dollar Coin Value: Type 2

The type II coin is the rarest and usually most valuable. It depicts Florida as more triangular than it actually is. Cuba and the Caribbean islands are harder to see or nonexistent.

1972 One Dollar Coin Value: Type 3

The type 3 variety looks the most like an actual map. Florida is more detailed; you can see both Cuba and the Caribbean islands.

The type isn’t the only factor determining the value of an Eisenhower dollar, however. The metal composition can also play a small role, and its condition is a significant determinant of price.

1972 one dollar coin
1972 one dollar coin reverse
Type 3 – 1972 Eisenhower dollar coin. Look closely at the globe above the eagle.

Which 1972 Eisenhower Dollars Are 40% Silver?

The Eisenhower dollars, made of 40% silver, were sold by mail order to collectors and not placed circulated coins. But before you buy one of these coins, you’ll want to see what type of metal it’s made of.

There’s an easy way to determine whether a coin is silver. Look right under Eisenhower’s neck for the mint mark on the obverse (heads side) of the coin.

If you see an “S” mint mark, the 1972 Ike dollar is silver. But it is not if you see a “D” or no mint mark. Only coins made at the San Francisco Mint are 40% silver.

40% silver Ike dollars are called “Brown Ikes” or “Blue Ikes.” Early sample-proof coins came in brown packaging and were called Brown Ikes. Uncirculated coins were shipped in blue packaging called Blue Ikes.

Some Eisenhower proof dollar coins are in cameo condition, with the raised design contrasting nicely with the low-relief background.

40% silver dollar coin
It’s easy to spot the 40% clad dollar from the copper-nickel-clad coin. It’s visibly much shinier, and the “S” mintmark is only on the silver-clad coins. (just below Eisnehower’s neck)
1972 clad dollar coin silver coin
Here’s a 40% silver 1972-dollar coin, with a 1972-clad dollar coin on top. You can easily see the difference between the silver clad and the copper-nickel-clad coins.
1972 dollar coin silver clad
The 40% silver-clad dollar on the left has the “S” mint mark. The copper-nickel-clad coin on the right does not have a mint mark.
1972 silver clad dollar coin comparison
Here’s one more look at the comparison between the 40% silver-clad dollar coin (bottom), and the copper-nickel-clad “Ike” dollar coin on top.

Which 1972 Eisenhower Dollars Are 90% Silver?

No standard-issue 1972 Eisenhower dollars were made of 90% silver. However, the Eisenhower Centennial Dollar, or Eisenhower Commemorative Dollar, was minted with silver.

This coin was made in 1990 at the United States Mint, 100 years after Eisenhower’s death. It features two portraits of Eisenhower on the obverse: one as president and the other as a general.

Only about 1.39 million of these coins were sold, which is relatively rare. Over 220 million total Eisenhower dollars were minted to put that number in perspective.

1972 ike one dollar coin
The reeded edge of the 1972 Eisenhower dollar coin.

1972 Eisenhower Silver Dollar Error Coins

Whether you’re an avid collector or just someone with a casual interest, looking for coins with errors can be fun. After all, not every coin collection is full of coins with rare errors!

Coin enthusiasts are still finding more errors and varieties of Ike dollars and other coins, but the most famous Eisenhower coin with an error is the type 2.

In making this type, the Philadelphia Mint accidentally used a reverse die (a stamp used to make coins) made for proof coins.

Because the mint used the wrong die, the islands shown on type 2 coins are hard to distinguish.

It took some time for the mint to discover and correct the error, but in the meantime, around 40,000 of the error coins were made.

1972 one dollar coin value

What Makes a 1972 One Dollar Coin Rare?

As you can see, not all 1972 silver dollars are considered rare coins. Two conditions must be met for a 1972 Ike dollar to be considered rare.

First, the coin must be part of a limited production run. Additionally, it must be in excellent condition.

If you’ve ever worked with a coin dealer, you may already be familiar with rare coin price guides and the complex coin grading system used to describe a coin’s condition.

Valuable Ike dollars must be high on the Mint State (M.S.) scale to have much value.

1972 ike dollar values

This scale starts at Uncirculated (MS60, 61, 62). NGC and PCGS follow these same grading scales, known as the Sheldon Scale.

Uncirculated condition coins that never entered general circulation but still have noticeable flaws will grade in the low 60s. At the upper end of the scale is Perfect Uncirculated (MS-70), a coin with no flaws.

Most type 2 Ike dollars that sell for thousands of dollars are graded at MS-65 to MS-66.

1972 Ike Eisenhower Dollar Value: A Great Introduction to Coin Collecting

Not all types of Ike dollars are rare, but that makes them a great introduction to U.S. coin collecting. If you’re new to the hobby or on a budget, you’ll still likely be able to find a few of these coins for a fair price. 

The 1776-1976 Eisenhower Bicentennial dollar coins are another great place to start your coin-collecting journey.

Same with the Kennedy half-dollar value, coins from the 1970s have a fascinating history, and we’ll discuss more about these coins soon.

Some of my favorite collector dollar coins are the Morgan silver dollar, the Sacagawea dollar, and the Susan B. Anthony dollar. But, for several reasons, the 1972 Eisenhower dollar coin is, by far, my favorite dollar coin of all time.

1972 one dollar coin value
valuable 1972 dollar coin value
1972 Silver Dollar
one dollar coin 1972 value
1972-S Silver Dollar

How Do I Sell My Coins? —> Top 7 Best Places to Sell Coins Online

Additional Resources

News Release of the 1972 Eisenhower Dollar – U.S. Mint

Rare Coin Values – PCGS

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