Generally common modern-era coins, like the 1973-D Eisenhower dollar, can become exceptionally rare — and expensive — in top grades. This one, graded Mint State 67, realized $12,925 at Heritage’s June 6 Long Beach, Calif., auction.
The rarest Eisenhower dollars continue to attract the attention of moneyed collectors as evidenced by the increasingly high prices being achieved at auction for the exceptional examples.
At Heritage’s June 6 Long Beach auction, a Numismatic Guaranty Corp. Proof 68 Ultra Cameo 1971-S Eisenhower silver-copper clad dollar with the Type One, Low Relief reverse (and a doubled die obverse) realized $9,400.
“Normal” Proof 1971-S Eisenhower silver-copper clad dollars in this grade are worth around $20. As Heritage describes it, the rarer Type One reverse has more intricate details on the eagle’s feathers and more clearly defined islands in the Caribbean Sea on the reverse’s depiction of Earth.
An especially interesting point about the offered coin is that it featured special packaging, a cardboard “Brown Box” that bears a golden plastic replica of the Seal of the President of the United States and the embossed facsimile signature “Richard Nixon” below. One story surrounding these coins — of which only a few have surfaced — is that they were distributed at a special presentation ceremony where President Nixon was in attendance.
Several collectors must have agreed with the cataloger’s statement, “This intriguing Eisenhower dollar offers an exciting opportunity for the vanguard collector of the series.”
One of just nine “normal” 1971-S Eisenhower silver-copper clad dollars graded Proof 70 Deep Cameo by Professional Coin Grading Service brought $4,700. Two years ago they were bringing $2,600 to $2,800 at auction.
As grading service population reports mature, and as more people submit modern-era coins like Eisenhower dollars for third-party certification, the true rarity of many issues in top-grades is becoming clear.
Also in Long Beach, Heritage sold a 1973-D dollar graded PCGS Mint State 67 for $12,925. It is tied with 10 others for the finest certified at PCGS, and on May 1, 2011, Heritage sold another comparable example for $6,325.
For comparison, a 1973-D dollar graded MS-66 with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker realized $499.38 in Long Beach. PCGS has graded nearly 300 examples of this issue in MS-66.
Two 1973 dollars, both graded PCGS MS-66, sold for $998.75 and $763.75. PCGS has graded fewer than 100 in MS-66 with none finer. ■