Proof copper-nickel clad Ike?

Why does D Mint mark float?
Published : 02/12/12
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I have a Proof 1971-S Eisenhower clad dollar still in its Littleton package. I can’t find a value for this coin in the “Red Book” or Coin World’s Coin Values. Is this a rare coin? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Glenn Mullins

Roanoke, Va.

No Proof Eisenhower copper-nickel clad dollars were struck in 1971 and 1972; they were minted from 1973 to 1978 only. Littleton Coin Co.’s description of the coin (illustrated above) as a copper-nickel clad piece (“CN Clad”)appears to be in error. It is likely an Uncirculated or Proof silver-copper clad coin issued for collector sales.

The 1971-S Eisenhower silver-copper clad dollars (40 percent silver) are not rare. The San Francisco Assay Office struck 4,265,234 Proof coins and 6,868,530 Uncirculated coins (a number much smaller than the copper-nickel clad coins struck for circulation at the Philadelphia and Denver Mints).

The value of 1971-S “Ike” silver dollars is largely based on their silver content (80 percent silver, 20 percent copper, bonded to a core of 21.5 percent silver, 78.5 percent copper, equaling an actual pure silver weight of 9.84 grams/0.32 ounce). Only high-grade Proof and Uncirculated pieces possess a noticeable numismatic premium beyond their silver content.

Coin World lists retail values for this series in its monthly Coin World Special Edition, online at and in the Coin World Guide to U.S. Coins, published annually.

I have 1971-D Jefferson 5-cent coins that differ in the placement of their D Mint mark — some close to the date, others not. Are these recognized varieties?

Evelyn Hall

Charleston, S.C.

A “floating” Mint mark is a common occurrence on U.S. coins struck prior to the 1990s.

The different positions of the Mint marks result from the hand placement of the Mint marks on individual working dies until 1990 and 1991. Mint marks were hand punched on the working die up until those years, so position can noticeably vary.

Unless the positioning of the D Mint mark is so great that it touches another design element, such as the date, the coins carry no premiums.

For spotting collectible coin varieties, Volumes I and II of The Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties of United States Coins by Bill Fivaz and J.T. Stanton are recommended, as well as staying tuned to Coin World’s “Collectors’ Clearinghouse” and “Varieties Notebook” columns.

Coin World’s Readers Ask department does not accept coins or other items for examination without prior permission from staff member Erik Martin. Readers Ask also does not examine error or variety coins. Materials sent to Readers Ask without prior permission will be returned unexamined. Please address all Readers Ask inquiries to or call 800-673-8311, Ext. 274.

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