The Joys of Collecting column from Jan. 4, 2016, monthly edition of Coin World:
Drawing in my own experiences with Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro, I was present at the creation of the Eisenhower dollars and subsequent Anthony dollars.
In 1977 Congress again sought to replace the paper dollar, which had a life of about 18 months in circulation, versus a durable dollar coin that was expected to last for 20 years or more.
That was the hope for the Ike dollar conceived in 1970 and first made in 1971, but reality proved to be different.
By 1977, a new cast of players was in office in Congress, where all coinage decisions are made. It was thought that a small-diameter dollar coin of significantly lighter weight than the Ike dollar could be easily carried.
The idea progressed, and in 1977 the Engraving Department at the Philadelphia Mint began creating designs in anticipation of appropriate legislation being passed.
On April 17, 1978, the Jimmy Carter administration submitted a recommendation to Congress to adopt the small dollar.
On May 1, this proposal was introduced in the House of Representatives by Walter E. Fauntroy and was referred to the House Committee on Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs. A Liberty Cap motif was proposed, a nod to tradition. In response, a marvelous array of different motifs was created, many of which will be illustrated in my new book.
The hands-on favorite by the Treasury, the Mint, and most collectors continued to be the Liberty Cap motif by Gasparro. Coin World and other publications showcased it. All was set.