The 1972 Eisenhower Dollar Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3
The three variations of the 1972 Eisenhower Dollar, all struck in Philadelphia, are best explained by photographs. But first, a slight Caribbean geography lesson is vital. Here is a map of the region, off the coast of Florida, as pictured on the reverse of the coin. Remember, the reverse design of the Ike dollar depicts the American Bald Eagle landing on the surface of the moon. The planet Earth's Western Hemisphere sits in the upper left background. In the map, note the relationship of Cuba to the United States and the island of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Also, note the relative small size of Jamaica. It is these three islands that help determine the variations of the 1972 Eisenhower Dollar.
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It is also very important to note the depiction of the United States and its border. Now, starting with the 1972 Type 1, take a close look at the USA. The terrain is completely flat and the USA border (especially the East Coast) is a raised mound. Cuba is barely represented, but visible. The island of Haiti/Dominican Republic is also visible, but weak. There is only a hint at Jamaica. Next, the 1972 Type 2 Eisenhower is extremely rare and sometimes referred to as "the King of Ikes". Somehow, a reverse proof die from San Francisco traveled over 2,500 miles and was incorporated into a business strike coin minted in Philadelphia. There are different theories on how this happened. Most likely, it was just a cost saving effort by the U.S. Government. If the reverse dies became badly worn or cracked in Philadelphia, rather than produce new reverse dies, they would have sent for and utilized reverse dies from San Francisco. The Bureau of Printing and Engraving did this all of the time with currency, creating mule notes. I've also included a picture of the 1972 San Francisco proof dollar below for comparison. In both examples, the 1972 Type 2 Philadelphia and the 1972 proof San Francisco dollar, you'll note the absence of definition in the islands altogether. The United States is in relief, not flat, and there is no raised border like the Type 1 and Type 3. The coastline is clearly visible. Last, the 1972 Type 3 had the reverse dies cleaned up and re-tooled. The United States is similar to the Type 1 variety. However, the three islands are quite distinct and their relationship to Florida better represents the true geography of the region. The United States is no longer flat and the borders are, once again, raised.
Note: All of the above pictures are actual photographs of professionally graded PCGS MS64 examples.
The 1976 Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar Type 1 and Type 2
The two types of the 1976 Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar, issued in 1975 and 1976, are a bit easier to identify. Again, we'll look at the reverse of the two coins. In the 1976 Type 1 variety, the lettering is a thick, bold block style. In the 1976 Type 2 variety, the lettering is thin, delicate and has a slight serif present. The Bicentennial Ike pictures are examples of the silver clad San Francisco proof. However, the same lettering and types were minted with the copper-nickel clad varieties in Denver and Philadelphia. I've also included a photograph of the 1972 San Francisco proof's reverse. Note the lack of definition in the islands... exactly like the business strike Type 2 variety pictured above.
I hope this guide helps you in determining which Eisenhower Dollar type you have.