The Eisenhower Dollar series, initiated in 1971 to honor the 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, has become a captivating chapter in the world of numismatics. Among the coins in this series, the 1978-D Eisenhower Dollar, a copper-nickel clad large dollar, stands out as a key date, bearing unique characteristics that have captured the attention of collectors and enthusiasts alike.
The 1978-D Eisenhower Dollar was minted at the Denver Mint, denoted by the “D” mintmark. This particular year marked the end of an era, as it was the final year of production for the Eisenhower Dollar series for general circulation. The coin’s composition consists of a copper-nickel clad composition, a characteristic shared with its predecessors in the series.
The obverse of the 1978-D Eisenhower Dollar features a distinctive left-facing profile of President Eisenhower, designed by Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro. The design pays homage to Eisenhower’s leadership during World War II, showcasing a stately and dignified portrait.
The reverse of the coin exhibits a majestic depiction of the Apollo 11 mission insignia, celebrating the historic moon landing in 1969. The central focus is on an eagle holding an olive branch, symbolizing peace, while landing on the moon’s surface. The Earth looms in the background, emphasizing the significance of human achievement in space exploration.
Mintage and Rarity
The 1978-D Eisenhower Dollar holds a special place in numismatic history due to its relatively low mintage compared to other years in the series. While the exact mintage figures vary slightly across sources, it is generally accepted that approximately 33 million 1978-D Eisenhower Dollars were produced for circulation. Despite being minted in large numbers compared to earlier years, the 1978-D is considered scarcer, adding to its allure for collectors.
The collectability and value of the 1978-D Eisenhower Dollar have been influenced by factors such as its limited mintage, historical significance, and the enduring popularity of the series among collectors. In circulated condition, the coin is often available at a modest premium above its face value. However, in uncirculated or higher-grade conditions, particularly those graded by professional grading services, the 1978-D Eisenhower Dollar commands higher prices in the numismatic market.
An Eisenhower Dollar from 1978 in circulated condition is worth between $1.05 and $1.50 (As of November 2023, NGC Price Guid). However, on the open market 1978 D Silver Dollars in pristine, uncirculated condition sell for as much as $6,000 USD.
Collectors interested in the 1978-D Eisenhower Dollar may encounter challenges associated with finding coins in mint condition. Given that these coins were primarily intended for general circulation, locating specimens with minimal wear and well-preserved surfaces can be a rewarding yet challenging endeavor.
While the Denver mint struck just over 33 million Eisenhower dollars in 1978, many of these coins made their way to Las Vegas and Atlantic City slot machines, where they were put through much abuse.
Obverse Designer: Frank Gasparro
Reverse Designer: Frank Gasparro
Composition: Copper-Nickel Clad Copper