Several folks responded to last week's question about the original mint issue price for "brown box" Eisenhower Proof dollars, as well as issue prices for the companion Uncirculated dollars in the familiar blue packaging.
David Ganz writes:
I'm pretty sure it was $10, causing a profit that Treasury Secretary John Connolly called "unconscionable."
Don Cleveland of Australia writes:
My 1978 Coin World Almanac, page 171, says in the chronology part for 1971: "January 29 -- Treasury announces Eisenhower dollars of 40 per cent silver will sell for $10 per coin in Proof and $3 per coin in Uncirculated. Orders will be accepted beginning July 1."
I won my almanac back then in some kind of coin quiz. It's the only CWA I have and I do not know if later editions carried this information.
Thanks! I've always thought the Coin World Almanac is an under-appreciated and underused reference. $10 and $3 are the prices I remember. Some of our readers are of the same generation as myself and recall these orders first hand.
Heath MacAlpine writes:
The proofs went for $10 each, while the uncirculated went for $3. I have a very clear memory of ordering the 1971 proof. I was 11 going on 12, had just started my paper route so I was flush with cash ($8 a week!) and was able to indulge my growing numismatic interests by ordering the coin directly from the mint.
I remember filling out the order form, available from either the local banks or the post office, and sending it off to San Francisco. After that, the mint had me on their mailing list and sent me a high-tech computer punch card order form each year; I bought a proof each year thru 1974, but never purchased the uncirculated issues.
David Lange writes:
I'm surprised that the issue price of the silver-clad proof Eisenhower Dollars is not widely known. I'll never forget it, because the price was so outrageously high for the time. The uncirculated, or "blue-pack" Ikes priced at $3 for the four years in which it was offered, 1971-74. The proof "brown-box" edition, however, was priced at a whopping $10 for a coin that had less than $1 worth of silver. The packaging accounted for some portion of this, but the real reason for the high price was that a good chunk of the proceeds was earmarked by Congress to go to the private Eisenhower College in New York. Despite this infusion of cash, the college ultimately folded, and collectors were angry about this subsidy at their expense. It was quite a widely reported story in the numismatic press at that time.
My parents paid for my purchase in 1971 of one coin each uncirculated and proof, and I bought the subsequent editions with my own money. By 1973 the first two years' coins had begun to fall below issue price in the secondary market, and this hurt sales of the 1973-S dollars. These had noticeably lower net mintages, which led to promotional hysteria and fairly high prices for them a few years later. The 1974-S dollar benefited slightly from this promotion, as well. It was still not enough to justify continued production of the silver-clad Ikes and, after the Bicentennial Dollars dated 1776-1976, the 1977-78 coins were made solely in copper-nickel-clad.
The 1971-74 silver clad coins are not covered in my proof set book, because they were never offered as part of complete proof sets; they were marketed by the Mint solely as stand-alone items. The Bicentennial silver-clad Ikes were not sold by themselves; rather they were offered in three-coin proof or uncirculated sets which included quarters and halves of similar composition, and the proof sets are covered in my book.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
QUERY: EISENHOWER PROOF DOLLAR ISSUE PRICES SOUGHT
Wayne Homren, Editor
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