Amidst early difficulties producing the new Eisenhower Dollars on copper nickel clad planchets, the US Mint had created three different reverse designs. The Type 1 design, prepared in low relief, was used for coins produced during the first year of issue. The Type 2 design had a high relief design and was used for the 40% silver Eisenhower Dollars struck in 1972. The Type 3 design was created after more resilient die steel became available, allowing the copper nickel clad coins to be struck in higher relief.
These three reverse types were used on different coins of the series with one exception. The 1972 Eisenhower Dollars struck at the Philadelphia Mint used each of the different reverse types at various times during the year. This created three different varieties, with one of them representing a lower mintage rarity.
The varieties can most easily be attributed based on differences in the appearance of the Earth pictured in the background of the reverse design.
This type can be identified by the three islands, which appear to the right of Florida. The design also has some flatness at the 9 o’clock to 11 o’clock area of the Earth.
This design had overall low relief and was used for all business strike coins issued in 1971. The 1972-D Eisenhower Dollars used this reverse type throughout the year. In 1972, the Philadelphia Mint used this reverse at the beginning of the year.
The rare Type 2 can be identified by the lack of islands beneath Florida. Incuse water lines appear in their place. The design also shows a lack of detail in the continents.
This reverse which featured a higher relief was used for the 1972-S Proof and Uncirculated Eisenhower Dollars. Either by accident or as an experiment, this reverse type was also used to strike some 1972 Eisenhower Dollars at the Philadelphia facility. Based on die life, it is estimated that less than 100,000 were produced.
The Type 2 1972 Eisenhower Dollar carries a premium even in lower grades due to its rarity. Examples graded MS65 can sell for around $2,000. The few pieces graded MS66 command six figure prices.
This type is identified by the three islands which appear beneath and to the left of Florida. The overall relief and details of the earth also appear strengthened.
This reverse was created after more resilient die steel became available. It was used for the remainder of the Philadelphia Mint’s production of the 1972 Eisenhower Dollar. In the following year, this reverse type was used for all business strike and proof Eisenhower Dollars.