The 1976 Eisenhower Dollars are found in two varieties, identified by the style of lettering on the reverse of the coins. This year, the US Mint was using the special Bicentennial year reverse that featured an image of the Liberty Bell superimposed against the moon. The coins were struck during 1975 and 1976, although all coins carry the dual date “1776-1976.”
The Type 1 coins are generally encountered in lower grades and were minted in smaller numbers as compared to the Type 2 coins.
A total of eight different 1976 Eisenhower Dollars exist as a result of the varieties. The 1976, 1976-D, and 1976-S clad proof coins are found in either Type 1 or Type 2. The 1976-S silver proof and uncirculated coins are only found with the Type 1 reverse.
This variety shows bold, block lettering on the reverse of the coin. This type of lettering can be found on the earliest produced Philadelphia and Denver Mint circulation strikes, the clad proof 1976-S included in 1975 Proof Sets, all 40% Silver Proof 1976-S Eisenhower Dollars, and all 40% Silver Uncirculated 1976-S Eisenhower Dollars.
For the circulation strike coins, the Type 1 coins are much more difficult to obtain in high grades as compared to the later Type 2 coins. This is particularly true for the Philadelphia issue, which can sell for thousands of dollars for examples graded MS66.
This variety displays thinner, more elegant lettering on the reverse. This type can be found on the later produced Philadelphia and Denver circulation strikes and clad Proof 1976-S Eisenhower Dollars from 1976 Proof Sets.
In general, the Type 2 coins are found with much higher quality strikes and higher grades.