Amidst early difficulties producing Eisenhower Dollars on copper-nickel clad planchets, the United States Mint created three different reverse designs. The Type 1 design, prepared in low relief, was used for coins struck during the first year of issue. The Type 2 had a high relief design and was used for the 40% silver Eisenhower Dollars struck in 1972. The Type 3 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 low 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.
The 1972 Eisenhower Dollar Type 1 (Buy on eBay) 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 1972 Eisenhower Dollar Type 2 (Buy on eBay) 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, a single die pair was also used to strike some 1972 Eisenhower Dollars at the Philadelphia facility. Based on estimated die life, this would give the variety an estimated mintage of 100,000 to 200,000 pieces. Very few examples have survived in gem grades or finer, earning this modern coin a substantial premium.
The 1972 Eisenhower Dollar Type 3 (Buy on eBay) 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.