How Much Is A Bicentennial Silver Dollar Worth?

How Much Is A Bicentennial Silver Dollar Worth

A bicentennial silver dollar is a reverse of the Eisenhower dollar coin. The essence of it was to celebrate the memorial of the 200th birthday celebration of the bicentennial of American independence. The bicentennial coins created were of two different types. Type one was for circulation and type two was to be a collectible. In creating Type one, they used copper alloy /based metal while they used 40% silver for Type two.

The question is: how much is a bicentennial silver dollar worth?

Due to the remarkable history surrounding the mint of the bicentennial Eisenhower dollar coin, most coin collectors are eager to know how much a bicentennial silver dollar worth is. One can measure its worth through the rise and fall in the value of silver. For example, if silver contents are worth around $20 per ounce, a bicentennial silver dollar will worth around $14, while proofs will worth $20. Although there are two types of the bicentennial dollar, they both share the same design.

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Bicentennial Coinage Design And Sales

The Bicentennial coinage is what we also refer to as the complete set of circulating commemorative coins. The coinage consists of a dollar, half a dollar, and a quarter that was struck in 1975 and 1976 by the United States Mint. Both the Eisenhower dollar, Kennedy half a dollar, and Washington quarter coin bears the double date 1776-1976 at the obverses regardless of when struck. None of the three denominations carries the year 1975 during the bicentennial celebration.

A nationwide design competition held to determine the final design for the obverse of the coinage. The designs chosen was the design of the Liberty Bell overlapped against the moon, for the dollar. The plan for the half dollar was the Independence hall, while the design for the quarter was the Colonial drummer.

The coinage is still standard in modern days due to the large quantity struck. The circulation pieces were in copper-nickel, while 45,000,000 40% of silver pieces were for collectors. It happened that there was the sale of over half of the bicentennial silver coins before its withdrawal from sales in 1986.

The Bicentennial Coinage Competition

The Treasury Department announced a design competition on the 23rd of October, 1973, for the reverse design of the dollar, half a dollar, and quarter coin. Every citizen was eligible to enter the competition, except persons chosen to be on the panel and the sculptors employed by the US government. These were the only categories of persons that one could consider ineligible to participate in the competition.

Citizens were to submit a photograph or drawing of his or her desired design bearing the “quarter dollar” inscription. Shultz, who was the Treasury Secretary at that time and a panel of judges selected by the National Sculpture Society, would decide the design which they will use for each denomination. The inscription for higher denominations was to change to half a dollar and one dollar.

The price tag for each winner was $5,000. Also, the reverses would bear the motto “e Pluribus Unum” and the country’s name. The 14th of December, 1973, was the first deadline for submission but later extended to the 9th of January, 1974, due to Christmas mail delays and energy crisis.

They chose West Point as the venue for judging the designs. However, due to the delay, it shifted to the Philadelphia mint. The mint received up to 884 entries and 15,000 inquiries before the deadline. Each sculptor that submitted won a $750 prize, however, only twelve designs made it to the semifinal.

They encouraged and assisted the competitors in making plaster models and putting their work in the models if they had not done so already. Three persons won the competition. The first winner of the coinage competition was Mr. Jack L. Ahr, who lived at 1802 South Highland Avenue, Arlington Heights, Illinois. The panel chose his design “the colonial drummer” to appear on the reverse of the quarter.

Mr. Seth G. Huntington, who was staying at 4153 Aldrich Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota, also won the competition. They chose his design of the Independence Hall to appear at the back of the half dollar.

The third winner was Mr. Dennis R. Williams, a student at the Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, Ohio. They chose his design of the moon and Liberty Bell combination to appear on the obverse of the dollar.

The Bicentennial Coinage Issue Of 1975–1976

Within 1892 and 1954, the United States government issued out commemorative coins basically to raise funds for some organizations that were worthy of federal support. A sponsoring organization receives the right to purchase the issue at the standard value and sell it back to the public at a premium value to gain dividends.

However, there were lots of complaints from the public concerning private organizations purchasing the coins and reselling them for private profit. The people believed that these organizations should not use public coins for private gain.

Also, various problems, including the mishandling of distributions, led the firm, Treasure Department, to oppose the continual issuance of the coin. Thus, the issuance of the coin stopped, and there was no striking of the coin after 1954.

In 1966, Congress formed an oversight body known as The American Revolutionary Bicentennial Commission (ARBC). The essence of the ARBC was to manage the upcoming 200th anniversary of American independence (bicentennial) planned for 1976. Meanwhile, in 1970, the bicentennial medals and coins advisory committee suggested the issuance of a particular half dollar in memory of the 200th bicentennial celebration.

The committee also suggested the redesign of already circulating American coins. At first, the United States Mint and Brooks department opposed the proposals but later went ahead to redesign the reverses of the dollar, half a dollar, and quarter coins. It also added that it could issue an exclusive collectible set in silver clad.

President Nixon signed the legislation that authorized it on the 18th of October, 1973. The legislation provided for the minting of the dollar, half a dollar, and quarter coins denomination from the 4th of July, 1975, to the 31st of December, 1976, and would bear the date 1776-1976 and special reverses. Also, there were expectations of 45 million coins in silver clad to sell to the public at a premium.

Bicentennial Dollar Coin

After the era of the peace dollar coin that ended in 1935, there was no dollar coin in print for up to 30 years. In 1965 bullion prices were on the rise. The effect of it is that it made the United States Mint start striking copper-nickel coins rather than silver coins. However, in 1969, legislators sought to reestablish a dollar coin.

With the ongoing consideration waiting to gain approval, there came the sudden death of Eisenhower in March 1969. Thus, many proposals stated that the printing of the new dollar coin should gear towards honoring Eisenhower by putting his face at the front. Finally, in 1971, the United States Mint started issuing the Eisenhower dollar coin, which was the first coin of that denomination since the end of the peace dollar coin in 1935.

Frank Gasparro designed both sides of the coin. At the front of the coin was President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and at the back of the coin is an image of the moon to honor the Apollo 11 moon mission designed by astronaut Michael Collins. Before the release of the coin for circulation, a dispute between supporters was on whether the coin should be 40% silver or in the base metal. The disagreement caused a delay but was later resolved in 1979 when they were able to reach a compromise.

The newly accepted idea was that the mint would strike the Eisenhower dollar in 40% silver as a collectible and also in base metal for circulation. On the 31st of December 1970, President Richard Nixon, who was the vice president to President Eisenhower, signed the legislation that authorized the mintage of the new dollar coin.

The new dollar coin named the Eisenhower coin didn’t do very well in circulation except within Nevada casinos, where it replaced private issued tokens. But the collector’s pieces received full acceptance, which resulted in massive sales of the silver coin. In 1975, the mint deliberated to replace the Eisenhower dollar coin with a smaller sized piece and also to mark the bicentennial of American independence.

Dennis E Williams did a special reverse of the dollar coin, which included adding a double date to the dollar coin between1776 to 1976. However, from 1975, coins started having double dates, which is 1776-1976, to signify the 200th celebration of the bicentennial of American Independence. The Eisenhower coin also reversed to the bicentennial dollar coin.


The bicentennial coinage is one of the best projects ever by the US government though it experienced little success. The coinage marks a memorable day for the United States of America. These and many more reasons are why how much is a bicentennial silver dollar worth will be a repeated question in the United States of America.

While speculations show that the coin circulation failed due to the low valued metals used to strike it, the bicentennial silver dollar collectible expects to increase in value because of the bicentennial celebration. Americans will be delighted to have such a piece in their coin inventory.

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