1976-S Proof Bicentennial Silver Eisenhower Dollar
Struck On Outer Clad Layer
This 1976-S Proof Type 1 Eisenhower Dollar is unique among Ikes, and all U.S. Dollars, of all years and types for being die struck both sides on a silver clad layer, composed of 80% silver and 20% copper. This Ike Dollar struck on a silver clad layer weighs just 4.04 grams, or 16% of an entire coin at approximately 24.624 grams. Other silver layer coins are known for Quarter and Half Dollar denominations that were die struck both sides, but this is unique for any Ike Dollar.
It is also struck using the original Type 1 Bicentennial design, used just for a short period of time before the change to Type 2.
This coin was just authenticated and certified by NGC as a Mint Error Struck on Outer Clad Layer (4.04g) and the variety as Silver. The coin was struck with proof dies and has deep mirrored surfaces with a 50 year old original film.
Silver clad Eisenhower Dollars were struck during 1971 to 1974 and for the dual dated 1776-1976 Bicentennial coins in 1975 and 1976, containing 40% silver. These coins have two outer layers of 80% silver and 20% copper surrounding a core of 20.9% silver and 79.1% copper. Each silver clad layer was approximately 20% of the overall weight but varied considerably between coins.
One of the most controversial categories of U.S. coins are mint errors. Many dealers and collectors, as well as coin auction houses, buy, sell, trade and auction many rare, exotic and unique major mint errors. Obviously, some of these defy logic and were intentionally created and taken out of the Mint.
In the early 2000's, a group of several hundred U.S. error coins were found in a safe-deposit box. Fred Weinberg purchased this group which included coins struck for proof sets and also coins struck for circulation. This group was auctioned by the California State Controller's Office of Unclaimed Property. The U.S. Secret Service inspected and released this collection to the State of California determining that it was legal to own. The State of California then auctioned the collection and the rest is history.
Another example of U.S. error coins escaping the Mint occurred in the 1970's. A hoard of proof error coins were smuggled out of the San Francisco Mint inside the oil pans of forklifts that were being serviced outside of the Mint. This topic was discussed in the June 6, 2022 Issue of Coin World, which covered Fred Weinberg's account of this story. The Coin World Managing Editor concluded:
Obviously, the marketplace accepts these coins, and some collectors are happy paying thousands of dollars for coins that show every indication of having been created through illegal means.
In Episode 11 of the PCGS video series Slab Lab, Seth Chandler interviews Fred Weinberg. In part 2 of the interview, Fred explains in detail why mint errors that are decades old are not recovered by the U.S. Mint. Fred's recollection of conversations in his office with the Chief of the U.S. Mint Police are extremely insightful and explain why the Mint doesn't attempt to recover error coins from decades ago.