Home U.S. Coin Forum

The Working Prototype 1971-S Eisenhower Dollars of Frank Gasparro

ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,811 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited December 27, 2022 5:16PM in U.S. Coin Forum

I'm a huge fan of Eisenhower dollars, they are our last huge circulating coins after all :D;)

With awesome coins like the Bronze Ike, the 3-Leaf Clover Ike and Copper Staple Ike, some people may find these even more amazing: "working prototypes" which are coins that Frank Gasparro used to perfect the Ike dollar for release. Amazingly, only 3 prototype strike coins are known and all were released into the public as ordinary coins!

It would take 37 years for the collecting community to discover this in 2008 and match it with the original galvanos. David Frohman speculates that Frank Gasparro found a way to release these coins into the public himself.

David Frohman said:
Anybody who knew anything about Frank Gasparro knew he was a different sort of character. At the Philadelphia Mint he was revered as a bit of a god. Maybe [Gasparro] wanted to create a lottery for collectors by sending out these prototypes in the Blue Packs? He was a unique guy and not known to be wasteful – it wouldn’t surprise me if he pulled this off somehow... It’s such an astonishing thing.

There are two theories on the origins of these, "The Philadelphia Mint Theory" and "The San Francisco Mint Theory". These are both discussed in the Mint Error News article below. Additional information is in the PCGS press release.

Only 3 of these coins are known with the following being the discovery coin.

Census from Mint Error News

  • Specimen 1 (2008, PCGS SP67) Lydson-Frohman: "On February 15, 2008, Eisenhower dollar expert collector Lee C. Lydston and his wife attended the "Long Beach" coin show. While there, Lee's wife called his attention to a dealer's table with tubes of Eisenhower dollars, of which one particular tube was found by Lee to contain a single 40% silver 1971-S Eisenhower dollar bearing an unusual appearance. [...] Lydston then chose to submit his discovery to the Eisenhower dollar experts at the respected Ike Group for their analysis. The Ike Group was founded by noted Eisenhower dollar expert and researcher Rob Ezerman, and its evaluation included comparison of an original 1970 Galvano at the Eisenhower Museum. The Ike Group, in turn, was responsible for its discovery there. Rob Ezerman was the lead author of the first scholarly article about the prototypes in 2008. This was then followed by Ezerman's role once again as the lead author of the next major scholarly work on the prototypes, written after a second prototype appeared in 2010 (see both articles on the Ike Group's website here https://www.ikegroup.info/?page_id=203.)"
  • Specimen 2 (2010, PCGS SP67) Chatham: "The second prototype was discovered in an Alabama pawn shop in 2010 by another Eisenhower dollar expert. It was also dated 1971-S and struck using the same reverse die as the Lydston prototype, but featured a unique obverse. It also had identical pliofilm hazing on its surfaces as the Lydston coin, but this time was reported to have been located still sealed within an official U.S. mint Blue Pack envelope. It was studied by the Ike Group, found to be a prototype, and later certified as such by PCGS circa 2019, after conservation."
  • Specimen 3 (2013, PCGS SP66) eBay: "A third prototype, which featured the same obverse and reverse as the present coin, was purchased on eBay in 2013. PCGS then certified it as the third prototype, and graded it Specimen-66. The eBay seller confirmed to the buyer that it was originally housed within a sealed U.S. mint Blue Pack pliofilm package."

Photos of the Lyston-Frohman and Chatham specimens are available. While the eBay 2013 specimen is graded PCGS SP66, I have not found any photos of it yet.

Lyston-Frohman Specimen
1971-S Eisenhower Dollar Prototype Strike - Discovery Coin
DDO-023/ODV-010/RDV-007
PCGS SP67 POP 1/0
Pedigree: Lee C. Lydston, David Frohman

Chatham Specimen
1971-S Eisenhower Dollar Prototype Strike
DMR-039/ODV-011/RDV-007
PCGS SP67 POP 1/0
Pedigree: Charles "Chuck" Chatham

eBay 2013 Specimen
1971-S Eisenhower Dollar Prototype Strike
DDO-023/ODV-010/RDV-007
PCGS SP66 POP 1/1
Pedigree: eBay 2013

Thanks to @dbldie55 for locating this coin!

It's very nice that this one has an older TrueView.

«1

Comments

  • messydeskmessydesk Posts: 19,679 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is cool! Thanks for sharing. It would appear the most noticeable difference is Ike's neck and the sharper lettering. Looks like also a different level of detail on Earth, and probably a ton of minor things.

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,811 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @messydesk said:
    This is cool! Thanks for sharing. It would appear the most noticeable difference is Ike's neck and the sharper lettering. Looks like also a different level of detail on Earth, and probably a ton of minor things.

    You're right, it would be great to do close ups of the differences. Here's the Earth. Will post more to compare.

  • ByersByers Posts: 1,457 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 9, 2021 9:30AM

    The Ike Dollar prototype is a part of numismatic history. New discoveries are always fascinating!!

    mikebyers.com Dealer in Major Mint Errors, Die Trials & Patterns - Author of NLG Best World Coin Book World's Greatest Mint Errors - Publisher & Editor of minterrornews.com.
  • braddickbraddick Posts: 23,072 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Neat conclusions. Great series!

    peacockcoins

  • CatbertCatbert Posts: 6,587 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great post!

    Is it my imagination that Ike's forehead and brow are brought forward more compared to the original design?

    "Got a flaming heart, can't get my fill"
  • gumby1234gumby1234 Posts: 5,423 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The eagles right wing feather details stand out as the biggest difference.

    Successful BST with ad4400, Kccoin, lablover, pointfivezero, koynekwest, jwitten, coin22lover, HalfDimeDude, erwindoc, jyzskowsi, COINS MAKE CENTS, AlanSki, BryceM

  • ByersByers Posts: 1,457 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Heritage has this Ike Dollar Prototype featured in their magazine:

    https://intelligentcollector.com/history-in-the-making-at-january-fun-auction/

    mikebyers.com Dealer in Major Mint Errors, Die Trials & Patterns - Author of NLG Best World Coin Book World's Greatest Mint Errors - Publisher & Editor of minterrornews.com.
  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting pieces. I have several (5 or 6) Ikes... some in original boxes. I have no idea where I acquired them all.. have had them for so long. I guess I should look at them and see if any are special. Cheers, RickO

  • SPalladinoSPalladino Posts: 832 ✭✭✭✭✭

    September, 2021...Jason Cuvelier (CONECA and Errorscope) suggested in an article "This is making me seriously consider delisting the RDV-007 and calling it RDV-002." :D

    My reply: https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vQP3zUBINsmSwJcAy2Ng9OnAcQMs_OHg_IE1GRa17fRDSUYw85feVRGgxEXAyhEQqa2EolG-izogr7f/pub

    Steve Palladino
    - Ike Group member
    - DIVa (Designated Ike Varieties) Project co-lead and attributor
  • dbldie55dbldie55 Posts: 7,719 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 10, 2021 4:23PM

    Here is a SP66, so may be the ebay coin from 2013.

    Prototype Strike DDO-023/ODV-010/RDV-007

    Collector and Researcher of Liberty Head Nickels. ANA LM-6053
  • Mr Lindy Mr Lindy Posts: 982 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Flat pack issue or brown box ?

  • dbldie55dbldie55 Posts: 7,719 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @LindyS said:
    Flat pack issue or brown box ?

    They say blue pack in the above thread.

    Collector and Researcher of Liberty Head Nickels. ANA LM-6053
  • Mr Lindy Mr Lindy Posts: 982 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 10, 2021 5:05PM

    SWEET ! I got me a short stack of five 1971S new in the kraft colored USPS wrapper of inherited flatties my Daddy bought back in the day... He really dug that 1971 release, then he bought no more IKE Mint issues after that. I miss Dad.

  • ZoidMeisterZoidMeister Posts: 3,021 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I wonder if I have one or three?

    I can see these showing up on fleaBay and Etsy for big dollars . . . . .

    "Unsearched 1971 Blue Envelopes"

    Z
    .

    .

    Busy chasing Carr's . . . . . woof!

    Successful BST transactions with: Bullsitter, Downtown1974, P0CKETCHANGE, Twobitcollector, AKbeez, DCW, Illini420, ProofCollection, DCarr, Cazkaboom, RichieURich, LukeMarshall, carew4me, BustDMs, coinsarefun, PreTurb, felinfoal, jwitten, GoldenEgg, pruebas, lazybones, COCollector, CuKevin, MWallace, USMC_6115, NamVet69, zippcity, . . . . who'd I forget?

  • ZoidMeisterZoidMeister Posts: 3,021 ✭✭✭✭✭

    One "Special Mint Set" with the first four purchases.

    Pre-auction price - only $195,500 . . . .

    Z

    .

    .

    Busy chasing Carr's . . . . . woof!

    Successful BST transactions with: Bullsitter, Downtown1974, P0CKETCHANGE, Twobitcollector, AKbeez, DCW, Illini420, ProofCollection, DCarr, Cazkaboom, RichieURich, LukeMarshall, carew4me, BustDMs, coinsarefun, PreTurb, felinfoal, jwitten, GoldenEgg, pruebas, lazybones, COCollector, CuKevin, MWallace, USMC_6115, NamVet69, zippcity, . . . . who'd I forget?

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,811 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @dbldie55 said:
    Here is a SP66, so may be the ebay coin from 2013.

    Prototype Strike DDO-023/ODV-010/RDV-007

    I think it has to be (like 99.999%) given the grade and designation. I've added it to the OP.

    Thanks @dbldie55!

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,811 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 11, 2021 8:14AM

    @ZoidMeister said:
    I wonder if I have one or three?

    I can see these showing up on fleaBay and Etsy for big dollars . . . . .

    "Unsearched 1971 Blue Envelopes"

    Z

    I have to check mine! Unfortunately, I think my proof mirrors are too flashy on mine, but it would be fun to check!

  • messydeskmessydesk Posts: 19,679 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Any idea if this is slated for inclusion in the CPG 6th ed we've been awaiting for at least 5 years?

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,811 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 29, 2021 11:04AM

    Wow! The Lydson-Frohman discovery specimen is up to $63,000.00 now! Any guesses on how high it will go?


  • ByersByers Posts: 1,457 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 7, 2022 4:41PM

    2 rare U.S. Dollars certified by PCGS in the same Heritage Platinum Auction:

    mikebyers.com Dealer in Major Mint Errors, Die Trials & Patterns - Author of NLG Best World Coin Book World's Greatest Mint Errors - Publisher & Editor of minterrornews.com.
  • FloridafacelifterFloridafacelifter Posts: 1,152 ✭✭✭✭✭

  • Che_GrapesChe_Grapes Posts: 1,851 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The blue Ike’s are not proofs - so these are being graded as SP designations but would be MS otherwise. The brown Ike’s are the proof versions.
    I have a 71 s that I have had for years and I think got from my dad - of course I’m gonna have a look! What a great post - thank you!

  • ByersByers Posts: 1,457 ✭✭✭✭✭

    FYI- the case shown is an early unused version, with information that was later updated.

    This image was accidentally released by Heritage early in the research phase.

    mikebyers.com Dealer in Major Mint Errors, Die Trials & Patterns - Author of NLG Best World Coin Book World's Greatest Mint Errors - Publisher & Editor of minterrornews.com.
  • ByersByers Posts: 1,457 ✭✭✭✭✭
    mikebyers.com Dealer in Major Mint Errors, Die Trials & Patterns - Author of NLG Best World Coin Book World's Greatest Mint Errors - Publisher & Editor of minterrornews.com.
  • FloridafacelifterFloridafacelifter Posts: 1,152 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Byers said:
    FYI- the case shown is an early unused version, with information that was later updated.

    This image was accidentally released by Heritage early in the research phase.

    I’m not following- what case are you referring to as being “an early unused one….image accidentally released by Heritage”?

  • IkesTIkesT Posts: 2,536 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Floridafacelifter said:

    @Byers said:
    FYI- the case shown is an early unused version, with information that was later updated.

    This image was accidentally released by Heritage early in the research phase.

    I’m not following- what case are you referring to as being “an early unused one….image accidentally released by Heritage”?

    A photo of the coin in the large holder originally appeared in the auction listing, just as you have photographed it. That auction photo was later removed.

  • FloridafacelifterFloridafacelifter Posts: 1,152 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I understand now- I didn’t see the listing when the photo of the large holder was previously posted online, I was only shocked by it yesterday when they handed me this giant box. It’s growing on me though…..

  • fathomfathom Posts: 1,513 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great info, thanks.

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,811 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 8, 2022 7:45AM

    Is it still in the Treasury holder at FUN now? Will the Treasury holder be included with the coin for the new owner?

  • DCWDCW Posts: 6,970 ✭✭✭✭✭

    So what are the differences in the "prototype" besides some detail in the globe, maybe sharper feathers? I'm not seeing anything jump out at me. Maybe a side by side comparison with a normal coin would bring this to life?

    Dead Cat Waltz Exonumia
    "Coin collecting for outcasts..."

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,811 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MrEureka Do you think these should be assigned Judd numbers? If so, what would need to be done for that to happen?

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,811 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 8, 2022 9:11AM

    @DCW said:
    So what are the differences in the "prototype" besides some detail in the globe, maybe sharper feathers? I'm not seeing anything jump out at me. Maybe a side by side comparison with a normal coin would bring this to life?

    This is covered in the Mint Error News article. I've provided a link and expert below. Click through for much more info.

    https://minterrornews.com/news-12-8-21-eisenhower-dollar-prototype-featured-in-the-upcoming-january-2022-fun-heritage-auction.html

    Mint Error News wrote:
    Under this scenario, the trial pieces struck in Philadelphia on January 25, 1971 were destroyed by the Director's Committee, as per Mint policy. Later, prototype dies were sent to the San Francisco Mint for trial striking on the proof machinery that was not available in Philadelphia. If the coins were struck from chrome-plated dies intended for proof production, on unpolished 40% silver planchets, that might account for the hybrid proof / business strike appearance of their surfaces. Also, we know that proofs were struck twice by the coin press, while the uncirculated specimens were only struck once. If the prototypes were only struck once as trial pieces for the uncirculated collector coins, it explains why some high relief design elements like the earth on the reverse were not completely brought up. While a strict accounting of the trial strikes was demanded, it is worth noting that their destruction was not explicitly required. It seems entirely possible, even likely, that the trial strikes were considered so close to the final design as to be indistinguishable from regular issues by the general public, or even Mint employees. Indeed, chief engraver Frank Gasparro was under great pressure to get "anything and everything" out of the door, as they were so far behind. The prototypes then went unnoticed for 37 years before a series specialist discovered one. Under these circumstances, it might be possible for the prototypes to be treated as regular issues, and shipped to the New York Assay Office for sale in "Blue Packs". Hopefully, further research in the National Archives, once it reopens, will shed more light on the origin of these mysterious prototypes.

  • DCWDCW Posts: 6,970 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm not seeing the differences in this thing significant enough to merit a Judd number. I agree it is a prototype, but how could this be stretched into being considered a pattern if all the design elements are essentially the same?

    Dead Cat Waltz Exonumia
    "Coin collecting for outcasts..."

  • RadioContestKingRadioContestKing Posts: 3,002 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @19Lyds Lee is a member on this forum and maybe he can share more info....It was a amazing discovery... I am sure he had a thread about on here somewhere,,,,,

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=UayFm2yCHV8
    I used to be famous now I just collect coins.


    Link to My Registry Set.

    https://pcgs.com/setregistry/quarters/washington-quarters-specialty-sets/washington-quarters-complete-variety-set-circulation-strikes-1932-1964/publishedset/78469

    Varieties Are The Spice Of LIFE and Thanks to Those who teach us what to search For.
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,811 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @1tommy said:
    @19Lyds Lee is a member on this forum and maybe he can share more info....It was a amazing discovery... I am sure he had a thread about on here somewhere,,,,,

    Very cool! I didn't make the connection but it's amazing to have a forum member be the discoverer!

  • ByersByers Posts: 1,457 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 9, 2022 12:07PM

    It’s an amazing discovery!

    mikebyers.com Dealer in Major Mint Errors, Die Trials & Patterns - Author of NLG Best World Coin Book World's Greatest Mint Errors - Publisher & Editor of minterrornews.com.
  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,935 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There's a reason it went undiscovered for 50 years.

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,811 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 9, 2022 3:24PM

    @Weiss said:
    There's a reason it went undiscovered for 50 years.

    It's actually only 37 years, but the most important thing that probably happened in that time is that Eisenhower dollars went from being moderns to classics, so much so that CAC stickers them!

    And of course, that's still just a third of the 108 years it took to discover the 1870-S Half Dime in 1978!

    It's amazing that forum member Lee @19Lyds was able to make this discovery and Mike @Byers was able to post it in Mint Error News! This is part of what makes these forums so special!

  • fiftysevenerfiftysevener Posts: 896 ✭✭✭✭

    These Specimens appear to be of higher grade than the label suggests. I wonder if in hand some hairlines or rub would be seen.

  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,935 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There's a reason it went undiscovered for 37 years.

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,811 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 9, 2022 6:50PM

    @Weiss said:
    There's a reason it went undiscovered for 37 years.

    Given that you've posted something very similar twice now, do you care to elaborate what you think the reason is?

    I've mentioned in that time Eisenhower Dollars have gone from being moderns to classics which can account for rising collector interest. Certainly prices on proof Eisenhower dollar errors are going through the roof now like the following:

    My thoughts on collector interest have to do with what we see in other areas, like very minor newly issued Lincoln Cent varieties being discovered and documented quickly due to collector interest, even though others may think they are very minor and perhaps even insignificant.

    It's all due to amount of collector interest to me.

  • cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting. I seem to recall having a couple of distinctive blue pack Ikes from 1971 with noticeably proof like fields and unusual surfaces. I kept them as a curiosity and never thought much of them. I'll have to see if I can find them and compare the die characteristics to Lee's coin and the other two.

  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,935 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My thoughts are simply that whatever it is that separates this incredible discovery from other strikes is so minor that nobody noticed them for nearly 4 decades. A slightly more grainy moon? Hazing on the surfaces?

    You're kidding me, right?

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,811 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 9, 2022 5:46PM

    @Weiss said:
    My thoughts are simply that whatever it is that separates this incredible discovery from other strikes is so minor that nobody noticed them for nearly 4 decades. A slightly more grainy moon? Hazing on the surfaces?

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    I think it's more that no one was looking for it, like they do for other coins, like Lincoln Cents.

    You're kidding me, right?

    You may be better off asking the Ike Group. Try here:

    https://www.ikegroup.info/?page_id=203

  • cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Weiss said:
    My thoughts are simply that whatever it is that separates this incredible discovery from other strikes is so minor that nobody noticed them for nearly 4 decades. A slightly more grainy moon? Hazing on the surfaces?

    You're kidding me, right?

    There's precedent for it. The 1927 specimen buffalo nickel wasn't recognized until the late 1980s or early 1990s when JA realized it looked different than the others. The 1964 SMS coinage is another example. How long did it take for the Morelan 1794 specimen dollar to be recognized as such?

    I understand your skepticism, as I too am very cautious about the hype that various "special" strikes get and many of them appear to be nothing more than ordinary PL business strikes. In this case, however, it looks like there may be diagnostic evidence to back it up. (I haven't read the underlying articles or research, but if true, it would support the use of a specimen designation).

  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,935 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 9, 2022 5:54PM

    @cameonut2011 said:

    There's precedent for it. The 1927 specimen buffalo nickel wasn't recognized until the late 1980s or early 1990s when JA realized it looked different than the others.

    That would seem to reinforce my position rather than weaken it. If it takes 6 decades to recognize that hey, something is slightly different! then it's really, really minor.

    The 1907 Saint, the 1921 Peace. The type 1 buffalo. Throwing in an extra word like "cents" when you realize your omission might have been a mistake. Those are interesting to me. I can look at a Cheerios dollar or even an accented hair Kennedy and see there was something different going on. These Ikes? Not so much.

    There's no great mystery as to why these Ikes found their way into broader distribution. They weren't important enough to keep.

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,811 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 9, 2022 7:04PM

    @Weiss said:

    @cameonut2011 said:

    There's precedent for it. The 1927 specimen buffalo nickel wasn't recognized until the late 1980s or early 1990s when JA realized it looked different than the others.

    That would seem to reinforce my position rather than weaken it. If it takes 6 decades to recognize that hey, something is slightly different! then it's really, really minor.

    The 1907 Saint, the 1921 Peace. The type 1 buffalo. Throwing in an extra word like "cents" when you realize your omission might have been a mistake. Those are interesting to me. I can look at a Cheerios dollar or even an accented hair Kennedy and see there was something different going on. These Ikes? Not so much.

    There's no great mystery as to why these Ikes found their way into broader distribution. They weren't important enough to keep.

    I think it depends on the way you look at it. Physically, it may be very minor, but from a production perspective, it may be very significant. Certain people only care about the final output while others care about the production process. I think it's the people that care about what Gasparro was doing to issue these coins that are driving the demand and interest in them.

  • davewesendavewesen Posts: 5,831 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You may be better off asking the Ike Group. Try here:

    https://www.ikegroup.info/?page_id=203

    After reading through the 42 pages, I was surprised how many differences there actually are.

  • SPalladinoSPalladino Posts: 832 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Zoins said:

    You're right, it would be great to do close ups of the differences. Here's the Earth. Will post more to compare.

    Note the die scratch heading northeast from about South Carolina. Present on all three prototypes.
    Note the Caribbean islands orientation. Different from every other production reverse, and present on all three prototypes.
    Pretty easy to identify......nearly impossible to find.

    More comparative photos here, along with a few references on the prototypes: https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vQP3zUBINsmSwJcAy2Ng9OnAcQMs_OHg_IE1GRa17fRDSUYw85feVRGgxEXAyhEQqa2EolG-izogr7f/pub

    Steve Palladino
    - Ike Group member
    - DIVa (Designated Ike Varieties) Project co-lead and attributor

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Emoji
Image
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file