Following Dwight D. Eisenhower’s death in 1969, legislation to strike a new dollar coin honoring the former president and general was signed by President Richard Nixon in 1970. This would be the first official dollar coin struck by the United States Mint since the end of the Peace dollar series in 1935, and would also be the first U.S. dollar coin series to feature a copper-nickel clad metallic base.
While Eisenhower dollars (made from 1971 through 1978) would be struck in copper-nickel clad for circulation, the United States Mint in San Francisco also offered the coin in 40 percent silver for collectors. These 40 percent silver dollars are available in two varieties – the 1971-S uncirculated and 1971-S proof varieties (also referred to as “blue pack” and “brown pack,” respectively, to identify the color and type of mint packaging they originally came in).
6,868,530 uncirculated 1971-S Eisenhower dollars were struck while 4,265,234 proof specimens were made. The values of these coins are somewhat dependent on prevailing silver values. Though, with silver at around $20 per ounce, expect to pay about $9 for the uncirculated variety and around $11 for the proof version. High-grade Eisenhower dollars are extraordinarily difficult to find, and if you can locate any, expect to pay heavy premiums, as most of these large coins unfortunately have contact marks and other imperfections.