If you have stumbled across a silver dollar from 1971, you should keep hold of it until you have it valued. 1971 silver dollars are not only a rare coin and highly desirable for collectors, but they could also be worth a small fortune.
The silver dollar itself has intrinsic value because of the silver it is made from. Aside from this core value, the rarity of the 1971 silver dollar makes it a collectable coin for enthusiasts all over the world.
There are several things that can impact the value of your silver dollar, from the type of auction you sell the coin, to the grading and condition of the coin itself. This guide breaks down everything you need to know about the dollar and gives you price indications of how much a 1971 silver dollar value is today.
Quick Summary: How Much Is A 1971 Silver Dollar Worth Today?
The 1971 silver dollar, which refers to the Eisenhower dollar, is worth $26 in uncirculated excellent condition (MS65). To get the full $26, it needs to be verified as the Eisenhower dollar – the best way to do this is by weighing it. Learn how to do this below. It also needs to be assessed and graded at MS65.
If your 1971 silver dollar is not in MS65 condition but is close, you can expect around $15. This goes for proof coins too.
Read our full guide below to find out why the coin is worth this much and how to grade/value your treasure!
An Introduction to Silver Dollars
The US treasury has minted dollar coins in precious metals since their introduction in 1794. That means you can find dollar coins made of gold and silver among the other types of base metals used to construct dollar coins.
Gold dollars haven’t been minted for a long time, and as a result can be incredibly difficult to find, even in specialist auctions or collectors’ markets. Dollar coins themselves have never really been adopted by the American public when compared to the dollar bill (printed money). As a result, dollar coins are no longer minted and since 2011, the US treasury has focused on printing dollar bills exclusively.
Dollar coins can range in value for collectors depending on several factors. The factors that typically affect whether a dollar coin is valuable or not are:
- How many coins were minted in total (rarity).
- Whether the coins had errors when minting (error coins).
- The condition the coin is in (relief, markings etc.).
- Whether the coin has been cleaned (cleaning a coin devalues it).
- If it has a specific relief (limited edition mints).
When all these factors are considered, you get an idea of how much your 1971 silver dollar is worth.
The 1971 Silver Dollar: History And Rarity
Now we have looked at dollar coins as a whole, let’s look at the 1971 silver dollar coin specifically.
Specifications for the 1971 Silver Dollar
|Other Names||Eisenhower Dollar (S Eisenhower Silver Dollar)|
|Metal Composition||Copper 60% / Silver 40%|
|Silver Weight||0.3161 oz|
|Total Weight||24.59 grams|
|Face Value||One US dollar|
|Current Silver Bullion Value (at time of writing)||$6.40|
The 1971 Eisenhower Dollar Coin Mint
In 1971, the US treasury minted a three types of dollar coin.
The coin this article is concerned with, the Eisenhower 1971 silver dollar coin, was minted as an uncirculated coin or as a proof coin. The mint mark itself can be found above the date on the coin.
The other two variants of the 1971 dollar were circulated and are much less valuable as a result. The first of these was a copper-nickel clad coin and it has no mint mark. The second does have a mint mark and is known as the 1971 D Eisenhower and is also copper nickel clad.
How Do I Differentiate Between the 1971 Dollar Coins?
There are three ways to distinguish between the 1971 dollar coins.
- Mint Marks – two of the three coins have mint marks, and the remaining coin doesn’t have one.
- Weight – the 1971 silver dollar weighs 24.59 grams in total, the other two variants weigh 22.68 grams.
- Appearance – depending on the condition, the 1971 silver dollar should look shinier than the other variants.
Rarity of the 1971 Silver Dollar
The proof 1971 silver dollar was heavily minted for what’s considered a rare coin. In total, the US mint turned out 4,265,234 proof coins.
The uncirculated version is slightly more valuable because it wasn’t as heavily minted as the proof version.
The 1971 Silver Dollar Value Today
As discussed, there are several considerations that need to be made when evaluating the value of a 1971 silver dollar.
But to give you a quick answer:
- Perfect condition, uncirculated – MS65 – $26
- Excellent condition, uncirculated – MS63 – $15
If the condition is any less than excellent, it may be better to sell it as silver. The 1971 silver dollar is just over 0.3161 oz of silver, meaning the material itself is worth around $6.40 today.
What Makes a 1971 Silver Dollar Rare?
Because the 1971 silver dollar was uncirculated or used as a proof coin, you will ideally be looking at a high condition coin that has no wear or tear and hasn’t been cleaned.
Why Does Cleaning a Coin Devalue it?
Cleaning coins can have a marked difference on the price. It is estimated that cleaning a coin will devalue it by as much as 70%.
The 1971 silver dollar has two advantages that make it less likely to be dirty, the first is they weren’t circulated or used as proof coins (so they shouldn’t have accumulated dirt from usage). The second is the year 1971 is too recent to have built up too much dirt if they were left sitting around and collecting dust.
Cleaning a coin impacts the coin for two reasons:
- Collectors seek out coins that are ‘original’ rather than look as good as new. For example, a filthy coin from 1850 will be worth more than a cleaned coin from 1850.
- Cleaning processes tend to damage the surface of a coin, leaving tiny scratches and marks that are visible when a coin is appraised. It is very rare to see a cleaned coin without damage because of the cleaning process as most precious metals are soft and easily marked.
Grading a 1971 Silver Dollar
Grading is how coins are evaluated for condition. With the 1971 silver dollar there are two benchmark grades that generate the highest value for your coin.
1971 Eisenhower Uncirculated Silver Dollar Value
Uncirculated coins will typically be graded as MS63 choice uncirculated condition. This is the benchmark for the uncirculated variant and coins below this will see their value drop considerably. A coin in this condition will be valued at around $15 on the current market.
A MS63 choice uncirculated coin will likely have lost some of its luster and could have minor blemishes or contact marks.
There is a premium grade for the uncirculated coin, if you get it graded at MS65 gem uncirculated condition the value jumps to $26 on the current market.
An MS65 gem uncirculated coin will have no blemishes or contact marks and will have retained its shine.
How Much is a 1971 Silver Dollar Worth?
Proof coins graded at PR65 (the expected collector grade for this coin) are valued at $15 on the current market.
Once graded you should keep your coin in the graded case to protect it and keep it at the grade it has been given. The case will also display the grade and any grading information for potential buyers.
It is worth noting that the coin marketplace changes over time and coins fetch different prices according to the wider economic market. For example, a coin sold in an economic recession will likely attract fewer interested parties and sell for less compared to a coin sold in an economic boom.
With the 1971 silver dollar, the value of the coin should also increase over time, and a coin that is valued at $26 today could be worth thousands of dollars in a hundred years’ time.
Marks, Reliefs and Errors
Other than the condition, there are a few factors that can alter a coin’s value.
Marks on a 1971 Silver Dollar
The marks you want to look for on a 1971 dollar are the mint marks discussed above. A mint mark can be found above the date on a 1971 dollar.
Reliefs on a 1971 Silver Dollar
The 1971 silver dollar was minted with one relief (image) and there are no relief differences between the variants. With that said, a clear relief where the coin was part of the early mint will be fractionally more valuable than a late minted coin.
This is because a fresh press gets a better mint than a press nearing the end of its lifetime.
Errors on the 1971 Silver Dollar
There are no known errors on the minting of the 1971 silver dollar although that doesn’t mean errors don’t exist. For example, a press at the end of its lifetime might break and create an error when the coin is pressed.
Error coins when they have been identified and verified can be worth more than the standard coins.
1971 Silver Dollar FAQs
What are silver dollars?
The US treasury minted dollar coins in various metals. Typically, the most sought after are the gold dollars, however there are some silver dollars that are worth considerably more than their gold counterparts.
After the Gold Confiscation Act, the mint preferred silver mints for their select or proof coins, which means that some years only have silver versions as the pinnacle of that years’ mint.
How much is a silver dollar worth?
Silver dollars range in value. The biggest factor affecting the value of a silver dollar is the year it was minted.
Earlier variants of the silver dollar are typically more valuable than more recent variants. Because silver dollars are no longer minted, the value of all silver dollar coins is expected to increase over the next few decades.
Error coins such as the 1888 Scarface Morgan Dollar are typically more valuable than non-error versions.
Are there different types of silver dollar?
Yes, there are several different types of silver dollar.
The US treasury mints coins in different locations across the US and some variants of silver dollars have different mint marks according to where they were struck or minted.
The main differentiating factor for silver dollars is the relief. There have been several sought-after reliefs minted since the US government authorized the minting of silver dollars under the Coinage Act of 1792.
Desirable variants are:
- Flowing Hair Silver Dollar (1794-1795)
- Draped Bust (1795-1804)
- The 1804 Dollar (Extremely rare coin that resulted from a bookkeeping error)
- Gobrecht Dollar
- Seated Liberty Dollar (1836-1873)
- Trade Dollar (1873-1885)
- Morgan Dollar (Multiple timespans)
- Peace Dollar (Multiple timespans)
Are silver dollars still minted?
Yes, although the US Treasury has moved away from minting dollar coins due to cost and adoption, there are special coins still minted to commemorate events or presidential coins.
What are the mint marks on a silver dollar?
A mint mark tells you where a specific coin was minted. The mint marks for the mints are given in with a letter or letters and are normally displayed above the date on the coin.
These letters represent the following mints:
- C – Charlotte, North Carolina (minted gold coins between 1838 and 1861).
- CC – Carson City, Nevada (minted coins until 1893).
- D – This mint mark can mean one of two mints. It will either be minted in Dahlonega, Georgia which minted from 1838 to 1861, or Denver, Colorado which has minted since 1906.
- O – New Orleans, Louisiana (minted coins until 1909).
- P – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is an interesting one as the mint has been operational since 1793 but most coins minted in Philadelphia don’t have a mint mark as this was introduced in 1979).
- S – San Francisco, California (minted since 1854)
- W – West Point, New York (minted since 1984)