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The Big Sky Hoard and its Eisenhower dollars

The Big Sky treasure was found in a bank in Montana. Consisting only of Eisenhower dollars, it is considered one of the largest collections of this type of American currency. Never circulated, the Big Sky dollars are all of exceptional quality. Their corner flower condition has retained all of its original brilliance. A treasure that will delight numismatists specialized in coins from the United States.

The Big Sky: a bank treasure of uncirculated coins

The Big Sky treasure consisted of 223,000 uncirculated Eisenhower dollars when the American numismatic company, Littleton Coin company, acquired it in 2011. A Montana family had purchased all of these coins from the Denver mint and stored them directly at the Federal Reserve Bank of Helena, Montana. They were kept, for over 30 years, in a vault in the basement. The “Ike” dollars were still in bags sewn by the Central Bank, spared from the wear and tear of circulation.


The coins were certified and graded by UCS, which named the treasure Big Sky Hoard. It weighed 5.6 tons and was valued at over $1 million. 223 bags were delivered to the numismatic society. Stacked one on top of the other, the Big Sky Hoard coins would measure 637 meters high, twice the height of the Eiffel Tower!

The Big Sky: a treasure trove of Eisenhower dollars

The Eisenhower dollar is a cupronickel coin minted by the Bank of the United States between 1971 and 1978. On its obverse, the general and president Eisenhower is represented. The reverse features an eagle in flight position, inspired by the insignia of the Apollo 11 mission. Its engraver, Frank Gasparro, designed the coin to honor both President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the first landing of a man on the moon in 1969.

There had been no one-dollar coins in the United States since the Peace dollar, which coinage stopped in 1935. In fact, the silver dollar barely circulated, except in the western United States. It was mainly used to monetize metal. Sometimes it even stagnated in banks. The value of the Peace dollar never rose above 70 cents in the years after 1935.

In the early 1960s, silver became more valuable, and bank stocks dwindled as they were exchanged for silver certificates by the population. The West was experiencing a shortage of silver dollars at that time and parliamentarians wanted to reintroduce a one-dollar coin. After several years of debate, in 1969, the legislators decided to honor the former president who died that same year. In 1970, the Eisenhower dollar was changed from silver to base metal for circulation.

The United States Mint saw an opportunity to market coins to collectors. In addition to producing coins for circulation, it was also decided to create special compositions for numismatists. From 1971 to 1976, the Mint struck coins containing 40% BE-type silver for collectors only. The Brown Ikes were presented in a brown plastic box. Blue Ikes were distributed in blue envelopes.

The collection coins are sold, but the trade dollars don’t really circulate in the United States. They ended up in Nevada casinos taking the place of chips.

dollar ike united-states bicentennial

During the eight years that the “Ike dollar” was produced, several matrices were developed. One of the most prized by collectors was in 1975, when the mint created a special design to celebrate the country’s bicentennial: on the reverse side, the Liberty Bell was affixed to the moon. The Eisenhower dollar was then struck with a double date from 1776 to 1976. There are no dollars dated of 1975.

Find Eisenhower dollars from the Big Sky treasure on our store!

Sources :
Littleton coins company
The spruce crafts

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