Blue Ikes and brown Ikes – different types of Eisenhower dollars – have been the darlings of many modern dollar coin collectors since the release of these 2 coins in 1971.
That was the year that the United States Mint released the first dollar coins since the Peace dollar series ceased production in 1935.
However, unlike silver dollars of yesteryear, regular-strike Eisenhower dollars contain no silver at all.
That is where blue Ikes and brown Ikes come in.
The Story Behind Blue Ikes And Brown Ikes
These 2 types of Eisenhower dollars contain a composition that is 40% silver.
Blue Ikes and brown Ikes were struck primarily for coin collectors and were sold directly by the U.S. Mint.
The U.S. Mint ventured into making silver Eisenhower dollars strictly for collectors to avoid the hoarding of the Kennedy half dollar.
Collectors love the Kennedy half dollar, featuring the beloved president, and Americans tucked away Kennedy half dollars as soon as they hit circulation to keep a momento of JFK.
The half dollar, as a denomination, failed to circulate well afterward and today has virtually vanished from circulation.
But, getting back to Eisenhower dollars, what exactly is a blue Ike? Or a brown Ike?
How are they different, how many were made, and what are they worth?
Blue Ikes & Brown Ikes – The Key Differences
Eisenhower dollars which were struck from 1971 through 1978 were designed by Frank Gasparro.
- Blue Ikes were struck as uncirculated coins and are housed in a cellophane package that also contains a blue and silver token emblazoned with a U.S. Mint logo.
- Brown Ikes are proof versions of the 40% silver Eisenhower dollar and were packaged in a hard, rectangular plastic case that was packed inside a faux-woodgrain box bearing a gold eagle seal.
It is interesting to note that the original sale price for blue Ikes was $3, while brown Ikes originally set coin collectors back $10.
How Many Blue Ikes And Brown Ikes Were Made?
Mintages of blue Ikes and brown Ikes were quite limited as compared to the numbers struck for general use in circulation.
While tens of millions were made for each date-and-mintmark combination, only a fraction thereof were made for each date of the 40% silver Eisenhower dollar coins, as you can see below:
- 1971-S Blue Ike – 6,868,530
- 1971-S Brown Ike – 4,265,234
- 1972-S Blue Ike – 2,193,056
- 1972-S Brown Ike – 1,811,631
- 1973-S Blue Ike – 1,883,140
- 1973-S Brown Ike – 1,013,646
- 1974-S Blue Ike – 1,900,156
- 1974-S Brown Ike – 1,306,579
How Much Are Blue Ikes And Brown Ikes Worth?
The values for these 40% silver Eisenhower dollars have changed much over the years.
For example, at one point around 1980, a 1973-S brown Ike, which had a mintage of barely more than 1 million pieces, would’ve set you back over $100. Today, the same piece can be had for as little as $20 to $25.
Here are the approximate values of blue Ikes and brown Ikes:
- 1971-S Blue Ike – $12
- 1971-S Brown Ike – $17
- 1972-S Blue Ike – $12
- 1972-S Brown Ike – $16
- 1973-S Blue Ike – $12
- 1973-S Brown Ike – $22
- 1974-S Blue Ike – $12
- 1974-S Brown Ike – $17
It’s important to note that, as silver coins, blue Ikes and brown Ikes fluctuate in value and may therefore be worth more or less than the values shown here, which are based on silver being worth $20 per ounce.
In general, coin collectors prefer blue and brown Eisenhower dollars in their original packaging, but for the most part they are worth about the same if removed from the cases as if they are left in.
Many coin collectors remove silver Eisenhower dollars from their packaging to be placed into coin albums, such as those that house complete date-and-mintmark sets of the dollar coin.