Forty years ago, the United States celebrated their Bicentennial. In 1973, a design contest began to get special reverse designs for the Washington Quarter, the Kennedy Half Dollar and the Eisenhower Dollar. The winners would be decided in December, 1973 and the coins would be initially released in circulation on July 4, 1975. Because of this, all quarters, half dollars and dollars minted in 1975 and 1976 would have the double date ‘1776 1976’ with a dot in between the dates. It was unusual to not see the American Eagle that normally appeared on the reverse of these coins.
Philadelphia and Denver released them as circulated coins as well as in the 1975 and 1976 mint sets. San Francisco would release them in proof sets in 1975 and 1976 as well as a special three coin mint and proof sets consisting of 40% silver quarter, half dollars and dollars. There were around 11,000,000 3-coin mint sets and 4,000,000 3-coin proof sets minted.
The following gives the winners of each contest and what they designed on each coin.
The winner of the quarter design was Jack L. Ahr. The design included a patriot playing a drum and the top of a torch surrounded by thirteen stars. For circulation, 809 million quarters were minted in Philadelphia and 860 million quarters in Denver.
Kennedy Half Dollar
The winner of the half dollar design was Seth Huntington. He included a design of Independence Hall in Philadephia where the Declaration of Independence was signed and the text ‘200 Years of Freedom’. There were 234 million circulated half dollars minted in Philadelphia and 280 million in Denver.
The winner of the dollar was Dennis Williams. The reverse would have the Liberty Bell with the Moon behind it. The idea behind the moon was represented of the Apollo missions of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and the first man on the moon in 1969. The lettering was improved during 1975 to create a Type 1 and Type 2 Dollars. For circulated Type 1 coins, there were 4 million minted in Philadelphia and 21 million in Denver. For Type 2 coins, there were 113 million minted in Philadelphia and 82 million in Denver. The silver dollars are only Type 1.
Do you remember the bicentennial coins?
When I was a kid, these coins were everywhere. Now, I occasionally find a bicentennial quarter in change. How about you? What do think of the special designs?