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Susan B. Anthony fought for equal voting rights for all Americans. Unfortunately, she died fourteen years before the Nineteenth Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the right to vote, but her efforts during her lifetime played a significant part in making this happen. Because of all of her hard work, Susan B. Anthony was honored with a U.S. coin to commemorate her contributions to the women’s suffrage movement. She was also the very first woman to have her face on an American circulating coin. The Susan B. Anthony dollar was introduced in 1979.
Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coins Basics
President Carter signed the Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin Act into law in October 1978, authorizing the creation of the new dollar coin series. It would feature a portrait of Susan B Anthony. The coin was introduced as the first small sized dollar coin. It was hoped this new dollar coin would displace the paper one dollar bill in commerce, but "Anthonys," as they are called, were generally were ignored by the public. Several reasons are given for this lack of interest in Anthonys, including the fact that the coin was similar in size and color to the quarter, that dollar bills remained in circulation so there was no incentive to change, and vending machines were not immediately programmed to take the new coins. After several failed promotional attempts by various governmental entities to get the public to accept and use the new coin, production stopped in 1981, except for a one-year final issue in 1999. Despite the limited extent of the series, it represented an important transformational step for the highest denomination of contemporary American coinage.
In 1977, various designs for the new dollar coin were proposed, one depicted Martha Washington on the obverse, and another depicted a striking flowing-hair bust of Miss Liberty. Because this was the era of the women’s rights movement, there was a big push from women’s rights lobbyists for a noted woman to be on the face of the new dollar coin. In the end, it was officially legislated, in July of 1978, that Susan B. Anthony would be the face of America’s new dollar coin. The obverse featured a rather stern-faced bust of Susan B. Anthony surrounded by stars.
The new dollar coin was just 26.5 mm in diameter, much smaller than the 38.5 mm Eisenhower dollar of previous years and was made of copper-nickel. The new coin was an instant failure. The American public complained about the unappealing bust of Susan B. Anthony. However, it was not so much the unattractive design that doomed the Susan B. Anthony dollar to failure: it was the size and the coin’s edge. With the U.S. quarter being 24.3 mm in size, and the new Anthony dollar being just a bit larger at 26.5 mm, many U.S. citizens felt the two coins were too close in size. In addition, both the quarter and the new dollar were gleaming white when brand new. Additionally, to make matters worse, the Anthony dollar had a reeded edge, so it even felt like a quarter.
Confusion abounded. American citizens were paying for 50-cent candy bars with two Susan B. Anthony dollars. Or cashiers, when breaking dollar bills down into four quarter coins, were handing their customers four dollar coins instead. For these reasons, the coin was widely rejected, and was struck for circulation only in 1979 and 1980. In 1981, Susan B Anthony dollars were only struck for mint and proof sets, not for circulation.
Later however, the government began seeing a demand for the one-dollar coin for use in vending machines. A new coin needed to be designed but in the meantime, the old Susan B. Anthony dollar dies were brought out of retirement in the fall of 1999. For a few months at the end of 1999, Susan B. Anthony dollars were struck for circulation once again. However, once the new gold dollar coin appeared in 2000, the Sacagawea dollar, the Susan B. Anthony dollar was retired permanently.
Collecting the Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin
When it comes to collecting, because so many millions of coins were minted and they are readily available, collectors should look for Susan B. Anthony coins that are in at least brilliant uncirculated condition because of the low collector demand. Prices for these coins are low. However, because the 1999 Susan B. Anthony dollars were only minted for a few months and they are the last dollar coins of the 20th century, they may someday have more value. A complete set of circulating and proof Susan B. Anthony Dollars includes fifteen coins. If the 1979-P "narrow rim" and "wide rim" coins and the "type 1? and "type 2? 1979-S and 1981-S proof coins are included, the size of the set rises to eighteen. The most valuable coins
of the series are the low mintage 1981 circulation strikes and the scarce type 2 proof varieties.
Collectors have noticed that a few varieties of the coin exist that differ slightly in their arrangement and pressing qualities. Shortly after production of circulating coins began, there was a die change narrowing the distance from the date to the rim. The earlier 1979-P "near date" or "wide rim" coins are somewhat scarcer than the later "far date" or "narrow rim" issue.
In the proof sets, the main varieties are the 1979-S Type I and Type II mintmarks, and the 1981-S Type I and Type II mintmarks. In each case, a blurry "S" mintmark was replaced with a clearer one, with the later coins much less common. Also popular to collect are the "full talon" variety, which are generally recognized as having a superior strike as the talons of the eagle on the reverse are fully separated and rounded, and may even show the folds of skin on the toes. "Full talon" is not a function of die state, as full talon coins are known on both early and late state dies.
The following U.S. Mints struck the Susan B. Anthony dollar: the Philadelphia Mint (no mintmark), the Denver Mint (D mintmark), and the San Francisco Mint (S mintmark).
To determine value and other important features, use a reference such as "The Official RED BOOK, a guide book of United States Coins ," which is available on eBay.
Below is a list of the specifications of the Susan B. Anthony Dollar coin.
- Designer. Frank Gasparro
- Edge. Reeded
- Weight. 8.1 grams
- Diameter. 26.50 millimeters
- Composition. Outer layers, (75 percent copper) (25 percent nickel), Center (100 percent copper)
- Dates Minted. 1978-1999
- Circulation Mintage. The highest mint was 360,222,000 (1979-P), and the lowest was 3,000,000 (1981-P)
- Proof Mintage. The highest was 4,063,083 (1981-S), and the lowest was 750,000 (1999-P estimated; some proofs were sold originally only in Mint sets)
- Denomination. $1.00
- Varieties. Philadelphia circulation coins from 1979 come in narrow and wide rim versions. San Francisco proof coins for 1979 and 1981 are cataloged as Type I and Type II. Type I coins for 1979 have a filled S mintmark, Type II coins have an open, rounded mintmark. Type I 1981 coins have an open rounded mintmark, Type II an open flat mintmark. A few other minor die variations are known.
Buy Susan B Anthony Dollar Coins on eBay
Once you decide which year and variety of Susan B. Anthony dollar to shop for, simply enter a description of what you’re looking for into the search bar on eBay’s homepage. eBay will then display all the listings for that year and variety of dollar coin. For example, if a 1981 Type II coin is desired, type in "1981 Type II Anthony Dollar " in the search box found in the upper left corner. This will generate a list of all relevant items.
If you can't find the exact Susan B. Anthony dollar coin you want in your initial search, shopping in the eBay Stores might be the solution. Alternatively, tell the eBay community what Anthony dollar you want by creating a post in Want It Now. You can also save a search in My eBay, which will trigger eBay to email you when a match becomes available.
Once you find the Anthony dollar you want, be sure to review the entire item description and examine available photos. If you need more information, click on the "Ask a Question" link under the seller’s profile or on the item listing to contact the seller.
In addition, remember to figure delivery costs into the final price. If the Susan B. Anthony dollar is expensive, make sure the seller will insure it when it ships. Always make sure to complete the transaction on eBay; transactions conducted outside of eBay are not covered by the eBay Buyer Protection policy. Never pay for an eBay item using instant cash wire transfer services such as Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone unknown.
Become familiar with how eBay and PayPal work together to protect buyers and sellers. Although rare, if an item fails to arrive or is different than described, eBay Buyer Protection will cover the purchase price plus original shipping.
The market for Susan B. Anthony dollar coins is full of many years, varieties, and grades. Selecting the right Anthony dollar can help the collector complete or begin a collection. When shopping, ensure that the price for the Anthony dollar is fair. If buying online, carefully read the details in the item listings and look closely at the photographs. With a little research and eBay’s secure buying options, people looking for Anthony dollars should have no problem finding these coins.