Susan B. Anthony dollar

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Susan B. Anthony dollar
United States
Value 1.00 U.S. dollar
Mass 8.1 g (0.260 troy oz)
Diameter 26.5 mm (1.04 in)
Thickness 2.0 mm (0.079 in)
Edge Reeded
Composition Cupronickel (91.66% Cu, 8.33% Ni)
Years of minting 1979–1981, 1999
Catalog number
1981-S SBA$ Type Two Deep Cameo.jpg
Design Profile of Susan B. Anthony
Designer Frank Gasparro
Design date 1979
1981-S SBA$ Type Two Deep Cameo.jpg
Design An eagle clutching a laurel branch in his talons, displayed over a landscape of the Moon.
Designer Frank Gasparro
Design date 1979

The Susan B. Anthony dollar is a United States coin minted from 1979 to 1981, and again in 1999. It depicts women's suffrage campaigner Susan B. Anthony on a dollar coin. It was the first circulating U.S. coin with the portrait of an actual woman rather than an allegorical female figure such as 'Liberty'.[1] The reverse depicts an eagle flying above the moon (with the Earth in the background), a design adapted from the Apollo 11 mission insignia that was also present on the previously issued Eisenhower Dollar. It was one of the most unpopular coins in American history.[2]

History and design[edit]

The reverse of the Anthony dollar is based upon the insignia of the Apollo 11 mission, which was also used on the reverse of the Eisenhower dollar that preceded it.

Although it is round, the Susan B. Anthony dollar is intended to convey an 11-sided appearance, from the 11-sided rim bordering the edge of both sides. The reverse commemorates the Apollo 11 moon landing with an image of the mission insignia, a design recycled from the earlier Eisenhower Dollar. The 11 sided shape matches the Apollo 11 Goodwill Messages that enclosed a silicon wafer left on the moon. The original design called for the coin itself to be a hendecagon (or, perhaps more accurately, an 11-sided curve of constant width), but vending machine manufacturers protested this plan, claiming that available vending machine technology would require extensive (and expensive) retooling to accommodate the irregular-shaped coin originally proposed.[3]

Because of their similar size and color, it was found to be easy to mistake the coin for a quarter. The originally-planned hendecagon-shaped edge, which would have distinguished it from the quarter, had been abandoned and replaced with a depiction of an hendecagon and the same reeded edge as the quarter, thus compounding the confusion. The Anthony dollar was disparagingly referred to as the "Carter quarter", "Suzie Bucks" or the "Anthony quarter."[4] 888,842,452 Anthony dollars were produced for circulation. (Additional dollars were produced as numismatic items.)

The coin was released July 2, 1979. A $1 postage stamp, Scott #1612, was released nationwide on the same day.

While a large quantity were produced in 1979, they failed to circulate well (despite the slogan "Carry three for Susan B.") and a minimal number were produced in 1980. Public reaction to the coin was primarily negative, with complaints that the coin, smaller than previous dollar coins (which were also unpopular), was too easily confused with the Washington quarter.[5] Its unpopularity was compared to the greatly disliked 20¢ piece from 1875, which was also easily confused with the quarter.[6]

In 1981 none were produced for circulation, but instead were produced for numismatic sets marketed by the Mint. Many of those mint sets have been broken up, and it is not unusual to find 1981-dated Anthony dollars in circulation. At the end of production, the Treasury was left with hundreds of millions of the coins in its vaults.

In the 1980s and into the 1990s, vending machines (especially transit and postal machines) began to take higher denomination notes, when previously they had been effectively limited to dollar notes. While change could be given in quarters and smaller coins, more and more such machines began to give change in dollar coins. This led to an increased call on the Treasury's supply. By 1998, the Treasury's stock of dollar coins was near exhaustion. The Mint lacked the legal authority to change the design of the coin, and it was not deemed possible to release the new Sacagawea dollar earlier than 2000. Accordingly, after the longest hiatus for the same design of a circulating coin in U.S. history (one year longer than for the Morgan silver dollar), the coin was restruck in 1999.

Since the Sacagawea dollar's 2000 introduction, the Susan B. Anthony dollar circulated along with it—the two coins have identical metallic signatures to vending machines. The Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005, which initially proposed taking all remaining Susan B. Anthony dollars out of circulation, merely directed the Secretary of Treasury to review the matter and report back to Congress in 2006.


1979 mint year

  • Philadelphia (P): 360,222,000
  • Denver (D): 288,015,744
  • San Francisco (S): 109,576,000

1980 mint year

  • Philadelphia (P): 27,610,000
  • Denver (D): 41,628,708
  • San Francisco (S): 20,422,000

1981 mint year

  • Philadelphia (P): 3,000,000
  • Denver (D): 3,250,000
  • San Francisco (S): 3,492,000

1999 mint year

  • Philadelphia (P): 36,642,000
  • Denver (D): 11,776,000

Coin collecting[edit]

The coin is often referred to affectionately by collectors as the "Susan B." or "Susie". It is relatively easy to collect as all issues of this short series were minted in large quantities, and so numismatic demand can be easily met. For example, in 1999 the Philadelphia mint produced 750,000 proof coins. Each of these was sold as a separately boxed item. It took five years for them to sell out.

Collectors have noticed that there exist a few varieties of the coin that differ slightly in their arrangement and pressing qualities. Shortly after production of circulating coinage 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.[7] 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.

A 2012 Senate proposal would have taken the Susan B. Anthony Dollar coin out of circulation making it more of a collectible over time, this bill never made it for a vote and was doomed to committee.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Susan B. Anthony Dollar". Susan B. Anthony House. 2009. Retrieved October 18, 2010. 
  2. ^ French, Charles F.; Mitchell, Scott (2000). 2001 American Guide to U.S. Coins. Simon & Schuster. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-684-87185-1. In 1971 the Eisenhower dollar appeared. It had a seven-year run and was then supplanted by the Susan B. Anthony dollar, which was wildly unpopular. 
  3. ^ Sieber, Arlyn (2011). The Instant Coin Collector. Krause Publications. p. 99. ISBN 1440221545. 
  4. ^ Phillipa, Kevin P. (August 25, 1979). "New Dollar Coin Symbolizes Federal Flubs". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved January 4, 2011. 
  5. ^ McDonald, S. (2008). 2009 US Coin Guide – History Grading and Internet Coin Auction Values (6 ed.). Childrens Book of Homonyms. pp. 152–153. ISBN 978-1-4357-5344-0. ...virtually disappeared from circulation as a 'black sheep' coin that no one wanted... 
  6. ^ Halter, Jon C. (March 1981). "Stamps & Coins". Boy's Life 71 (3): 66. ISSN 0006-8608. The Susan B. Anthony $1 coin, issued in 1979, has been a failure so far. It may rank with other famous unpopular U.S. coins (like the 1875 20¢ piece). The public has refused to accept the new coin, critics claim, because it can be too easily confused with the quarter. Other critics say people have a bad feeling toward the coin because its smaller size reminds them of the U.S. dollar's decreasing buying power. 
  7. ^ "Anthony Dollar Die Varieties". Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Bill Text - 112th Congress (2011-2012)". THOMAS (Library of Congress). January 31, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
Preceded by
Eisenhower dollar
Dollar Coin of the United States
1979–1981, 1999
Succeeded by
Sacagawea Dollar