The United States Mint made Susan B. Anthony dollars for only four years (1979, 1980, 1981, and 1999). Frank Gasparro designed both the obverse and the reverse. Government officials hoped the smaller coin would take the place of the paper dollar in circulation and save money. This saving was based upon the assumption that a paper dollar lasts only eighteen months, while a coin can last up to thirty years.
Originally, Gasparro designed a symbolic figure of Lady Liberty. The portrait is very reminiscent of early copper cents with Lady Liberty facing left and her hair flowing behind her. Unfortunately, Congress dictated that the coin was to feature woman's rights advocate Susan B. Anthony. Due to time constraints, Gasparro adopted the reverse design of the Eisenhower dollar to fit on the new smaller dollar instead of designing the new one.
The new coin was very unpopular with the public. Previously, the Eisenhower dollar was 38.1 mm wide and weighed 22.68 g. The smaller Susan B. Anthony dollar was only 26.5 mm in diameter and weighed only 8.1 g. It was thought that a smaller coin would be easier to carry and be popular with the public. Unfortunately, it was often confused with the quarter dollar coin, which was 24.3 mm and weighed 5.6 g.
Several varieties add to the excitement of collecting them. Two of them are quite significant, and one of them usually sells for more than $100.
01 of 06
1979-P Wide Rim (a.k.a. Near Date)
The mint created two working coin hubs in 1979 that yielded two different types of obverse dies. The first type had a wide rim which resulted in the date being positioned very close to the rim. These dies were only used to mint SBA dollars in Philadelphia ("P' mint mark). Therefore, coins minted in Denver ("D" mint mark) and San Francisco ("S" mint mark) do not have this variety.
Look for a thick rim where the date is very close (about the width of the numeral 1 in the date) to the rim. The United States Mint also produced special three-coin collector sets of the Susan B. Anthony dollar. Some of these sets have been known to contain the Near Date variety. This variety is the scarcer of the two and carries an additional premium that is reflected in the price and value of the coin.
However, due to a lack of popularity amongst coin collectors, the Susan B. Anthony dollar is easy to acquire and very affordable. Therefore, the wide rim variety only carries a premium value in uncirculated condition. Circulated coins can be acquired for just a few dollars.
02 of 06
1979-P Narrow Rim (a.k.a. Far Date)
This variety of the 1979 Susan B. Anthony dollar is common and carries no additional premium in the price or value. Notice that the rim is thinner and the date is offset further from the rim than the "Wide Rim" (or "Near Date") variety. Remember, this only applies to 1979 coins minted at the Philadelphia mint facility with a "P" mint mark.
03 of 06
1979-S Proof Type 1 (Blob Mint Mark)
In 1979 mint marks were still being punched into working dies by hand. The punch that was being used was old and worn. The mint mark resembled more of a "blob" than a well-formed "S." Towards the end of the production run in 1979, a new punch was made and yielded the 1979-S Proof Type 2 clear mint marks (see below). This variety is the more common of the two and carries no numismatic premium.
04 of 06
1979-S Proof Type 2 (Clear Mint Mark)
These SBA proof dollar coins used the new mint mark punch with a clear and well-formed "S." Notice the serifs (ornamental ball on the top and bottom of the S) and that the letter S is both well-formed. Numismatic experts do not know how many of these Type 2 coins were produced. However, it is less common and therefore worth more than the more common Type 1 coin.
The new mint mark punch was used on all six Proof coins produced in 1979. This includes the penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar, and one dollar coin. Therefore, all six coins produced in 1979 have two varieties of mint marks. The Susan B. Anthony Type 2 Proof dollar is the most sought after and carries the biggest premium.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
1981-S Proof Type 1 (Clear Mint Mark)
The new punch that mint workers made in 1979 was still being used to place the mint mark on the 1981 proof coins. Although worn, it still yielded a mint mark similar in style to the 1979 Proof Type 2 coin. The mint replaced the punch near the end of the production year with a new one that yielded a different style of a mint mark (see below). This style of mint mark is the more common coin and does not carry a premium value like the Type 2 Coin.
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1981-S Proof Type 2 (Flat Mint Mark)
The new mint mark was even clearer and bolder than the one before. Additionally, the top of the formed "S" was flat as opposed to rounded or pointed as the previous S. Furthermore, the upper and lower tail of the S has a bulbous shape to it. This is wider and more pronounced than the Type I.
This new mint mark die punch was also used on the Proof Penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar, and dollar coins. The Susan B. Anthony Type II dollar coin is the most sought after and carries the largest numismatic premium of all the coins.