Susan B. Anthony dollar

The Susan B. Anthony dollar is a United States dollar coin minted from 1979 to 1981 when production was suspended due to poor public acceptance, and then again in 1999. Intended as a replacement for the larger Eisenhower dollar, the new smaller one-dollar coin went through testing of several shapes and compositions, but all were opposed by the vending machine industry, a powerful lobby affecting coin legislation. Finally, a round planchet with an eleven-sided inner border was chosen for the smaller dollar.

Susan B. Anthony
United States Of America
Value1 U.S. dollar
Mass8.1 g (0.260 troy oz)
Diameter26.5 mm (1.04 in)
Thickness2.00 mm (0.08 in)
Edge150 reeds
Composition.75 copper, .25 nickel, clad to pure copper core.
Years of minting1979–1981, 1999
Mint marksP (Philadelphia Mint)
D (Denver Mint)
S (San Francisco Mint)
Obverse
The obverse of a Susan B. Anthony dollar
DesignRight-facing profile of Susan B. Anthony
DesignerFrank Gasparro
Design date1979
Reverse
The reverse of a Susan B. Anthony dollar
DesignAn eagle clutching a laurel branch in its talons displayed over a landscape of the Moon, based on the Apollo 11 mission insignia
DesignerFrank Gasparro
Design date1971

The original design for the smaller dollar coin depicted an allegorical representation of Liberty on the obverse, but organizations and individuals in Congress called for the coin to depict a real woman. Several proposals were submitted, and social reformer Susan B. Anthony was selected as the design subject. The reverse design of the Eisenhower dollar was retained, an engraving of the Apollo 11 mission insignia showing an eagle landing on the Moon. Both sides of the coin, as well as the rejected Liberty design, were created by Frank Gasparro, the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint.

One and a half billion coins were struck in anticipation of considerable public demand, but the Anthony dollar was poorly received, in part because of confusion caused by its similarity in size and metallic composition to the quarter. Despite its poor reception, the coins eventually began seeing use in vending machines and mass transit systems, depleting the surplus by the late 1990s. In 1997, Congress passed a law authorizing the mintage of a new gold-colored one-dollar coin depicting Sacagawea, but production could not begin quickly enough to meet demand. As a stopgap measure, until the new Sacagawea dollar coin could be issued, the Anthony dollar was struck again in 1999 after an eighteen-year hiatus; the series was retired the following year.

Special coins for sale to collectors were struck in proof finish through the run of the Susan B. Anthony dollar, and some minting variations are valuable to collectors. However, most circulation strikes remained in government stockpiles for several years after minting, so many of the coins are available in uncirculated grades, and the premium over face value is minimal.


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