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Susan B. Anthony Dollar
The Susan B. Anthony dollar was struck between 1979 and 1981, and then again resumed for one year only in 1999. The final design of the coin wound up pairing a champion of women’s rights with the moon landing, which was already mated with the coin that the SBA dollar replaced – the Eisenhower Dollar. Finally, it became a small round coin made of 25% copper nickel bonded to a 75% copper core with an 11-sided inner border.
Proposals were submitted to Congress and Women’s rights activist and suffragette Susan B. Anthony was selected as the subject. A smaller version of the Moon Landing was selected as the reverse subject, even though it was depicted on the coin that this coin was replacing.
The approved design had Susan B. Anthony facing right, with “LIBERTY” above her, six five-pointed stars to the right and seven six-pointed stars to the left. The motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” is to the right, level with her chin and the date is below. The reverse has an eagle landing on the moon, with the Earth in the distance. The denomination “ONE DOLLAR” is below and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surmounts the top of the reverse. Finally, “E PLURIBUS UNUM is above the eagle but under the stars.
The 1979 Susan B. Anthony Dollar was struck at all three mints – Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. They were expecting this coin to be much more popular that it actually was. The Philadelphia Mint created two varieties for us to enjoy – one with a narrow rim and one with a wide rim, which is rarer. The 1979-S Proof issue also has two varieties as well, a Type I which is a Proof coin with a filled S mintmark. The Type 2 has a clear “S” mintmark as is the rarer of the two.
In 1980 all three mints struck a bit over 93 million coins with no varieties or errors. The mintages dropped considerably since the coin was shunned by the public. The coin was not well-liked due to the closeness in size and metallic composition to the Quarter Dollar. The 11-sided border was supposed to help the visually impaired determine the denomination, but the public avoided the coin as much as possible.
In 1981, only 14 million coins were struck and there was an eighteen-year hiatus before any additional Susan B. Anthony dollar coins were again struck. This time, there was a need by vending machine companies for these coins as they collectively spent over $100 million dollars to retrofit their machines and millions more in Susan B. Anthony dollars as change in the machines.
In late 1999, with the prospect of needing additional dollar sized coins, the Mint and Congress conferred on other solutions that would be less confusing and more acceptable to the public.