Susan B. Anthony was an American civil rights activist and women’s suffrage leader who played a pivotal role in the women’s suffrage movement. In 1872, she became the first woman to be arrested for voting in a national election. After her arrest, Anthony embarked on a nationwide tour advocating for women’s suffrage. In 1878, she helped found the National Woman Suffrage Association, which would later merge with other organizations to form the League of Women Voters. Anthony died in 1906, just months before women gained the right to vote in federal elections.
Her work was so impactful that, in 1979, she became the first woman to be featured on a U.S. coin – the Susan B. Anthony dollar. Although the coin was not widely circulated and was eventually discontinued, it remains a valuable piece of numismatic history.
In this article, you are going to learn about the coin’s history, how to evaluate it, and recent auction prices.
History of the Susan B. Anthony Dollar
The Susan B. Anthony dollar was first minted in 1979 and was the first coin to feature a woman other than a goddess or allegorical figure. It was also the first small-sized dollar coin minted since 1935. The coin was designed by Frank Gasparro, who also designed the Kennedy half-dollar and Eisenhower dollar. It’s made of an alloy of copper and nickel, and its diameter is 26.50 mm, in line with other small dollar coins.
The U.S. mint minted 2 types of Susan B. Anthony dollars: the proof coin, which is specially made for collectors, and the regular-strike coin, which was made for circulation. The proof coins have a slightly different design than the regular-strike coins and are usually worth more.
The coin was not well-received when it was first introduced and was criticized for its resemblance to the quarter. It also did not gain much traction with the public, as most people continued to use paper dollars. As a result, the coin was only minted for four years, from 1979 to 1981. In 1999
The coin was minted for circulation from 1979 to 1981 and then again in 1999. A total of about 700 million Susan B. Anthony dollars were struck, but most were never circulated due to public confusion and lack of interest. The majority of the coins were stored in Federal Reserve vaults and eventually destroyed. As a result, the coin is now quite rare, especially in circulated condition.
Estimating the Value of the Susan B. Anthony Dollar
Many factors go into estimating the value of a coin, including its condition, eye appeal, rarity, and age.
Eye appeal is another important factor in determining the value of a coin. A coin with good eye appeal will be more valuable than one with poor eye appeal, even if they’re the same grade. For example, a coin with a beautiful luster or attractive toning will be worth more than a coin that is dull or has damage.
Rarity is another major factor in determining the value of a coin. A rare coin will be worth more than a common one, even if it’s in poor condition. The Susan B. Anthony dollar is considered to be a semi-key date coin, which means it’s not as rare as some other coins but is still quite valuable.
The age of a coin can also affect its value. A coin that is 100 years old will usually be worth more than a newer coin, even if it’s in the same condition. This is because older coins are scarcer and more in demand. But this hardly applies to the Susan B. Anthony dollars, since it’s only been around for 50 years.
Here is an explicative video of some of the points made in the blog post:
Condition is one of the key factors in determining the value of a coin. The higher the grade, the more valuable the coin. Coins are graded on a scale from Poor to Mint State, with Poor being the lowest grade and Mint State being the highest.
Here’s a grading chart to help you determine the condition of your coin:
- Poor: A poor coin is one that is in very bad condition. It may be scratched, chipped, or severely worn. It will usually have a low value, depending on its rarity.
- Fair: The rims on the coin have been worn down. There lines on both sides of the coin should be visible, but the lettering may be gone. You should be able to see the coin’s date to identify it.
- Good: The coin is well-worn, but all the major features are still visible. All the lettering should be readable, and the date should be clear.
- Very Good: Susan B. Anthony Very Good dollars show medium wear, but most of the lettering should be visible, as well as most of the original design.
- Fine: A Fine coin is one that has been circulated but not heavily worn. The date should be legible, as well as parts of the design.
- Very Fine: Susan B. Anthony dollars in very fine condition will show only light wear. Most of the design’s detail will be gone, but overall, the coin is very easily recognizable.
- Extremely Fine: An extremely fine Susan B. Anthony dollar has only minor wear and all of the design’s detail should be visible. There will be marks from circulation, but they will be light.
- About Uncirculated: A coin that is about uncirculated has only the slightest signs of wear and tear. The date should be visible, and all of the design’s detail should be present.
Coin grading services also separate between various degrees of uncirculated coins.
Evaluating Uncirculated Coins
An uncirculated coin is a coin that has never been in circulation. It has never been used as money and has always been stored in a mint or other secure facility. Uncirculated coins are usually in pristine condition, with no scratches or wear.
A fundamental tool to evaluate uncirculated coins is a magnifying glass. The difference between an extremely fine coin and a about uncirculated coin is quite small, and can only be detected with a magnifying glass.
Another way to evaluate the condition of an uncirculated coin is by using a microscope. This will allow you to see even the smallest details on the coin, and determine its grade.
Here’s a list of the most common grades for uncirculated coins:
- Uncirculated (MS-60, 61, 62) — The basic level of uncirculated coins. These are the most common, and usually have little to no value above face value. These are often poorly struck, but they show no sign of wear, and heavy marks.
- Select Uncirculated (MS-63) — Marks are a little lighter compared to uncirculated coins. The strike is average or slightly weak.
- Choice Uncirculated (MS-64) — There are marks on the coin’s design, but they are not as heavy as on lower grades. The coin is well-struck.
- Gem Uncirculated (MS-65, 66) — A coin in gem uncirculated condition is well-struck and has very few marks, and these often are on the coin’s rim.
- Superb Uncirculated (MS-67, 68, 69) — Here is where imperfections start becoming invisible to the human eye. The strike is nearly perfect.
- Perfect Uncirculated (MS-70) — A perfect coin is one that is absolutely flawless. These are the highest graded coins, and they are extremely rare.
Where to Find Susan B. Anthony dollars
Now that you know all about the Susan B. Anthony dollar and its value, where can you find one? The best place to start your search is at a local coin shop. Coin shops usually have a wide variety of coins for sale, and they may have a Susan B. Anthony dollar or two in stock.
Another option is to look online. There are many websites that sell coins, and you may be able to find a Susan B. Anthony dollar for sale. The most famous auction sites are eBay, Stack’s Bowers Galleries, and Heritage Auctions.
If you want to be sure you’re getting a genuine Susan B. Anthony dollar, it’s best to buy from a reputable dealer. A reputable dealer will have a return policy, so you can return the coin if it turns out to be fake.
Be sure to do your research before buying from an online dealer, as—unfortunately—there are some scams out there.
The Value of Susan B. Anthony Dollars
Suppose you wanted to buy a Susan B. Anthony dollar for your collection. How much should you pay for one? We discussed earlier about the general value of Susan B. Anthony dollars, but the price you pay for one will vary wildly. That happens because auctions are determined by the free market, and what one person is willing to pay for a coin may be much different than what another is willing to pay.
To help you budget for a Susan B. Anthony dollar, we’ve put together a table with recent auction prices:
|Coin Year & Mint||Average Circulated (Poor to Fine)||Very Fine, Extremely Fine & About uncirculated||Uncirculated & Select Uncirculated MS-60 to MS-63||Choice & Gem Uncirculated MS-64 to MS-66||Superb & Perfect Uncirculated MS-67 to MS-70|
|1979 (P, D & S)||No sales||Around $7-$60. A few AU55 coins sold for $400-$500. An AU58 one went for $3,450||Most go for $10 to $95. A bunch go for around $600. An MS60 coin went for $4,025||$6 to $100. Some go for over $2,000. The record is $10,063||$300-$400. The record sale is $15,275|
|1979 Type 1 & 2 (PR)||No sales||$21||$8-$60||$25-$70.||You can easily find many for around $100. The most expensive ones go for less than $2,000|
|1980 (P, D & S)||No sales||No sales||Most go for less than $10. A few go for around $50||$5–$40. At most, you’ll pay around $500 for one. An MS64 went for almost $1,000||$50–$400. The record sale is $4,600|
|1980 (PR)||No sales||No sales||No sales||No sales||Plenty go for less than $30. The most expensive one sold for $700|
|1981 (P, D & S)||No sales||No sales||$10 at most, though a Jonathan Warren piece sold for $4,025||Most sell for around $10-$50. A bunch of S coins sell for a few hundred dollars. The most expensive coin went for $1,150||$100-$400. The record sale is $16,100|
|1981 Type 1 and 2 (PR)||No sales||No sales||Only one sale for $8,338||$10-$140||Type 1 versions go for around $50-$60. At most, they cost $800. Many type 2 sell for around $150. A bunch sell for $1,000, but the record sale is $5,463|
|1999 (P & D)||No sales||Only one sale at $499||Ds go for around $10, whereas Ps go for around $100. Though a few MS63 coins went for around $10,000||Ds go for $10-$25. Ps go for $10–$150. A few MS65 sold for around $10,000. A couple MS66 coins got up to $13,800–$16,100||Most Ps go for around $1,000-$2,000. Ds are cheaper at $200-$500. At most they reached $1,020|
|1999 (PR)||No sales||No sales||No sales||No sales||Most sell for around $10-$100. The most expensive ones don’t go above $575|
You’ve probably noticed that some pieces go for way above the average value, while others are only a few dollars more than what you would pay at a coin shop. There are a few reasons for that, mostly errors and auction fever.
Explaining the Big Price Variations
Errors are always going to be more valuable than a regular coin. If you’re not familiar with the term, an error is when something goes wrong during the minting process. That could be anything from a double die to a misprint.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common types of minting errors:
- Double Die — This happens when the die (the metal stamp used to create coins) is not aligned properly, and a result, two images are stamped on the coin.
- Misaligned Die — This occurs when the die is not perfectly vertical, and as a result, one side of the coin is stamped higher than the other.
- Off-Center Strike — When the die isn’t in the right place, it can cause the coin to be struck off-center. That means part of the design will be missing from one side of the coin.
- Strike Damage — This is caused when the die isn’t correctly lubricated, and as a result, it causes damage to the coin.
- Lamination Error — This happens when there is a fault in the metal plating of a coin, and it can cause parts of the design to peel away.
- Die Crack — A die crack is simply a crack in the die itself.
- Misprinted Coin — This happens when there is an error in the printing of the design on a coin.
The other reason for big price variations is what’s called “auction fever.” That’s when people get caught up in the moment and start bidding way above what a coin is worth. It’s easy to do, especially if you’re new to coin collecting.
There are also special coins, like DCAM (Deep Cameo) coins, FL(Full Lustre) coins that are worth more due to their rarity.
How many Susan B. Anthony dollars were minted?
Susan B. Anthony dollars were minted from 1979-1981 and then again in 1999. A total of around 700 million Susan B. Anthony dollars were minted.
Where can I buy a Susan B. Anthony dollar?
You can find Susan B. Anthony dollars for sale at most coin shops and online dealers. You may also be able to find one at a local auction or on eBay.
How do you tell if you have a rare Susan B Anthony coin?
There are a few ways to tell if you have a rare Susan B. Anthony coin. First, check the date. The 1979-S and 1981-S coins are the most valuable. You can also check for errors, like a double die or misprint. Finally, look for special features like DCAM or FL coins.
Susan B. Anthony dollars are a valuable piece of numismatic history. They’re also a great addition to any coin collection. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned collector, be sure to keep an eye out for these coins. With a little bit of luck, you may just find one at your local coin shop or online.
The Susan B. Anthony dollar is great for beginner collectors because even an MS65 graded coin will go for around $15. This gives you a coin with great detail, low price, and a story behind it. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, try to find an error coin or one with special features like DCAM or FL. These will cost more, but they’re definitely worth the investment.
And if you are the lucky possessor of a 1979-S or 1981-S Susan B. Anthony dollar, you may have a coin that’s worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. So, keep your eyes peeled and good luck out there.