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The Susan B. Anthony dollar coin was designed to replace the dollar bill.
Have you ever used Susan B. Anthony dollar coins to pay for anything?
Probably not. And if you did, you were likely one of the countless people who didn’t like using the dollar coin!
The Susan B. Anthony dollar was an unfortunate failure nearly from the moment it hit pocket change back in 1979.
In 1980, a smaller number of Susan B. Anthony dollar coins was minted for circulation. In 1981 only a tiny number was made for coin collectors. It wasn’t until 1999 that the SBA dollar was resurrected — because, by that time, the demand was rapidly growing for dollar coins in the vending machine industry and in the mass transit sector as well.
Today, I want to do more than simply discuss mintage numbers and coin values.
Let’s talk about why the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin is so fun to collect…
The Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin Gets No Respect
The late, great comedian Rodney Dangerfield said it best when he lamented he got no respect. His words probably suit the SBA dollar coin, too.
The poor Susan B. Anthony dollar, struck from 1979-1981 and also in 1999, is one of our nation’s shortest-lived coins. It also could probably qualify for being one of our least popular coins, too.
Perhaps the biggest complaints about the coin came from those who lost 75 cents each time they confused the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin with the quarter (because they look so similar and are about the same size).
The problem people had with the Susan B Anthony coin is that they:
- Confused it with the quarter dollar, which is only a tad smaller
- Refused to use Susan B. Dollar dollar coins because the dollar bill was still circulating
- Didn’t like carrying around dollar coins, which weigh more than paper currency of equal face value
It goes without saying that it is an insult to call the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin the Carter Quarter. This is a direct reference to Jimmy Carter’s signing into the law the bill which authorized striking the about-quarter-sized coin.
Susan B. Anthony Coin Parodies
The SBA dollar coin has been both celebrated — and parodied.
Here are some excerpts from WikiPedia:
On [an] episode of “The Simpsons,” [entitled] “Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington,” Lisa proposes that the family attend the memorial to the fictional Winifred Beecher Howe, an ‘early crusader for women’s rights’ who was the leader of the 1910 Floor Mop Rebellion. ‘Later,’ Lisa notes, ‘she appeared on the highly unpopular 75-cent piece.’
The song Sunken Waltz by musical group Calexico features the lyric ‘Tossed a Susan B. over my shoulder and prayed it would rain and rain.’
The TV series based on the “Robocop” movie, which was set in the near future, featured a $1 coin called the ‘Ronnie.’ It was nearly identical to the Susan B. Anthony dollar, except that its obverse depicted Ronald Reagan.
And there are many more references to the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin in pop culture, as you will find.
The Rarest Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coins
It’s fair to say there really is no such thing as a truly rare Susan B. Anthony dollar. But if you’re on the lookout for SBAs in circulation, there is one year you will probably have a fairly hard time finding: 1981.
Why? Because in the 4 years the coin was struck (1979, 1980, 1981, and 1999), 1981 is the only year the U.S. Mint did not strike any Susan B. Anthony dollars for circulation.
All 1981 dollar coins were included only in mint-produced sets. However, there are collectors who have entered 1981 dollars in circulation. Therefore, it is possible to find a 1981 Susan B. Anthony dollar in change — but good luck.
By far, the most common date for the Susan B. Anthony dollar is 1979 — the year more than 750 million strikes of the coin were made.
For comparison’s sake, a tad more than 140 million were made for all other dates combined. Of all the Susan B. Anthony dollars ever made, only 9,742,000 regular-strike coins were dated 1981.
Susan B. Anthony Coin Values
One of the most enjoyable things about the SBA dollar is how relatively easy and inexpensive it is to assemble a complete collection of Susan B. Anthony dollar coins.
Including proofs and varieties, there are in total just 18 different Susan B. Anthony dollars to collect:
- 1979-P Narrow Rim — $2.50
- 1979-P Wide Rim — $30
- 1979-D — $2.50
- 1979-S — $2.50
- 1979-S Type 1 Proof — $4
- 1979-S Type 2 Proof — $35
- 1980-P — $2.50
- 1980-D — $2.50
- 1980-S — $2.50
- 1980-S Proof — $4
- 1981-P — $3
- 1981-D — $3
- 1981-S — $3
- 1981-S Type 1 Proof — $4
- 1981-S Type 2 Proof — $120
- 1999-P — $3
- 1999-D — $3
- 1999-P Proof — $15
*Values are for coins in uncirculated condition, unless otherwise noted as proofs.
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!
19 thoughts on “Reasons To Collect Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coins + The Value Of All 18 SBA Dollars Made In 1979, 1980, 1981, And 1999”
Do you know of a miss stamped Susan B anthony dollar? I have a 1979(P)that the border on the left side is considerably narrower than the right side. This is on the side with the image of Susan B Anthony.
Hi, Gus —
It’s possible that your Susan B. Anthony dollar was a little out of alignment when struck, causing the rim to look wider on one side than on the other. Unless the coin is dramatically off center, such a piece wouldn’t ordinarily garner much — if any — premium in value.
I have a 1979 Susan b. Anthony coin but I can’t figure out the mintmark Wich appears to be a block. And the S and T on trust is flattened out. What is this?
Hi, Adam —
Please feel free to post a close-up photo of the mintmark if you’d like as well as any other anomalies on the coin that you’re curious about.
I have what I think is a 1979-D SBA Narrow Rim and a 1979-P Wide Rim. I’m not so sure because the 1 in the date is about the same distance from the rim in both pictures. Can you help?
Hello, Eli —
Based on what I see in the photo, this appears to be a narrow rim variety and if worn is worth face value.
Thank you for your question and photo!
I have a Susan B Anthony coin without the denomination spelled on the back “one dollar”
Is it a fake or a mint mistake.
Hi, Luis —
Would you please post a photo of your coin here in the comments forum?
Thank you for your question,
I have this coin is it worth anything?looks to be the letter s below the collar https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fcfd21cc31317170a2764d55a13bbd02b773e17a17255479cb286ddfb4267da3.jpg
Hi, Stephanie —
A 1979-S Susan B. Anthony dollar is worth face value if it’s circulated; I believe I see wear on the high points of this coin. While it’s safe to spend, these coins are certainly unusual to find, and many folks keep them in their collections because they are something of a novelty.
Thank you for your question!
I currently have listed on eBay a lot of 500+ SBA’s. I found 4 circulated 1981’s in there. Weird how people would break them out of mint sets and spend them. Doesn’t make sense to me
Hi, Al —
It sounds like a neat lot you have. As for the circulated ’81s, I can’t figure that out either. I’ve seen many pop up with wear over the years. It probably is in part because most dealers don’t really like to pay premiums for typical uncirculated SBAs (even the ’81s) and because the market appreciation isn’t really there yet for this really neat, short-lived series. Perhaps once more people embrace the SBA series as an historically important modern series — with SEVERAL interesting varieties — we’ll see more people paying premiums for the uncirculated specimens.
Good luck with the auction!
Hi a,m abraham i realy happy it ud,s take a loock on mi pick and let,, my now thing,s abouth the coin thank,s good bless https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/38363f68619eef524e70a0fe51b3db4ff303d7ddbb5902b9e8d4c3dd0a8d8bec.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/64179326eb419e69491ace74dddcc05b9a9276a9f0164da927470564018a3de0.jpg
Hi, AB —
Your 1979 Susan B. Anthony dollar appears to be a typical worn example that is worth face value. Still, you don’t see these every day in pocket change!
https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9d40fd5f9fb1c9ef8f4552488670ac60838300356bd6cc3238c24d425acb9b57.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/99ba600234a07d3d516fb6df544dac7ab357d0827f8a33b29a641ea0f0da8215.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/464656457c243d830a68dda183350f410de2fdcc0a4c6fde0469f8edf7294ed9.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0c8fc0fdce8de3a2bebc504d61fd02081bd7204c972261ee933dba9bbec6e86f.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e785c2b84cdb9bf682771b81ca7305fa997a890d3a94ffbe51efa6fbbdae75ab.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fcfa0e4fd21ea55e1af2c67efbc62083120f5c5717ad8f1a17914d8feab1cb67.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7a3442c2e82781c6484c07b47f028b8459cb8a5c6f449be9d158851c78a667ef.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/998463602cd14d1e43fa95a2411cdb15cc540ff128763b8fe048b63b4a368a96.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/99ba600234a07d3d516fb6df544dac7ab357d0827f8a33b29a641ea0f0da8215.jpg Hi Josh,
I wrote you about helping me with my Susan B Anthony coins. I will send you a few photos from a microscope that might help you help me?
Hi, Nadine —
What exactly may I help you with? What did you spot that stands out? Also, I’m afraid these images are showing the coin and its details backward which is disorienting. Is there a way you’ll be able to post these images in the correct orientation please? I hope I can help you further!
I am sorry about the photos being not right side up. I have just fixed them
so they will all be seen correctly. What I was wanting from you is your
opinion of my coins. In my opinion most of what I have seen have many double
dies. They were bought from the bank in San Fransisco in 1979. I do not think
they have been circulated. My husband has kept them in a plastic container
with them stacked on top of each other. The image I sent to the site is what
most of them look like. I do not know what they are worth? I have read what
you explained on your site. I have looked on ebay but mine don’t really fit
in anything thing I have seen so far. Would you like me to post the new
photos on your site, or should I send them to though email? I would be happy
to pay you for your time, just let me know how much.
https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4f65d293bf6a27e9a418b4188835aac448c244e1343a652a2c2c80fa66fde08b.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1cc65b95042b8926010dce43e4b76c068f929ca5373a79c8a6953a2e89cffb9b.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/568519b717b82481604371db8adf62b198e2d2d1770f459aa104b8574f3b7409.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bf7bf9a571c65e096635237dc866d6eefef289823b776a339587f35fd27a5fc3.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4b802214fb507eec94dc2abc443d51446528f0ca08c185a994454a04b24fbd0b.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0c8fc0fdce8de3a2bebc504d61fd02081bd7204c972261ee933dba9bbec6e86f.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/23f7c52dd19d5f96ee36e3e2013798e20d766f01aaa1183dae64f3251f8b1381.jpg
Hi, Nadine —
I appreciate your taking the time to resend the images and for your gracious offer to pay for my time. However, I’ll be glad to assist gratis!
As I look closely at these images I see possible signs of a type of doubling known as “machine doubling.” Unlike a doubled die, which is a coin struck by a die with a doubled design (that’s pretty rare), machine doubling is caused by the way a coin was struck on the presses; this common type of doubling is often due to shifting of the coin on the press during striking and is also often the result of aging or deteriorating dies and is not a valuable form of doubling.
The only thing that really stood out to me on the coin pictured is some possible raised bubbling near the rim between the “D” of “UNITED” and first “S” of “STATES.” This might be something known as die erosion or the sign of an error known as a die clash, though I can’t be certain from this image alone. You might consider sending a little clearer version of the image to a coin error/variety specialist group known as CONECA for a second opinion on that. They are a group of collectors that officially attributes coin errors and varieties. Their website is varietyvista.com.
While I wish I could’ve given you much better news about this piece I do think it’s neat that you’ve had these coins right from their beginning in 1979 from their production at the San Francisco Mint. The Susan B. Anthony dollar series is one of my favorites but a sadly long-unappreciated coin that is starting to see a larger following in coin collecting as the years move along.
I wish you all the best!