The Birth (and Death) of the Modern Small Dollar
Of all of the coins struck over the long career of the United States Mint, no coin had as much support from the federal government only to see it immediately cast aside upon release as the Susan B. Anthony dollar. tied the Morgan dollar, a large gawky flatware mint that went largely unused in much of the country, stayed in service long enough to make America ’ s silver mining interests wealthy .
once proclaimed the “ dollar of the future ” but quickly derided as the “ Carter quarter ” or the “ Agony dollar ”, the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin came into being after President Jimmy Carter signed its empower act into law on October 10, 1978. The coin had consentaneous support in the United States Senate, which voted on August 22, and passed the House of Representatives by a 368-38 vote on September 26 .
Congress and the Treasury Department saw the little dollar as a virtual option to the big cartwheel Eisenhower dollar, which was produced to great ostentation and large numbers but relatively short circulation .
The Anthony coin was created after a series of outside studies and Treasury reports.
In 1975, the U.S. Mint commissioned the Research Triangle Institute to look into the efficacy of the United States ’ stream neologism and its diverse metallic compositions. This review came one year after the Mint struck cents in an experimental aluminum admixture attempting to reduce the monetary value of producing one-cent neologism. One of the RTI ’ s findings was that the large size and weight of the U.S. one-dollar coin appellation was damaging to that coin ’ second circulation, so the RTI recommended the production of a dollar mint with a size in between that of the quarter and the half dollar .
A year late, the Treasury commissioned its own analyze, which resulted in the publication of a report titled, “ A New Small Dollar Coin : technical Considerations ” .
With the Treasury testing invention concepts, Treasury Chief William E. Simon published a “ State of Coinage Report ” wherein he advocated for a small dollar mint .
besides in 1976, Federal Reserve Governor Philip E. Coldwell supported the mint, seeing price savings for the Treasury in surfeit of $ 4.5 million over the Eisenhower dollar–more, if they were struck to replace the $1 Federal Reserve Notes .
The Treasury saw the raw mini-dollar as a blessing to the vending diligence deoxyadenosine monophosphate well, which could offer a new image of products with the newly smaller coin. The American Bankers’ Association, however, voice opposition to the idea, citing the government ’ s “ bit-by-bit approach to the nation ’ south circulating mint and currency system ” and suggesting without a net policy and public information campaign that the project was doomed to fail .
interestingly enough, the Treasury Department, despite its inner optimism, foresaw many of the mint ’ randomness shortcomings as the project came closer to realization .
Former U.S. Mint Director Philip Diehl, who oversaw the release of the Susan B. Anthony modest dollar successor, the Sacagawea dollar, in the 2000s, said in an interview that several design recommendations were ignored by the Mint when the coin went into output. For starters, experts had recommended that the coin be a different discolor than the stern, have a different edge, and that the Mint should undertake a massive advertising campaign to promote the coin. All three of these concerns were ignored in the final examination product .
In theory, the Susan B. Anthony was meant to be 11 sided. The vending industry lobbied against this on the grounds that their machines were designed to accept round coins and therefore the 11-sided dollar coin would require an expensive refit of their machines .
The Mint ultimately backed down from this estimate and alternatively kept the 11-sided polygon as a design embellishment on the rim of the coin. The Susan B. Anthony dollar besides came with a reeded edge, which made the new dollar coin and the quarter bewilderingly like in size, condition, and appearance .
Upon unblock, the National Automatic Merchandising Association took a wait-and-see approach to the new mint to determine whether the public would accept it before the deal organization and its members bore the expense to update their machines. After the exuberance around the coin ’ s launch gave means to apathy and indifference, the vending industry pulled its support .
Rejecting Allegory and Political Shifts Away from Feminism
Although many women have made hearty contributions to the state, they ’ ve all fallen short of the presidency. To depart from the past precedent of using “ Miss Liberty ” would surely invite unnecessary controversy .
— W. Michael Blumenthal, Secretary of the Treasury ( January 23, 1977 – August 4, 1979 )
The Susan B. Anthony dollar was the first circulate coin to honor a non-mythical charwoman. Although the Isabella quarter of 1893 was struck to honor Spain’s Queen Isabella and was sold as a memento at the Women’s Pavillion at the World’s Columbian Exposition, the mint was not intended to circulate as a regular U.S. mint. even on this mint, with no know likeness of Queen Isabella to draw from, Mint Chief Engraver Charles Barber had to imagine her likeness .
Placing the 19th-century suffragette and civil rights leader on the obverse of the new dollar was not the Treasury ’ s original captive. rather, the Department proposed that the new mint would feature an allegorical Liberty, whose likeness had dominated United States coins until former presidents and founding fathers began to accumulate on our coinage .
In line with the Treasury ’ sulfur plan to use Liberty on the coin ’ second obverse, Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro created a design that was loosely based on the Flowing Hair cent design of 1794. Photographs of models made using this design, date 1977, have been widely distributed in the numismatic media .
The coin ’ south authorizing legislation called for a different approach .
Ohio Representative Mary Rose Oakar ( D ), introduced a bill calling for a mini-dollar bear the compare of Susan B. Anthony. Oakar felt that allegorical representations of american womankind were not allow. Given the fact that american coins had featured the likenesses of presidents and founding fathers since 1909, Oakar ’ mho position had historical justification.
ultimately passed in a bipartisan fashion, Oakar ’ randomness charge garnered support from a panoply of women ’ second groups, including the League of Women Voters, Daughters of the American Revolution, the National Organization for Women (NOW), and the American Association for University Women .
finally, Gasparro, excessively, lent his support .
On the opposing side were a act of voices, including Treasury Secretary W. Michael Blumenthal, who suggested that no woman ’ s accomplishments had reached the lapp level of importance as the presidency .
It is interesting to note, and possibly coincident, that at about the same meter, conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly had successfully lobbied the Republican Party to end its back of the Equal Rights Amendment, evoking a dystopian future where women were conscripted into the military and both sexes shared populace bathrooms .
After President Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, the Mint mutely concluded its product of the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin .
A Legacy Beyond Failure – The 1979-P
The Susan B. Anthony dollar marked the end of Frank Gasparro ’ s design imprint on circulating U.S. neologism. It was a sourness note to go out on and it besides marked an end to the earned run average of mighty head engravers at the Mint .
Gasparro was replaced in 1981 by Elizabeth Jones, but her tenure saw a sum decrease of the position–which went unfilled for 16 years after her departure in 1990 .
Although most Susan B. Anthony dollars dated 1979 were struck that year, the coin actually went into production on December 13, 1978. The inclusion of the P mintmark marked the first base clock coins struck at Philadelphia bore a mintmark since the silver-clad Jefferson nickels were struck from 1942-45. From this point on, the P mintmark would be used on all coins struck at Philadelphia with the exception of the cent .
As a collectible, the coin enjoyed a degree of success when the Mint introduced Susan B. Anthony coin sets in 1985 and was one of the most popular items in the catalogue. The 1979-P dollar was sold in Mint Sets and was widely distributed into circulation. The bulk of the year ’ s 360,222,000 mintage, however, was held in repositing for decades until most of the stock was released into circulation at the end of the 1990s .
When discussing the Susan B. Anthony dollar with CoinWeek, Chief Engraver John M. Mercanti passed on a curious, even uncorroborated anecdote : When the design of the Susan B. Anthony was being reviewed by Ms. Anthony ’ s niece, the woman commented that Gasparro had made her appear besides reasonably. It seems that the Commission of Fine Arts felt the same way and asked Gasparro to present Anthony in a more realistic way during the coin ’ s blueprint phase .
Value in Today’s Market
In circulated grades and in raw uncirculated condition, the Susan B. Anthony dollar has a minimal numismatic value over face. Given the effects of inflation over time, the distinctive Susan B. Anthony dollar is worth less today than when it was struck for circulation. regardless, there are a count of criteria that make the 1979-P dollar potentially valuable. They are : Varieties and Errors, Premium Eye Appeal Authentic Toning, and Conditionally Rare High Grades ( certified by NGC or PCGS ) .
The two major varieties of the 1979-P dollar are the Wide Rim and Narrow Rim varieties. Differentiating between the two can be difficult to the untrained center, but the easiest method to identify the more valuable Wide Rim kind is to look at the roundness of the rim and the close up proximity of the numerals 1 and 9 to the rim. On the Narrow Rim kind, the rim has been cut back, is sharper, and the 1 and 9 are further away. In MS65 and MS66, the Wide Rim has a value of about $ 45- $ 50. At the conditionally-rare grade of MS67, this value jumps to over $ 1,600. The Narrow Rim is worth a fraction of these values, with a certified case in MS65-MS66 being worth less than the cost of submission ( i.e., Terminal Grade ) and the conditionally barely MS67 being worth about $ 225 .
Premium Eye Appeal Authentic Toning is barely on dress coins, but it does happen on Susan B. Anthony dollars. The 1979-P seems to be specially prone to toning in pleasing rainbow colors, and high-grade examples with PQ color that have been certified by PCGS or NGC bring significant premiums. Beware, however, that unscrupulous sellers are known to use chemical agents to quickly tone cheap coins in order to sell them on eBay. Any tone mint with semblance that is not certified by PCGS or NGC or sold through a reputable dealer should be treated as inauthentic .
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The obverse of the coin displays a right-facing portrayal of Susan B. Anthony in a high-necked blouse or shirtwaist, her hair pulled back into a bun. The couturier ’ randomness initials “ FG ” appear just below Anthony ’ mho left shoulder. The rim is not denticled but alternatively consists of politic but angular line segments that frame an 11-sided polygon ( an undecagon or hendecagon for you trivia lovers ). The parole LIBERTY is at the top, the date at the bottom, and the national motto IN GOD WE TRUST in small letters to the right of Anthony ’ second kuki. thirteen five-pointed stars circle the inside of the rim, seven to the left and six to the right ; those on the right are split into two three-star groups by the motto. A small “ P ” mintmark is located merely above Anthony ’ s right shoulder .
The overrule features yet another bring on the Michael Collins-designed mission patch of Apollo 11 – a deputation that included mankind ’ s first gear steps on the surface of another planetary body ( the daydream ). The 11-sided brim is repeated, framing a left-facing eagle with wings spread as if land on the cratered surface of the moonlight pictured on the bottom third base of the coin. The eagle is clutching an olive branch. Planet earth appears above and to the left of the eagle ’ second head, with the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM just to the veracious at clear center. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA encircles about the top one-half of the flange against the darkness of space, and ONE dollar is at the bottom over the lunar landscape. thirteen five-pointed stars form an arc around the eagle, below the exceed legend but above the earth and motto. Gasparro ’ s initials “ FG ” are besides on the reverse, below the eagle ’ s stern feathers .
The edge of the 1979-P Susan B. Anthony dollar coin is reeded, as are all other issues of the character .
|Year Of Issue:||1979|
|Denomination:||1 Dollar (USD)|
|Mint Mark:||P (Philadelphia)|
|Alloy:||75% Copper, 25% Nickel|
|OBV Designer||Frank Gasparro|
|REV Designer||Frank Gasparro | Michael Collins|