The Susan B. Anthony Dollar 40 Years After Its Debut

By Louis Golino
The narrative of mod U.S. dollar coins is by and large one of failure in terms of circulating issues and one of shuffle results as a numismatic collectible. american consumers have largely rejected the coins for commerce, preferring to use the dollar bill. As for collectors, some of these coins, such as the first, the Eisenhower dollar, remain quite popular with collectors, while others never actually took off with them .
The most celebrated – some would say ill-famed – exercise of a flop in both regards is the Susan B. Anthony dollar, which debuted 40 years ago on July 2, 1979. The coin was conceived as a solution to the failure of the Eisenhower dollar, which was issued into circulation from 1971 to 1978, due to its big size and heavy system of weights. Ike dollars were widely used in casinos, specially in slot machines, barely as Morgan and Peace dollars of the same size had been used for those purposes before that .

Susan B. Anthony Dollar Origins

Susan B. Anthony In 1975 the Treasury department commissioned a neologism study from the Research Triangle Institute that was released the following year. That report made numerous suggestions, including the issue of a dollar coin bigger than a quarter, but smaller than a half dollar. In addition, it should be of a different color than existing coins, have a distinct border from early coins in circulation and that its handout should be accompanied by a big commercialize campaign. In addition, the composition noted that a smaller dollar would make cash transactions for consumers easier, particularly when using vending machines. unfortunately, the Treasury only followed the size recommendation and to a limited degree the selling political campaign, but largely ignored the other points.

furthermore, there was a batch of support at the time for a small dollar, including from Mint Director Stella Hackel and within the vending machine diligence. They argued that millions of taxpayer dollars could be saved by using the raw coin, because it costed alone 3 cents to make and could last 15 years compared to a paper dollar that lasts 18 months and costs 2 cents to make .
In April 1977 Carter administration Treasury Secretary Werner Michael Blumenthal wrote in support of such a coin to the House Banking Committee and suggested it feature a design with an allegorical depiction of Liberty, which appeared on most circulate american coins issued from the begin of the U.S. Mint through the 1940s. Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint Frank Gasparro soon got to work creating plasters of a dollar with an obverse ( evocative of the invention of half and one-cent coins from the 1790s ) that showed Liberty with long, flowing hair vitamin a well as a phrygian cap ( symbolizing freedom ) on a pole, and a soar or volant eagle on the inverse rising above the sun .
interim, the Mint had been experimenting with coins with different numbers of sides and settled on a round coin with reeded border ( like the others in use ), but with an inside boundary line that had 11 sides to make in different in appearance from other circulating issues. however, this did not take account of the fact that most non-collectors do not look identical close at their change .
In May 1978 Senator William Proxmire introduced a bill calling for a completely unlike design depicting suffragette Susan B. Anthony ( who lived from 1820 to 1906 ). Anthony was an abolitionist as a young pornographic and former became a ace of equal rights for women, besides playing a key role in passage of the 19th amendment that gave women the correct to vote .
The proposal for an Anthony dollar, which was strongly opposed by most within the numismatic community at the clock time who preferred the Liberty invention, received lots of hold from versatile women ’ sulfur organizations and many members of congress. In finical, the League of Women Voters argued that it was essential to ultimately issue a coin that featured a real woman on it .
Gasparro got to work on a new obverse with Anthony and originally produced one based on a photograph of her in her 20s, which he wrote years late was perceived as “ excessively reasonably ” in the position of Anthony ’ s bang-up niece, so he developed a new one of Anthony at about long time 50 that besides made her look more stern than she did in the previous rendition .
Gasparro thought this visibility would be paired with his soaring eagle change by reversal, but Senator Jake Garn changed the speech of the legislation to require using a smaller translation of the Apollo 11 deputation plot featured on the Ike dollar reverse – a coin that was first proposed in 1969, the same year as the moonlight bring. In addition, Eisenhower had proposed the creation of NASA in a joint address to Congress in 1958, which added to its suitability for that mint. Of class, there was no connection between Susan B. Anthony and the Apollo deputation .

A New Dollar Is Born

Susan B. ANthony Obverse Susan B. Anthony dollars were authorized by a law signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 2, 1978, which late led to assorted nicknames likes “ Carter quarter ” and “ J.C. penny ”. In anticipation of what officials thought would be a coin with high demand, 500 million coins were struck before the official roll-out on July 2, 1979. Some vending machines had modifications made to them to accept the coins, however this was not done on a far-flung footing due to the cost .
initially, the mint was well received to a degree as customers at banks requested them, but it was soon apparent they were not circulating to any significant degree, largely because many people continued to confuse them for quarters. Too few vending machines accepted them ; the Nevada casinos did not want them, although Atlantic City casinos had slot machines that accepted them .
The USPS and some passage agencies tried to distribute the coins, and there were besides several Mint campaigns for the coins. however, those efforts were met with limited achiever, and by the fall of 1979 the coin was already wide perceived as a failure. In accession, some Americans saw the design and its topic as what some would today call politically compensate and others were concerned it would lead other social groups to seek theatrical performance on coins. Plus, most collectors and many others found the coin to be unattractive .
SBA Reverse The mintage was reduced from 757.8 million in 1979 to 89.7 million in 1980, and then in 1981 only 9.7 million were made and those were alone sold to collectors. production ended after that, but in 1985 Mint Director Donna Pope proposed selling Anthony dollars calm sitting in vaults in collectors in sets and bags, which generated about $ 1 million in tax income.

sake in dollar coins to replace newspaper dollars did not go away after that, and in the recently 1990s proposals emerged for a little dollar of a brass tinge as were used successfully in Canada, which would be much easier to distinguish from quarters and would work in existing vending machines. This would lead finally to passage in 1997 of legislation for a new little dollar, but those did not begin until 2000 .
By this time Anthony dollars were more widely used in vending machines and transit machines than they had been in the previous ten, and by the late 1990s supplies of the coin were largely depleted with merely 47 million in Treasury vaults by February 1999 .
A final examination run of 41 million Anthony dollars was announced by the Mint in May 1999 as a makeshift measure until the Sacagawea dollars began to assure adequate issue of dollar coins, although according to Q. David Bowers existing dollar coin supplies were adequate at the time. He believes the very argue Anthony dollars were issued one last time in 1999 was because of concerns about the Y2K trouble coming on the final day of the year that increased requirement for hard alloy coins .

Lessons and legacy

In hindsight it is likely that if the Anthony dollar mint had been conceived differently – in particular with a different color and size and if the original Liberty design had been used, it is potential the coin would have been more successful in department of commerce and better received by collectors .
however, it is besides the character that even those changes would credibly have been insufficient to produce a transition from wallpaper dollars to dollar coins because, as subsequent little dollars issued since then have shown, Americans simply prefer their newspaper dollars. They do not want to carry lots of dollar coins even if their weight is the lapp as that of a quarter ( Anthony dollars weighed 43 % more than quarters ). No come of GAO studies showing how much money can be saved from using the coins, which have been issued over the years, will change that. Yet the Congress and Treasury have continued to call for more dollar coins – most recently the Innovation dollar, but since 2011 such coins have only been made for collectors .
For the history of numismatics, the Anthony dollar is important as the first attempt to introduce a minor clothed dollar for circulation ; as a short circuit series that is easy to complete apart from the several varieties that exist of that coin ; as the first coin to feature a veridical charwoman and an important historic figure quite than another allegorical double of Liberty ; and as the beginning mint to use a “ P ” mintmark for the Philadelphia Mint each year it was issued .
Although widely seen as a failure as a circulating emergence, it is noteworthy that the entire supply of Anthony dollars was depleted from Treasury vaults within 20 years of the coin ’ s 1979 debut compared to much longer periods for Morgan and Peace dollars. tied though the coin failed to circulate in the early 1980s, its subsequently use in vending machines, including those that sell stamps at station offices, and aggregate theodolite ultimately made it something of a success .
Sources :
Q. David Bowers, A Guide Book of Modern United States Dollar Coins ( Whitman, 2016 )
Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez, “ The Susan B. Anthony Dollar Turns 40, ” The CPG Coin and Currency Market Review, July-September 2019

Ed Reiter, “ Decreases in the stockpiles of Susan B. Anthony Dollars ” ( hypertext transfer protocol : // )
Lianna Spurrier, “ The Story Behind the Susan B. Anthony Dollar ” ( hypertext transfer protocol : // )
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