In their current auction, GreatCollections is offering collectors the opportunity to bid on a beautifully toned, top pop 1999 Susan B. Anthony dollar graded as MS 68 by PCGS with a gold shield. With 20 examples certified as MS 68, and with none graded higher by any third-party grading service, this auction represents an important opportunity for collectors. Bidding on this beautiful coin ends Sunday, May 8, 2022, 07:04:36 PM Pacific Time (10:04 PM Eastern).
At the time of publication, the highest of 22 bids stands at $625 (USD).
The latest public auction record for this type was set in February of 2022 with a hammer price of $1,920. This was the first time in five years that an example graded MS 68 came to auction, with the previous specimen selling in April 2017 for $1,293. Examples in top population command a dramatic premium over pieces graded just one grade below where the prices average 75$, and at the current bid of $625, this specific coin is quite the bargain.
First struck in 1979, the Susan B. Anthony dollar was the first time that a non-allegorical, real-life woman appeared on a circulating US coin. However, the United States Mint over-anticipated the demand for the radical new dollar and struck a total of over 700 million pieces. The coin was never well received by the US public, in part due to its similar size and weight to the quarter dollar. The Susan B. Anthony dollar measures 26.5 mm in diameter and weighs 8.1 gram while the quarter measures 24.3 mm and weighs 5.6 g.
In 1980 and ’81, mintages shrank dramatically until the Mint actually stopped production at the end of 1981. When production was resumed for one year only in 1999, the Philadelphia Mint struck 29,592,000 pieces. As such, these coins are quite common even up to the high Mint State grades. While PCGS and NGC have certified 475 and 347 pieces as MS 67, respectively, they have only graded 11 and nine examples respectively as MS 68.
The obverse of the coin displays a right-facing portrait of Susan B. Anthony in a high-necked blouse or shirtwaist, her hair pulled back into a bun. The designer’s initials “FG” appear just below Anthony’s left shoulder. The rim is not denticled but instead consists of smooth but angular line segments that frame an 11-sided polygon (an undecagon or hendecagon for you trivia lovers). The word 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’s chin. 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 just above Anthony’s right shoulder and the date (1999) is directly below her bust.
The reverse features yet another take on the Michael Collins-designed mission patch of Apollo 11 – a mission that included mankind’s first steps on the surface of another planetary body (the moon). The 11-sided rim is repeated, framing a left-facing eagle with wings spread as if landing on the cratered surface of the moon pictured on the bottom third of the coin. The eagle is clutching an olive branch. Planet earth appears above and to the left of the eagle’s head, with the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM just to the right at top center. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA encircles nearly the top half of the rim 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 top legend but above the earth and motto. United States Mint Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro’s initials “FG” are also on the reverse, below the eagle’s tail feathers.
The edge of the 1999-P Susan B. Anthony dollar coin is reeded, as are all other issues of the type.
Bidding ends on Sunday, May 8, 2022, 07:04:36 PM Pacific Time (PT).
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The SBA dollar unfortunately was a case study in how NOT to create a coin. The size itself wasn’t an issue; after all cents and dimes are even closer in both absolute and relative sizes. What _was_ wrong should have been obvious from the start:
> The Mint ignored advice from numismatic experts to use any number of distinctive features such as a different composition and a multi-sided edge. IIRC it was even claimed at the time that the Mint couldn’t produce the proposed 11-sided pieces even though other countries had been making multi-sided coins for decades.
> Congress interfered by forcing the Treasury to continue producing $1 bills.
> There were no plans to increase production of $2 bills to bridge the gap between $1 and $5, a step that would have blunted the (very real) objection to needing multiple $1 coins to make change.
> They ignored the almost-parallel failure of the double dime 100 years previously. It had the same impediment of being almost identical to the quarter which continued to be produced concurrently instead of being replaced.
It’s interesting to see that Canada’s iconic Loonie $1 coin is essentially the same size as the SBA dollar but causes no confusion with quarters due to its color and edge. Canada of course also removed its $1 bill from circulation within a couple of years of the Loonie’s debut.