The 1979 Dollar coin has a fascinating history. Also known as the Susan B Anthony dollar, it’s a coin every collector should understand.
Its most notable fact may be that it’s the first time U.S. coins featured the face of a woman representing liberty rather than a male president or an imaginary figurehead of a person.
So if you come across this unique U.S. coin, hold on to it. It may be worth much more than what it used to be.
However, its coin value will depend on a few different things considering there are a few varieties and some errors made throughout its history.
1979 Dollar Coin Design
The designer of the Susan B. Anthony 1979 was U.S. Mint Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro.
He was responsible for both the obverse and the reverse of the 1979 dollar coin.
The original design saw the obverse featuring an unidentified “Lady of Liberty,” with the reverse of the coin sporting a soaring eagle.
The Lady Liberty was a play-off of original copper coins. But this would not do it for Congress. They demanded the coin feature a real woman.
Gasparro had severe time constraints with this rejection and pulled from the Eisenhower coin for the reverse design.
This was a costly mistake, as the public would let him know. The coin received a negative reaction from the American people.
- The Eisenhower dollar weighed 22.68 g and was 38.1 mm wide.
- The Susan B. Anthony dollar weighed only 8.1g and was 26.5 mm in diameter.
The idea was to do a smaller coin making it easy to carry. But it would be confused with the quarter and the half-dollar.
- The quarter-dollar coin was 24.3 mm and weighed just over five grams.
The Obverse of the 1979 Dollar Coin
To identify the obverse or the “heads” side of the coin, you will see Susan B. Anthony’s side profile with the bust facing to the right side.
The words LIBERTY are featured on the top half of the coin, whereas the American saying, “IN GOD WE TRUST,” sits on the right side of Susan’s face in line with her chin and neckline.
The year 1979, when it was made, is featured on the bottom half of the coin. Several stars float around the coin’s rim connecting LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST, and 1979.
The edge is a circle, but the rim is designed as an 11-sided polygon for added design.
Pay special attention to the mint mark, which at first may sneak by without notice.
But the mint mark sits just above the shoulder of Susan B. Anthony, and it features either a D, S or P to indicate where it was minted.
Reverse of the 1979 Dollar Coin
The reverse of the 1979 dollar coin has a lot going on. The soaring eagle is left-facing as opposed to Susan being right facing. In the eagle’s talons is a laurel.
Looking closely, the eagle has its wings spread wide and is landing on the moon.
Above the eagle’s head on the left side is the planet Earth, with North America transcribed into the picture. It’s a tribute to the Apollo 11 mission.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is inscribed at the top half of the coin, directly centered, and comes down the right and left sides.
Above the eagle and below “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” is the Latin phrase, “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”
This means “one from many” in Latin and represents a motto America uses to signify its determination and unitedness, as America is made up of many states to represent a united country.
At the bottom of the coin is the denomination, “ONE DOLLAR,” and 13 stars surround the entire coin to represent the 13 original colonies as the flag does.
1979 Dollar Coin Features
- The composition is 91.67% copper on the outer layer and an inner core of pure copper. There is also 8.33% nickel content.
- Some 1979 dollar coins feature blob mint marks that are relatively invisible to the eye, look closely!
- 13 stars number the reverse of the coin to signify the original 13 US colonies.
- The reverse of the coin includes the Apollo 11 logo as a tribute to the first walk on the moon.
1979 Dollar Coin Values and Varieties
A few varieties from the designs we’ve just broken down above exist.
This is how you can determine whether your S.B.A. coin is worth money. And most importantly, just how much.
1979-D Silver Dollar Susan B. Anthony Coin Values
Some coin collectors need clarification on silver dollars and regular dollar coins minted with copper-nickel-clad material during striking.
Silver coins have a higher value in general because of the melt value of the silver. 1979 Susan B. Anthony dollar coins are copper-nickel clad.
However, a few 1979 half-dollar bicentennial-proof coins were minted with 40% silver.
The 1979-D Susan B. Anthony Dollar Value
The 1979 Denver minted Susan B. Anthony Dollar displays a “D” where the mint mark is meant to be.
Sadly, according to numismatic experts, this coin’s value is less than any other 1979 dollar coin variety minted in the same year because it lacks anomalies.
So, how much is it worth?
In excellent condition, it doubles its face value to $2.
But before you roll your eyes, it is worth looking at some other varieties. And who knows, it could add value as years go on.
The 1979-S Susan B. Anthony Dollar Value
The 1979-S dollar coin has two proof types that offer distinct differences in value.
So, in other words, not all “S” dollar coins are the same.
Proof Type 1 features the blob mint mark. Only with a great magnifying glass can you spot the S, thanks to this valuable error in minting. This is because mint marks were still being made by hand then.
Once the punch mark was overused, it became worn, making the “S” look much more like a blob than a letter.
It’s not an error coin, just how it was designed at the mint.
Proof Type 2 came around at the end of 1979 when a new punch was made to clear the “S.” Since San Francisco only minted proof coins, they became a collector’s item.
Today, the highest auction sale for a 1979-S proof type rare mint state collectible coin has gone for $130.
The 1979-P Wide Rim Near Date Coin Value
The most valuable coins of this series are the “P” minted coins because Philedphia made the error of minting two different coins.
The “The 1979-P Wide Rim Near Date Coin” was a variation that saw the “1979” stamped oddly close to the coin’s rim.
A factor that made the coin mintage unique was exclusively minted in the Philadelphia U.S. Mint.
This coin is incredibly scarce and valued between the price of $6 and $10 but has sold for over $2,500 in the open market. It’s incredibly rare to find one in uncirculated condition.
The 1979-P Narrow Rim Far Date Coin Value
The other version the Philadelphia Mint created was the 1979-P Narrow Rim Near Date Coin.
This was said to be a “normal” version of the coin and can go for as much as $1,400 at auction. It’s generally valued at prices between $1.05 and $1.35.
1979-P Susan B. Anthony dollar coins are fairly common; however, some error coins exist. A clipped planchet error coin can sell for several hundred dollars.
1979 United States Mint Proof Sets
Hardcore collectors go for entire proof sets of a given year. The 1979 proof set includes the following:
- The Susan B. Anthony dollar.
- The Kennedy half-dollar.
- The Washington quarter.
- The Roosevelt dime.
- The Jefferson nickel.
- The Lincoln penny.
There were 3.6 million brilliant uncirculated commemorative proof sets minted in 1979, and they are surprisingly affordable at $15 for the entire coin set.
Other great collectible for your coin collection is the 1979 Susan B. Anthony dollar and the 2000 Sacagawea dollar uncirculated coin mint set.
These two coins mark the first year of each coin featuring women.
History of the 1979 Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin
It’s worth taking a minute to recognize the history of the 1979 U.S. dollar coin since it was named after Susan B. Anthony, a women’s rights activist.
The coin was meant to resemble liberty and freedom, particularly for women.
Interestingly enough, it was only made for four years, but its alternative goal by The U.S. Treasury was to use the Susan B. Anthony Dollar to replace the $1 paper note with this coin.
The $1 paper note at the time required much more money to mint than minting coinage.
That’s because the paper note only lasted in circulation for about 18 months, while the coins could last up to 30 years.
Stella Hackel, the mint boss at the time, was looking to save the U.S. Treasury $19 million annually by using the one-dollar coin.
Because the Eisenhower coin was much larger, the Treasury was excited about the smaller size of the Susan B. Anthony coin.
They were so excited that the United States Mint produced over 750 million coins in that first year alone between three different U.S. minting locations.
After being proposed, President Jimmy Carter signed the coin into law on October 10, 1978.
1979 Susan B. Anthony Dollars were minted at the –
- San Francisco Mint
- Philadelphia Mint
- Denver Mint
Interestingly enough, the smaller-sized coin was less popular. This is why it only was minted for four different years.
The main complaint from the public was that it needed to differentiate more in size from the quarter-dollar coin. This resulted in more people sticking with the paper dollar.
Because of this, by 1981, they weren’t made for circulation but only for collector sets.
The original design was also shaped as an 11-sided hendecagon, but that design didn’t make it very far.
Vending machine manufacturers lobbied against the abnormal shape, saying their machines could only recognize round coins.
So the coin was minted from 1979 to 1981. But what about the fourth year? Well, there was an 18-year hiatus making it the longest gap where the U.S. treasury would mint coins.
In 1999, they brought back the S.B.A. or Susan B. Anthony dollar a final time at the request of the U.S. Postal Office.
What Makes a 1979-Dollar Coin Rare?
Generally speaking, the coin itself was unique to feature the first identifiable woman on the face of the coin instead of the figure of Lady Liberty.
But the rarest of all the coins are the Philedphia minuted SBA dollars because an error was made by producing two different varieties out of the U.S. Mint.
What if I Have a Rare 1979-Dollar Coin?
They all have some value, but the first indicator of the rare 1979 dollar coin is the “Near Date” mistake.
If you notice that the date is close to the rim and the 1 in 1979 is the same width as the rim, then you have your hands on a precious coin!
Where to Bring My 1979 Dollar Coin If I Have One of Value?
The best way to approach this is to bring your coin to a professional so it can be authenticated and professionally graded by NGC, or PCGS.
You can get an idea of a coin’s value on eBay, but it’s best to go with a professional coin dealer.
With coins and money, a grading system indicates what condition the money is in.
There are minimal differences between grades, so the only natural way to tell is to have it professionally graded.
Seeking out multiple opinions is also a good idea. This will give you a safety net if someone tries to lowball you with an offer. While this doesn’t happen as often as in the movies, it still does occur.
We’re Not Finished Learning About the 1979 Dollar Coin –
So Far, We Know That –
- The Susan B. Anthony coin is the first example of a real-life woman representing Liberty rather than just a figure of Lady Liberty.
- The coin was only struck for four years, making it one of the shortest coinage runs in U.S. history.
- The SBA coin was not popular with the general public because its size was similar to the twenty five cent and fifty cent pieces.
More Little-Known Information and Facts on the SBA Coin –
- Between three different mints, production was nearly 750 million Susan B. Anthony coins struck in 1979.
- The years between coin releases, from 1981 to 1999, is the gap for any US coin series.
- Over 500 million Susan B. Anthony coins were stored at the U.S. Mint and the Federal Reserve vault because demand for the coin was much less than anticipated.
- There was a short time when Susan B. Anthony dollar coins were used to pay U.S. Military members on European bases, but the payments halted when shops on base would only accept the coins at a discount to the one dollar bill.
- One desirable version of the SBA coin is the 1979-S Proof with a sharper “S” mint mark. After the mintmark puncheons were replaced from wear, a small number of coins were punched with a sharp “S”.
Learn More About Rare Coins –
- Do you want to sell your coins online but not sure where to start?
- The most asked question in the world – how much is my coin worth?
- Do you have a guide for all the various U.S. coins over the years? Yes, I sure do!