1979 Susan B Anthony Dollar Value (Rare Errors, “D”, “P” and “S” Mint Mark)

In 1979, a monumental shift occurred in the world of United States currency—a real woman’s profile was featured on a circulating coin for the first time. Rather than the mythical or allegorical female figures that had graced coins in the past, this was a genuine, historical individual.

Is Your 1979 Dollar Coin a Hidden Treasure?

If you’re asking whether that 1979 dollar coin in your drawer is more than a simple piece of change, you’re in the right place. The coin came in several different forms—some with intriguing mistakes, others as special proof editions.

The value of a 1979 dollar coin isn’t set in stone; it varies based on the coin’s physical condition and its grading by professionals. But under the right circumstances, certain 1979 dollar coins could find you holding onto a few hundred extra dollars.

Let’s delve into the rich history of the 1979 dollar coin, explore its unique characteristics, understand its numismatic worth, and uncover the peculiar errors that make some of these coins exceptionally valuable.

1979 Dollar Coin Valuation Chart

Minting Location Mark Well-Used Well-Kept Nearly Perfect Pristine Condition
1979 D $1.05 $1.10 $2 $2.50
1979 P $1.05 $1.10 $2 $2.28
1979 S $1.05 $1.10 $2 $2.28
1979 P Wide Rim $6 $10 $30 $67
1979 S Type 1 Proof $7.78
1979 S Type 2 Proof $55

In this guide, we aim to shed light on the facets that define the 1979 dollar coin and give you the tools to determine if your coin is a mere keepsake or a valuable gem.

Let’s embark on this monetary journey!

The Tale of the 1979 U.S. Dollar Coin: A Tribute to Susan B. Anthony

In 1979, a special U.S. dollar coin emerged from the mint, intended as a tribute to the influential women’s rights pioneer, Susan B. Anthony. This coin was not merely a symbol of respect for a trailblazing woman but was also part of a strategic attempt by the U.S. Treasury Department to redefine the nation’s currency.

With an aim to bid farewell to the one-dollar paper bill—a piece of currency that, despite a mere 18-month lifespan in circulation, came with a substantial cost for its production—the Treasury eyed substantial savings. Stella Hackel, the leader of the Mint at that time, calculated that switching from paper to coin could conserve an impressive $19 million per year for the Treasury.

This remarkable initiative wasn’t just a spontaneous decision. On the 10th of October in 1978, the U.S. Congress greenlit the issuance of this distinctive dollar coin, and President Jimmy Carter authenticated this move with his signature, making it the law of the land.

The responsibility of crafting this monumental coin fell into the hands of Frank Gasparro, the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint. Initially, Gasparro’s drafts portrayed an allegorical Lady of Liberty gracing the front of the coin and a majestic eagle in flight on the back. However, a mandate from Congress redirected the design to feature the beloved advocate for women’s rights, Susan B. Anthony, making this the debut of a real woman’s likeness on widely circulated U.S. currency.

In 1979, an astounding 433 million-plus coins were struck across the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mints. The Treasury was optimistic, envisioning that Americans would welcome this compact coin, offering a practical alternative to the bulky Eisenhower coin that preceded it.

Nevertheless, the petite dollar coin didn’t receive the warm embrace that officials had anticipated. Public sentiment turned sour, as many people found the new coin’s appearance strikingly similar to the quarter, due to its nearly identical size. The familiar paper dollar remained in people’s wallets, resisting its metallic replacement.

This lukewarm reception led to a swift downturn in the production of the Susan B. Anthony dollar. By 1981, these coins were relegated to collector sets, with none finding their way into general circulation. It wasn’t until 1999, spurred by a request from the U.S. Postal Service, that these coins were minted again—ending an 18-year production dormancy, the longest in the history of U.S. coinage.

In 1999, in preparation for the introduction of the Sacagawea Dollar the following year, the U.S. Mint took the decision to breathe life back into the Susan B. Anthony dollars. This revival marked both a return to circulation and the last chapter in the story of this iconic coin’s production.

A Closer Look at the Distinctive 1979 U.S. Dollar Coin

Let’s delve into the captivating characteristics that set the 1979 U.S. dollar coin apart. Known as the Susan B. Anthony dollar, this coin stands out like a beacon in the vast sea of U.S. currency, presenting features that are not replicated in other coins. Here’s our guide to identifying this special coin:

The Front Side: A Nod to a Legendary Woman

The obverse of this coin is akin to a miniature portrait gallery. At the center stage is a rightward profile of Susan B. Anthony, a remarkable woman who was instrumental in the women’s suffrage movement in the United States.

Hovering around the top of the coin, we find the word “LIBERTY” like a halo, reminding us of the freedom she fought for. Subtly placed, nearly whispering across from Anthony’s chin, are the reassuring words, “IN GOD WE TRUST.” Anchoring the design below, the issuance year “1979” is clearly marked.

An intricate touch is the 11-sided polygon that forms the coin’s inner rim, a unique geometric embrace. Not to be overlooked, the edges of this coin are reeded, creating a tactile experience for the holder.

Where was this coin born, you ask? Look above Anthony’s left shoulder, and you’ll discover a small yet significant detail: the mint mark. Depending on its place of origin, it will bear a ‘D’ for Denver, ‘P’ for Philadelphia, or ‘S’ for San Francisco.

The Flip Side: A Tribute to Exploration and Unity

Turning the coin over, the reverse side unfolds like a scene from an epic tale of exploration. A leftward-facing eagle, the embodiment of strength and freedom, is depicted as it descends onto the moon, its talons gracefully clutching a laurel. This poignant scene evokes the daring spirit of the Apollo 11 mission’s lunar landing.

Above the eagle’s poised head, Earth watches over like a silent guardian, with North America etched onto its surface, forever linking the coin to its homeland.

Circling the coin’s outer rim at the top, the grand title “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” stands as a testament to the nation it represents. Below, in more subdued lettering, the Latin motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM” (Out of Many, One) is gracefully inscribed, highlighting the unity that defines the nation.

Completing the design, the coin’s value of “ONE DOLLAR” is clearly marked along the bottom, and a ring of thirteen stars, symbolizing the original U.S. colonies, encircles the eagle, adding a final touch of historical reverence.

Exploring the Intricacies of the 1979 Dollar Coin

In 1979, a unique dollar coin made its debut in the United States. Crafted with a striking combination of metals, its exterior boasts a rich blend of 91.67% copper, complemented by 8.33% nickel. At the heart of this coin, you’ll find a core composed entirely of pure, gleaming copper.

Tipping the scale at a modest 8.1 grams, this coin doesn’t weigh down your pocket. Its size, though, is what makes it truly noteworthy: a diameter of 26.5 millimeters. Interestingly, this places it comfortably between the quarter, which measures 24.3 millimeters across, and the half dollar, with its broader span of 30.6 millimeters. This close resemblance in size to its smaller and larger counterparts played a role in its lukewarm reception—people found it too easily confused with other coins.

Now, let’s delve into a secret that lies within some of these 1979 dollar coins: the mysterious blob mint marks. Although typically invisible to the unaided eye, these subtle features can transform an ordinary coin into a collector’s treasure. Unlocking the knowledge of these elusive markings is akin to becoming a coin detective, where the smallest clue can lead to a significant discovery.

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Discover the captivating story of the 1979 Dollar Coin, from its unique metal composition to its cryptic blob mint marks, in this engaging video.

A Guide to the 1979 U.S. Dollar Coins and Their Worth

Embark on a journey to acquaint yourself with the various 1979 dollar coins that are part of American numismatic history:

The Denver Mint’s Contribution: The 1979-D Dollar Coin

In the mountainous terrains of Denver, 1979 saw the production of a distinctive dollar coin, identifiable by a ‘D’ mark. This marking can be spotted hovering just over the right shoulder of Susan B. Anthony’s portrait, or positioned on the coin’s left edge.

Despite their origins in the renowned Denver Mint, these coins are, surprisingly, not known for any particular rarities or unique errors. Thus, they tend to sit at the lower end of the value spectrum among collectors.

Currently, a 1979-D dollar coin has a market value of approximately $2.28.

The San Francisco Specialty: The 1979-S Dollar Coin

San Francisco, known for the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, is also famed for its mint, where in 1979, a special dollar coin was crafted. This coin is distinguished by an ‘S’ mint mark, which resides above Susan B. Anthony’s right shoulder in the coin’s design.

Contrary to the common trend at the San Francisco Mint, which predominantly produces proof coins, 1979 was an exception. That year, this business-strike dollar was released into the hands of the public, although a few brilliant, untouched versions can occasionally be found within mint sets.

For collectors, a 1979-S dollar coin holds an estimated value of $2.28.

The Philadelphia Rarity: The 1979-P Wide Rim Dollar Coin

In 1979, Philadelphia’s mint was the stage for a numismatic curiosity. Two distinct coin pressings emerged, resulting in dollar coins with unique appearances on the front side. One of these, known for a more generous outer boundary, situates the year ‘1979’ notably close to the coin’s edge.

This intriguing version, sometimes referred to as a ‘near date,’ is an exclusive product of the Philadelphia Mint, a trait not shared with its Denver and San Francisco siblings.

In a collector’s world, circulated versions of this 1979-P wide-rim coin are generally valued from $6 to $10, based on the state of preservation. However, for those rare gems that have remained untouched and uncirculated, collectors might be willing to part with as much as $67.

The Tale of Two Distinct 1979 Dollar Coins

In 1979, a unique story unfolded in the Philadelphia Mint, where two distinct styles of the dollar coin were born. One of these, the 1979-P, had its own characteristic flair. This coin stands out due to its subtly slender edge, a distinct feature that sets it apart from its sibling—the Near Date variety. While observing this coin, one would notice how the year ‘1979’ appears to maintain a reserved distance from the edge, as if shyly stepping back to let the narrow rim take center stage.

This Philadelphia special, marked with a ‘P’, did not, however, share the same level of allure in terms of value as its Near Date counterpart. Even when found in a pristine, untouched condition, its value remains modest—a surprise, perhaps, given its unique features and exclusive origin from the Philadelphia Mint. As it stands, the 1979-P with its narrow rim is assessed at a humble $2.28.

The San Francisco Mint’s Story: A Tale of Two Proofs

Journeying across the country to the San Francisco Mint, 1979 had its own set of tales to tell. Initially, the facility was using an aged die for minting, which led to an ambiguous ‘S’ mint mark on the dollar coins. These early versions, known among grading companies as the 1979-S proof type 1, have since been categorized as error coins—a unique chapter in numismatics that we will delve into later.

Recognizing the need for clarity, the San Francisco Mint soon opted for a change, replacing the old die with a crisp, new one. This refreshed approach led to a mint mark that was no longer ambiguous, but confident and clear. Now, the ‘S’ boasted defined serifs, crowning both the top and bottom of the letter with grace.

The availability of these Susan B. Anthony type 2 proofs remains shrouded in mystery, their exact numbers unknown. Yet, what is clear is their relative rarity and increased value compared to the Type 1 proofs. Currently, these refined 1979-S proof type 2 coins proudly hold a value of $55.

The Tale of the 1979 Dollar Coin and Its Unusual Variant

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In 1979, the San Francisco Mint embarked on a project to produce a new series of dollar coins. Among these coins, there emerged one particularly special variant: the 1979-S proof type 1. This coin tells a story of wear and resilience, which is physically manifested in a unique characteristic on the coin — a peculiar distortion that numismatists might describe as a “cud” or “blob” error.

Imagine the meticulous labor involved in striking coins. With each strike, a metallic disc (known as a planchet) is transformed into a piece of currency, stamped with intricate designs by a powerful press. Now, consider the stress this process places on the dies used to strike these coins. In earlier times, when crafting a new die was a costly affair, the mint operators were known to extend the life of these dies as long as they could, often until they were at the brink of failing.

In the case of the 1979-S proof type 1 dollar coin, this die-endurance strategy led to a captivating anomaly. The enormous force required to shape a coin, paired with constant use, progressively degraded the die. When the 1979-S proof type 1 dollar was struck, the die responsible for it was particularly worn, especially in the area designated for the mint mark.

During this period, mint marks — in this case, the ‘S’ indicating San Francisco — were manually punched into the dies. Picture a mint worker, tirelessly striking the ‘S’ into each die with a punch tool. By the time the 1979 dollar coins were being produced, the punch tool itself was showing signs of wear and tear. Consequently, when it was employed for the ‘S’ on this coin, the outcome was a mint mark that appeared softer and less defined. It’s as though the normally crisp serifs at the top and bottom of the ‘S’ melted away, giving the mint mark a filled or blurry appearance.

As 1979 drew to a close and the production of the next batch of coins was on the horizon, the San Francisco Mint took decisive action. They crafted a new punch, setting the stage for the 1979-S proof type 2 dollars, which boasted a more distinct and sharply defined ‘S’ mint mark.

Though more prevalent than its type 2 counterpart, the 1979-S proof type 1 is a poignant reminder of the challenges and pragmatism of historical mint operations. Because of its relative abundance, it holds a modest place in the world of coin collecting, with an estimated value of $7.88. For those eager to delve deeper into the world of Susan B. Anthony dollar errors, a wealth of information awaits, promising to guide collectors in identifying those elusive and highly prized variants.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Sets the 1979 Dollar Coin Apart?

In 1979, the United States Mint didn’t just print a handful of dollar coins – it released them by the millions. These coins, featuring Susan B. Anthony, are a familiar sight for many. However, exceptions to this commonality exist, making certain variants of this coin particularly sought after. Consider the 1979 dollar coin with an unusually broad border, an unintended quirk of its manufacturing process, akin to an accidental stroke of a painter’s brush. Another standout variant is the 1979-S Type 2 dollar coin, a true gem for collectors. Unlike its widely circulated siblings, this version was solely destined for proof sets, never to jingle in the average American’s pocket.

Can Susan B. Anthony Dollars Be Worth More than a Dollar?

While most of Susan B. Anthony’s coin portraits aren’t winning the popularity contest (they’re often found exchanging hands for nothing more than their face value), certain editions have proven to be quite the exception. Take the 1979 proof sets, for example. Struck in the peaceful corridors of the San Francisco Mint and never venturing into the pockets of the public, these coins sit comfortably at a valuation of around $67. They are untouched, pristine, and in this state, they exceed their face value, akin to a vintage, unopened bottle of wine whose value matures over time.

Is There a Silver Lining to the 1979 One-Dollar Coin?

Here’s a plot twist: the 1979 one-dollar coin, despite its silver appearance, is a stranger to actual silver. Instead, this coin is a blend of over 91% copper and a small pinch of nickel, comprising the remaining 8% or so. Therefore, the concept of a 1979 one-dollar silver coin is akin to a mythical creature—it’s an enticing thought, but in reality, it simply doesn’t exist. However, despite its non-silver composition, the 1979 one-dollar coin still holds its place as a noteworthy piece, although you’re unlikely to stumble upon one in your everyday change.