US Coins

High-grade 1981-S Anthony dollar a condition rarity

Below is the second of three posts from Steve Roach highlighting recently sold Anthony dollars:

The Anthony dollar was problematic as soon as it was issued. The small-sized dollar was easily mistaken for a quarter dollar and it shared the copper-nickel clad composition (and reverse design) of its predecessor, the Eisenhower dollar.

Frank Gasparro’s obverse design featuring Susan B. Anthony was handsome, but certainly not pretty. The more than 500 million coins struck between 1979 and 1981 were sufficient to meet demand for nearly two decades, and a final run in 1999 to meet demand from the vending and transportation industry concluded the series.

The Coin

1981-S Anthony dollar, Mint State 66

The Price


The Story

Much like the Morgan dollar, which was revived for one year only in 1921 after years of dormancy, the short-lived Anthony dollar series ended in 1981 and was revived in 1999 for one year. The Anthony dollar would be replaced by the golden Sacagawea dollar and, later, by the Native American dollars that continue to be produced today. 

Of the three U.S. Mints that struck dollars in 1981, Philadelphia Mint examples are the most common with a mintage of 3,492,000. 

In top grades the 1981-S Anthony dollar is a condition rarity, with Professional Coin Grading Service noting 124 in MS-66, a single example graded MS-66+ and only two coins in MS-67. 

At a Jan. 10 GreatCollections auction, a 1981-S dollar in PCGS MS-66 sold for $309.10, which is an impressive price considering that typical Mint State examples cost just a few dollars and PCGS MS-65 representatives regularly sell for less than $50. 

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