US Coins

Clear Mint mark boosts price of 1981-S Anthony dollar

Below is the third 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, Proof 70 Deep Cameo

The Price


The Story

Two distinct Mint mark types were used by the San Francisco Mint when striking Proof Anthony dollars in 1981. 

The Filled S or Type One examples have a blocky S Mint mark with small serifs and oval center loops. 

The Clear S or Type Two Mint mark has a much clearer S, characterized with a larger serif at the base of the S, a flatter overall appearance and circular center loops. 

In Proof 70 Deep Cameo, the Clear S version is scarcer, and at the Jan. 11 Heritage auction, a Professional Coin Grading Service 1981-S Anthony dollar graded Proof 70 Deep Cameo with the Clear S Mint mark sold for $423. 

To put relative rarity into perspective, among the 1981-S Anthony, Clear S dollars, PCGS has graded 1,100 examples in Proof 68 Deep Cameo, 3,635 in Proof 69 Deep Cameo and 265 coins as Proof 70 Deep Cameo. For 1981-S Anthony, Filled S dollars, PCGS has certified 686, 12,818 and 951 coins respectively, and even Proof 70 Deep Cameo examples can be found for less than $100.

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