coinfodder's Blog

31 May 2020

Horrid Coinage Fails Part 1- The Susan B. Anthony Dollar

Coins | coinfodder

Some coins can earn the endearment of others. Buffalo Nickels, Liberty Walkers, just to name a few. But some hit the gong dead flat, in style and in practicality. Now, please, David Ryder, don't try to sue me just because a made a horrid review of a coin. This is just my opinion. Before I continue, please suggest more horrid coinage fails, for practicality or design, in the comments down below.
In 1977, the U.S. is already planning a overhaul of the 6 years young Eisenhower Dollar. Their reasoning was to lighten the dollar (the Eisenhower's were 38.2 mm), and to eventually replace the dollar bill once the coins "took off".
Frank Gasparro, chief engraver at the US Mint (RIP, coin design is not the same) was tapped to create the design for the new dollar. What came out was a pretty coin, seemingly bringing back the liberty cap, which had been absent since the Weinman Coins bowed out of mintage since 1945 and 1946.
But like all good design, it was meant to become one thing- a pattern, with a full blown out Judd number. So, the Mint told Gasparro to make another coin. What came out was the Susan B. Anthony dollar.
Once the design was approved, the massive ad campaign began. The US Government poured millions into the advertising campaign, some of which are shown below in the pictures. And on July 2nd, 1979, the SBA dollars were finally released, supplanted the Eisenhower Dollar, and took a total nosedive.
Although the government aggressively pedaled the coin, several factors pedaled the coin to extinction. One, the public already had the $1 Bill. Why would the public bother to use a coin that they already had a lighter alternate for? And they already had a dollar coin that was good enough- the Eisenhower Dollar.
Two, the dollar looked like a quarter to the casual consumer. The two coins were very much similar in diameter and in color, leading many people to mislead the two coins.
So, this coin flopped and was canned, only to be brought back in 1999 to prepare the country for the Sacajawea Dollar.
Overall, the coin was a combo of bad judgement and overconfidence. That is why this lands on the hall of horrid coinage fails. Comment more suggestions in the comment section below, or write your memories with the dollar. Thanks, and we'll be back.


I. R. Bama

Level 5

Probably the homeliest coin in the US ever issued. Nonetheless, I have completed my set, and there they sit on the bottom shelf of my safe, rarely looked at. But I still had to have the complete set....go figure


Level 5

Someday all the fails will be great collectibles. Someone will be doing a television promo coin show selling them by the millions, advertising the times they were minted and used. Like Mike B. says, some fails are opinions and some fails are successes by others. Great blog.


Level 6

A huge amount of all our dollar coins were sold, at a discount, to Ecuador. They love them. No dollar coin here as long as we have a paper dollar. Thanks.


Level 5


It's Mokie

Level 6

I wonder if the mint would ever consider using Gasparro's flowing hair design like they used Laura Gardin Fraser's original Washington Quarter design on the 1999 $5 dollar gold commemorative? That would be awesome and with our 250th birthday coming up in a few short years, opportunity appears to be knocking.


Level 5

The Mint May bring back the Liberty Seated design for the 250th instead of the Gasparro pattern for the 250th. Most numismatists already are familiar with the design.


Level 7

There is one great thing about this hobby. We all buy what we like. The coins your writting about is your opinion. Some people like those sets. Others dont. Many people have ther opinion on what is a good coin and whats not. So buy the book before the coin and what we always say buy what You like. Thanks for your opinion.!!!

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