San Francisco Mintmark Styles on Susan B Anthony Dollars

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Posted by: John Roberts, on 8/17/2007, in category "Grading and Authentication"
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Abstract: A quick look at these varieties as an answer to this frequently asked question.

San Francisco Mintmark Styles on
Susan B Anthony Dollars
 
 
 
 Obverse design of the Susan B Anthony dollar
At any major coin show that I attend, at least once and sometimes more often, I am asked about the mintmarks types on Susan B. Anthony proof dollars. This article should assist in correctly attributing these pieces. The design was introduced in 1979. Coins struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1979 display two distinct mintmark styles. The first style or Type I was used for all business strikes and the majority of the proof coinage.
 
 
1979-S Type I
The mintmark is from a heavily worn punch, in service for other denominations since 1974. It has a ‘blob-like’ look and on some specimens it is difficult to determine at first glance that this represents an “S”.
 
 
1979-S Type II and 1981-S Type I
Near the end of the production run for proof coinage in 1979, a new mintmark punch was placed into service. Coins struck from dies with this style of mintmark have come to be known as Type II for the 1979-S proof dollars. The variety may be instantly identified by the sharpness of the letter as compared to the mintmark it replaced. This mintmark style was used for the remainder of 1979, all of 1980, and most of 1981 including the majority of the proof coinage. This style is also referred to as the 1981-S Type I proof. The top of the “S” has a clearly rounded appearance, similar to a semi-circle. The end of the lower serif (or the bottom ‘knob’) looks like a straight line, oriented diagonally down to the left.
 
 
1981-S Type II
Another new mintmark was used on a small portion of the proof mintage of 1981. This “S” is the defining characteristic of the 1981-S Type II proof dollar. The top of the “S” is flatter than its predecessor. It appears more like the elongated side of an oval rather than circular. The lower serif is rounded and clublike.
Many collectors consider the mintmark types an essential part of a complete set of this short lived series. The Type II mintmark varieties of 1979 and 1981 are considered key coins in a collection of Susan B Anthony dollars. Both are worth substantial premiums over their Type I counterparts.

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