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1981 SBA may be hard to find, but not rare


I read a story in another publication about the rare 1981 Susan B. Anthony dollars. Just how rare are they?

It’s a bit difficult to associate the term “rare” with a coin that had a mintage of more than 3 million at each of three mints. The proof mintage is more than 4 million. So any way you look at it, the coin is not rare, even if it may be hard to find.

Why can’t I find an exact figure for the mintage of the 1823 large cents? You show it included in the 1824 mintage.

We use the same inclusive figure as is found in most reference works for 1824 in all our publications and catalogs, which includes all 1823-dated mintage. This is the best available figure based on extensive research into mint records. The early records were frequently confused, including two or even three years of production in a lump sum, or including coins struck with dies for any of several years. So it is impossible to go beyond the generally accepted figures.


I suppose this might be considered a trivia question, but I recall years ago seeing some astronomical figure as to how many cents the copper in the Bingham, Utah, mine would make. Any hope of finding it?

I’m in luck on this, and not too trivial a figure at that. In 1938 the Kennecott copper reserves at Bingham were said to be enough to make 2.102 trillion cents, or enough to “last for the next 11,427 years.” Where the latter figure came from is anyone’s guess as we are now consuming billions of cents a year, which would eat up that 2 trillion pretty fast.

Is it possible to get a listing of the rarity scales used by some of the old time researchers? I want to use them to determine the value of my coins.

There is no direct relationship between rarity scales and current market values, so there is no way to use them to determine the exact value of a coin. Some of the older references attempted to establish values based on the scale used, but they have been outmoded by discoveries of hoards of coins that in many cases have altered the rarity factor.

Is there any coin that was struck at all the principal mints?

One coin did them all – the $5 gold half eagle. It was struck at Philadelphia, Carson City, Charlotte, Dahlonega, Denver, New Orleans and San Francisco. West Point has struck both the 1988-W Olympics half eagle and the 1989-W Congress half eagle, the technical point stands, now for a total of eight mints.

Address questions to Coin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 42-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to Answerman2@aol.com.

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