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October 7, 1978

 

Not all great ideas pan out. This story, from the October 7, 1978 issue of Numismatic News, covers the passing of the bill approving the striking of the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin. Despite the initial excitement, the new dollar coin would go on to be one of the most unpopular in the history of American coinage.

Mini-Dollar is Approved!

Legislation authorizing the Bureau of the Mint to strike a new, small-sized $1 coin was given final congressional approval Sept. 26 by the House of Representatives. Observers said the final passage came on an “overwhelming 368-38 vote.”

From Congress, the measure now goes to the White House, where President Carter is expected to sign it into law within a matter of days. Shortly thereafter, the Mint Bureau will begin the task of preparing new dies and obtaining coinage strip for the new coins that will feature the likeness of early women’s rights leader Susan B. Anthony.

During hearings on the so-called mini-dollar, Mint Director Stella B. Hackel said it would take about three months for her agency to gear up for actual production, which means that striking of the new Anthony dollars could begin early in 1979. Current plans call for the coins to be stockpiled until an inventory of about 500 million pieces are in reserve.

In addition to being the first circulating U.S. coin to honor an American woman, the mini-dollar will be the first circulating U.S. coin to retain a reverse design from a previously struck coin. It also will be the first significant reduction in size of any U.S. coin since 1857, when the 27.5-millimeter large cents were replaced by the smaller Flying Eagle type.