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When was the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin minted?

Today is Susan B. Anthony's 200th birthday. Susan Brownwell Anthony is arguably one of the most important female figures in American history and definitely one of the most well-known advocate of women's suffrage. I was young when I first heard of Susan B. Anthony... it had nothing to do with the impact she made on America, but the fact she was the face on a dollar coin being tossed into my cousins' Grandma's pool by her aunt... all in the spirit of teaching us to learn to hold our breath, open our eyes, and dive to the bottom to recover these spectacular treasures. So what a perfect day to find out when her coin was minted!

Susan B. Anthony was born February 15, 1820 in Massachusetts to a Quaker family. From an early age, Anthony was inspired by the Quaker belief that everyone was equal under God. That idea guided her throughout her life. She had seven brothers and sisters, many of whom became activists for justice and emancipation of slaves.

Susan B. Anthony was a teacher for many years before returning to her family who had moved to New York. It was there she met William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass, who were friends of her father. She became an abolition activist, even though most people thought it was improper for women to give speeches in public. Anthony made many passionate speeches against slavery. In 1848, a group of women held a convention at Seneca Falls, New York. It was the first Women’s Rights Convention in the United States and began the Suffrage movement. Her mother and sister attended the convention but Anthony did not.

In 1851, Anthony met Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The two women became good friends and worked together for over 50 years fighting for women’s rights. They traveled the country and Anthony gave speeches demanding that women be given the right to vote. At times, she risked being arrested for sharing her ideas in public. Anthony was good at strategizing. Her discipline, energy, and ability to organize made her a strong and successful leader. Anthony and Stanton co-founded the American Equal Rights Association. In 1868 they became editors of the Association’s newspaper, The Revolution, which helped to spread the ideas of equality and rights for women. Anthony began to lecture to raise money for publishing the newspaper and to support the suffrage movement.

She became famous throughout the county. Many people admired her, and others hated her and her ideas. When Congress passed the 14th and 15th amendments which give voting rights to African American men, Anthony and Stanton were angry and opposed the legislation because it did not include the right to vote for women. Their belief led them to split from other suffragists. They thought the amendments should also have given women the right to vote. They formed the National Woman Suffrage Association, to push for a constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote. In 1872, Anthony was arrested for voting, she is the first known woman to have voted in America. She was tried and fined $100 for her crime. Though the government thought this would put out the flame, they instead fanned it, making many people angry and brought national attention to the suffrage movement. In 1876, Susan B. Anthony led a protest at the Centennial of our nation’s independence. She gave a speech—“Declaration of Rights”—written by Stanton and another suffragist, Matilda Joslyn Gage. “Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.” Anthony spent her life working for women’s rights. In 1888, she helped to merge the two largest suffrage associations into one, the National American Women’s Suffrage Association. She led the group until 1900. 

Anthony traveled around the country giving speeches, gathering thousands of signatures on petitions, and lobbying Congress every year for women. Anthony died in 1906, 14 years before women were given the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

Susan B. Anthony was the first woman to be honored by having her likeness appear on a circulating United States coin. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin Act into law (Public Law 95-447). This law amended the Coinage Act of 1965, changing the size, weight, and design of the one-dollar coin. On July 2, 1979, the U. S. Mint officially released the Susan B. Anthony coin in Rochester, NY, the home of Susan B. Anthony during the most politically active years of her life. In 1979, 757,813,744 coins were produced. Additional coins were dated 1980, 1981 (numanistic items only), and 1999. Ultimately, the United States Mint produced 888,842,452 Susan B. Anthony coins for circulation.

In 1997, Congress passed the United States $1 Coin Act (Public Law 104-124, Sec. 4), replacing the Susan B. Anthony dollar with the golden dollar coin. The golden color of this new coin, combined with a smoother edge and wider border, helps to more easily differentiate it from a quarter. The act also authorized the Secretary of Treasury to continue to mint Susan B. Anthony coins until such time as the production of new golden coins was ready. In 1999, the final 41,368,000 Susan B. Anthony coins were minted. The coins continue in circulation today.

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