Historically, dollar coins have been quite collectible, but that mostly applies to the “silver dollar,” rather than the “clad dollar” that has been the variety issued since 1971. Older Draped Bust, Trade, Morgan and Peace Dollars, for example, sell briskly in the marketplace, with some rare varieties selling for six figure sums.
Newer issues, such as the Eisenhower dollars and Susan B. Anthony dollars, on the other hand, sell for modest sums and draw relatively little collector interest.
Of course, for the novice collector, the “little collector interest” can be a good thing, as collecting things that few other people collect means that you can often buy them at affordable prices. Plus, you never know when something is going to take off, and the collection that you put together today for a modest price may turn out to be something of value tomorrow.
The Susan B. Anthony dollar is a great example of a way that you can put together a complete collection of coins in uncirculated and poof condition at a modest price.
Introduced in 1979, the Susan B. Anthony dollar was a short-lived coin, and is viewed by most people as a failure. The coin was produced from 1979-1981, with a few more struck in 1999 for technical reasons. The coin was never popular with the public, as the size and color made it easy to confuse them with a 25¢ piece. Retailers didn’t have room for them in their cash register drawers, and vending machines didn’t take them. The public also didn’t care too much for the design itself.
The end result was a coin that largely sat in bank vaults, rather than being used as a circulating coin. Often derided as the “Carter quarter,” the Susan B. Anthony was quickly forgotten and was eventually replaced by the Sacagawea dollar in 2000.
All of that is bad for the government, but good for collectors. An entire collection of Susan B. Anthony dollars consists of only 18 coins – 12 business strikes and 6 proofs. Seventeen of those 18 coins were produced in the millions, and the rarest of the bunch, the 1999-P proof, at 750,000 struck, isn’t particularly rare, with examples often selling for as little as $30 or so.
Yes, some PCGS certified examples of some of the dates can sell for $3000 or so, if you’re the type of collector who must have the best example out there. For the majority of us, for whom a simple uncirculated example is good enough, there are many examples of all 18 of those dates and mint marks out there. That means that it’s relatively easy to put together a complete uncirculated set, and you can do it for only a few hundred dollars.
You can often find complete sets for sale, but building one from scratch might be a bit more work. Not because the coins are rare, but because so few dealers bother to stock them due to lack of demand. That means that you will still get the thrill of the hunt as you track down some of the harder to find dates, such as the 1981-S, which was struck only for collectors.
Coin collectors who aren’t millionaires rarely have an opportunity to put together a complete set of any coin in uncirculated condition. If you want to do that and declare victory at least once, the Susan B. Anthony dollar presents a great opportunity to do so.