1979 Wide Rim Susan B. Anthony Dollar
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A slight design change late in 1979, the first year of production for the Susan B. Anthony Dollar, resulted in two different varieties for the Philadelphia-minted version. The Near Date / Wide Rim variety is the rarer of the two. The change was a slight widening of the rim to provide a more aesthetic appearance. The two different types are relatively easy to distinguish, even without magnification, if one knows where to look. Study the pictures and descriptions below and you will be sure to get an "A" the next time you have to tell the two apart.
Near Date (aka Wide Rim)
The rim is technically wider on this variety. However, that is
quite difficult to see without magnification. An easier way to
identify this variety is to look at the proximity of the date to the
rim. Focus particularly on the tails of the 9s. The blank
area between the tails of the 9s and the rim is about the width of the
tail itself. The date is nearer to the rim, hence the name "Near
1979 Near Date/Wide Rim SBA
Far Date (aka Narrow Rim)
Again, while the rim is narrower on Far Date variety than on the
Near Date variety, the easiest way to attribute the variety without
magnification is to look at the distance between the tails of the 9s
and the rim. Notice the greater distance in the photo below than
in the photo above (hence the name "Far Date").
1979 Far Date/Narrow Rim SBA
Okay, now you can tell the difference between the 1979-P Near and Far Date varieties. For extra credit, take a look at your 1979-DS, 1980-PDS, 1981-PDS and 1999-PD circulation strike Susan B. Anthony Dollars and apply your new skills to attribute these as either Near Date or Far Date. Heck, while you're at it, look at your 1979-S, 1980-S, 1981-S and 1999-P proofs and attribute them as well. When you've got it figured out, see the table below below to check your answers.
Date Far Date/ Near Date/ Redesigned
Narrow Rim Wide Rim Master Dies
1979-S T1 Proof X
1979-S T2 Proof X
1980-S Proof X
1981-S T1 Proof X
1981-S T2 Proof X
1999-P Proof X
Okay, okay, so the 1999 was a trick question. Apparently, after an eighteen year intermission, the master dies used for 1979-1981 were no longer available when production resumed for a few months in 1999. Thus, new master dies were produced for the 1999 coinage. The 1999 are actually quite different from their older siblings. However, the 1999 coins more closely resemble the Far Date/Narrow Rim variety. So, if Far Date/Narrow Rim was your answer, give yourself credit!