96 Years Ago Today …

19th Amendment Gives Women the Right to Vote 

On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified by Tennessee, the 36th state to do so.  Since there were 48 states at this time and amendments require approval from three-quarters of the states, the 19th Amendment became law on this date.  Arguably one of the most important and influential amendments, it guarantees all women who are U.S. citizens the right to vote.  

The road to the 19th Amendment was rocky and full of potholes, but the end result was a huge victory for the pioneers of the women’s rights movement.  Thanks to women like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucretia Mott in the 1800’s, the issue achieved momentum and the amendment was first introduced in Congress in 1878.  

It was not until the World War I era in 1917 and 1918, however, that a woman’s right to vote became a major talking point.  Women often filled in at work for men who went off to war, and even President Woodrow Wilson changed his mind and supported a constitutional amendment.  By the time the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, though, Anthony and the other women’s rights leaders had already died.  

Susan B. Anthony Dollar honors the leader of the women’s rights movement.

As we move closer to the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment in just a few years in 2020, it is worth remembering the Susan B. Anthony Dollar that was issued as a tribute to one of the most important women in American history.  As often happens with relevant coins as we approach major anniversaries like this, there could be a shortage of these coins the closer we get to August 18, 2020.

The Susan B. Anthony Dollar was introduced in 1979 to replace the Eisenhower Dollar.  The Eisenhower Dollar did not circulate due its cumbersome large size, so the U.S. Mint struck the smaller Anthony coin instead.  Since this coin was almost identical in size and color to the Washington Quarter, it was not popular with the public and it was struck for circulation only in 1979 and 1980; the 1981 coin was made only for collectors … and a final circulating coin was made 18 years later in 1999. 

Due to the four-year minting period, it is still possible to assemble a complete collection of Susan B. Anthony Dollars from every year and every mint.  Uncirculated coins were made at Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco in 1979, 1980, and 1981, and at Philadelphia and Denver in 1999; proofs were made at San Francisco in 1979, 1980, and 1981 and at Philadelphia in 1999.  

In total, there were just 15 different Susan B. Anthony Dollars, although there are several popular sub-sets such as only the uncirculated San Francisco coins, only the three uncirculated first-year 1979 coins, and individual coins that have been certified in high quality.



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