Susan B. Anthony never made it into a voting booth but she may start getting even soon for a lifetime of being short-changed.
Yesterday, in a White House ceremony, Secretary of the Treasury Michael Blumenthal and First Lady Rosalynn Carter introduced the new $1 coin with Anthony's profile on one side. And there were some in the crowd of 300 invited guests who could not help feeling that money indeed talks.
"The very first one (coin) I receive is going right into the Equal Rights Amendment battle," vowed Anthony's grand-niece and namesake of Deerfield, Fla., at an iced tea and cookie reception on the South Lawn later.
Rosalynn Carter didn't quite put it that way in addressing the crowd, but the sentiment was similar enough.
"Jimmy said last fall it (the coin) will be a constant remainder of the continuing struggle of all Americans for equality. The Equal Rights Amendment is a very important part of that struggle. We simply must ratify that amendment to assure women and men equal rights."
Blumenthal, who originally had favored Miss Liberty on the new coin, hailed the occasion as "a culmination of efforts of so many people" who believed a real woman belonged there after years of mythical women, Indians and buffalos.
"For the first time an American coin depicts a real American female hero, Susan B. Anthony . . . who said, 'nothing is impossible.'"
Rep. Mary Rose Oakar (D-Ohio), who introduced in the House the bill creating the Anthony dollar, made no attempt to disguise her pleasure at seeing Blumenthal publicly eat crow.
"I loved Mr. Blumenthal being here because he pushed Miss Liberty on us," she said, adding that Anthony never said, "Nothing is impossible," but "Failure is impossible."
(In April 1978 Blumenthal wrote Sen. William Proxmire (D-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee, that to use any other face on the coin than the symbolic Miss Liberty "would surely invite unnecessary controversy.")
Oakar said that when Miss Liberty was shown to the House subcommittee on Historic Preservation and Coinage, she had to do some quick thinking.
"I said, 'My goodness, it resembles Patty Hearst.' I didn't think she should be in prison, but I didn't think she should be immortalized either."
What ensued was a groundswell of Anthony proponents from major women's organizations around the country. Many wree represented at yesterday's ceremony.
Mrs. George Baylies, president general of the Daughters of the American Revolution, said the DAR was among the sponsors because Anthony, who died in 1968 had been a life member - not because DAR supports ERA. ("We feel it would take away from states' rights.")
Charlotte Anthony, of Greens Farms, Conn., a professional singer who said she wanted to sing yesterday but had been turned down ("the White House said they weren't planning to have any music"), thought the likeness of her great-aunt accurate enough.
"Most of her photographs made her look rather stern, but she wasn't. I never knew her but I've read a lot about her. She was quite loving."
On stage with the Anthony grand-nieces, Mrs. Carter, Blumenthal and Oaker were Joan Mondale and presidential assistant Sarah Weddington.
After studying the coin, author Peggy Stanton, whose husband is minority leader of the House Banking Committee, decided it looked a lot like a quarter.
"I don't know if it reflects the status of women," she said, "or the dollar." CAPTION: Picture, Rosalynn Carter, the coin and Susan B. Anthony, by Harry Naltchayan