Mint Marks | U.S. Mint

mintmarks are letters that identify where a coin was made. hold the manufacturer responsible for the quality of a coin. when the usa used precious metals such as gold and silver to make circulating coins, a commission evaluated the metal compositions and quality of the coins from each of the coin facilities. evaluations ensured that each facility produced coins to the correct specifications.

Three Nickles with mint marksPhiladelphia was the only branch in operation in the Mint’s earliest years, so identifying the sources of a coin was not necessary. A March 3, 1835 Congressional Act established mint marks in the United States, along with the first Mint branches. When the Mint branches in Charlotte, Dahlonega, and New Orleans opened in 1838, mint marks made their first appearance on U.S. coins. However, the practice of not identifying Philadelphia’s coins continued even after the first branches were established.

Reading: What is a mint mark on a coin

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this changed in 1942. when nickel was removed from nickels during world war ii, the mintmark “p” first appeared on coins produced in philadelphia. the position of the mark was also moved from the right of the monticello to the top of the dome to indicate the new metal composition. after the war, when use of the regular alloy resumed, the mint mark returned to its former position and the mint no longer used the “p” for Philadelphia.

In 1979, Susan B. the anthony dollar coin was introduced. once again, the mintmark “p” appeared. the following year, the “p” appeared in all denominations except the penny, which is still in use today.

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The following table lists the mint marks for each of the current and historic mint facilities, and the dates they used the mark.

mintmark facts

  • No mintmarks appeared on coins in circulation between 1965 and 1967. The Mint Act of 1965 eliminated mint marks to discourage collecting while the mint worked to meet the country’s minting needs.
  • mintmarks were placed on the reverse of the coins until 1968 when they were moved to the obverse.
  • the san francisco mint circulated coins with the mintmark “s” from 1854 to 1955. After that, they produced circulating “s” coins of:
    • 1968-1974: pennies
    • 1968-1970: nickels
    • 1979-1981: dollars

    mint marks on medals

    Most medals do not have mintmarks. The Philadelphia Mint manufactures congressional gold medals and their bronze duplicates, presidential medals, and most others. but for certain numismatic silver medals, other mint facilities can help. The mint places the mint mark on some of these medals for marketing reasons. the mark can be on the front or back, depending on how it fits into the design.

    mint marks on dies

    mint adds mint marks to the master spindle, the first stage of the die-making process. the philadelphia mint is a main center for each facility that will mint the coin.

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