Mint Marks: Those Small Letters On U.S. Coins

There’s a lot of talk about “mint” whenever you’re discussing coins and coin collections.

Some examples:

  • First, there’s the U.S. Mint, which is the federal agency responsible for the production and distribution of our Nation’s coinage.
  • Then, there are mint coins (or mint condition coins) which refers to a coin that is in practically the same condition as when it left the mint.
  • And then you have mint sets which are collections of uncirculated coins for a particular year. (It includes one uncirculated coin of each denomination from each mint that produced the denomination during that year.)
  • And finally, you have mint marks (also spelled mintmarks)…

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What Are Mint Marks?

Mintmarks are small initials stamped on coins to designate where the coin was made.

In a lot of cases, where the coin was minted makes the difference between a coin being worth a few dollars and being worth a few hundred dollars.

Almost all coins have mintmarks, with the exception of all coins minted at the Philadelphia mint before 1979.

The only coins minted before 1979 to carry a mark from the Philadelphia mint are Jefferson nickels minted between 1942 and 1945 (war nickels).

 

What Those Mint Marks Mean

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C - Charlotte, North Carolina (gold coins only 1838-1861)
CC – Carson City, Nevada (1870-1893)
D - Dahlonega, Georgia (gold coins only 1838-1861)
D - Denver, Colorado (1906-present)
O - New Orleans, Louisiana (1838-1861/1879-1909)
P - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1793-present)
S - San Francisco, California (1854-present)
W – West Point, New York (1984-present)

The only mintmarks you’re going to find on circulating coins today are P, D, and S. All of the other mints either closed down a long time ago or only make gold and specialty coins.

More about United States mint facilities.

 

Where To Find The Mint Mark

Over the years, mintmarks have been placed in all sorts of locations on coins.

I’m going to cover the most common coins that were ever in circulation, starting with the silver dollar and working back to the half cent.

Silver Trade Dollars – On the reverse underneath the eagle

Silver Peace Dollars – On the reverse, bottom left next to the tip of the eagle’s wing

Silver Morgan Dollars - On the reverse underneath the eagle

Silver Bust Dollars – On the reverse underneath the eagle

Kennedy Half Dollars – See below:

Pre-1965 – On the reverse to the left of the olive branch near the eagle’s claw

1968-present – On the front centered above the date

Franklin Half Dollars – On the reverse centered above the beam of the Liberty bell

Walking Liberty Half Dollars – See below:

1917-1947 – On the reverse, bottom left below the branch

1916 & 1917 – On the front below the motto

Barber Half Dollars – On the reverse just below the eagles tail feathers

Seated Liberty Half Dollars – On the reverse below the eagle

Bust Half Dollars – See below:

1938-1939 – On the front above the date

before 1938 – All bust half dollars before 1938 have no mint mark

Washington Quarters – See below:

1968-present On the front, bottom right next to the hair ribbon

1946-1964 On the reverse below the eagle

Standing Liberty Quarters – Small mintmark on the front just above the date and a hair to the left

Barber Quarters – On the reverse beneath the eagle’s tail feathers

Seated Liberty Quarters – On the reverse beneath the eagle

Bust Quarters – All bust quarters have no mintmark (Philadelphia)

Seated Liberty 20-Cent Pieces – On the reverse beneath the eagle

Roosevelt Dimes – See below:

1968-present – On the front above the date

1946-1964 – On the reverse, bottom left of the torch

Mercury Dimes – On the reverse, bottom left of the fasces (column or pole looking thing)

Barber Dimes – On the reverse centered below the wreath

Seated Liberty Dimes – Some have the mintmark just within the wreath, and some have the mint mark just beneath the wreath

Bust Dimes – All bust dimes have no mintmark (Philadelphia)

Seated Liberty Half Dimes – Some have mintmarks within the wreath, and some have mint marks beneath the wreath

Bust Half Dimes – All bust half dimes have no mint mark (Philadelphia)

Jefferson Nickels – See below:

1968-present – On the front near the date

1938-1964 – On the reverse to the right of the Monticello building

1942-1945 (war nickels) – Above the dome of Monticello

Buffalo Nickels – On the reverse below the words FIVE CENTS

Liberty Head Nickels (“V Nickels”) - All V nickels have no mark (Philadelphia) with the exception of the year 1912 in which case the mintmark is on the reverse to the left of the word CENTS

Shield Nickels - All shield nickels have no mint mark (Philadelphia)

3-Cent Pieces - All 3-cent pieces have no mint mark (Philadelphia) with the exception of the year 1851 in which case the mark is on the reverse to the right of the Roman numeral III

2-Cent Pieces – All 3-cent pieces have no mint mark (Philadelphia)

Lincoln Cents - On the front beneath the date

Indian Head Cents – All Indian head cents have no mintmark with the exception of 1908 and 1909 in which case the mark is on the reverse beneath the wreath

Flying Eagle Cents - All flying eagle cents have no mint mark (Philadelphia)

Large Cents – All large cents have no mint mark (Philadelphia)

Half Cents – All half cents have no mintmark (Philadelphia)

 

And there you have it. Now you should know where to find the mint marks on all of your coins!

Jay

I have been collecting and trading coins for years. Coin collecting is a hobby for me, and I've done a lot of research about coins through the years.

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