Have A Coin With No Mintmark Or Missing Letters? Here’s How To Tell If It’s An Error Coin Or Not… And What It’s Worth



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Based on the questions I see in the comments, a lot of people have coins with no mintmark… or missing letters and numerals.

Rightfully, these collectors wonder if their coins are errors — and if they are, what they’re worth.

Determining whether a coin with no mintmark or other missing details is an error coin or not depends on evaluating the individual coin.

For example, some coins with no mintmark are indeed errors — while most others were never supposed to have a mintmark in the first place.

Likewise, there are many coins that have missing letters. In some cases, these are error coins — but sometimes it’s just a situation where the lettering was rubbed off by someone outside the mint, or it’s just a normal coin with heavy wear.

Hopefully, with the information in this article you’ll be able to more confidently determine if your coin with no mintmark or missing letters is:

  • A normal coin
  • An error coin
  • A damaged coin
  • Or something else entirely

 

Start here if your coin doesn’t have a mintmark…

There are some very rare no mintmark error coins that are also extremely valuable.

These are some of the most famous no-mintmark coins, along with their approximate value:

Some think that any coins without mintmarks are error coins. However, most coins with no mintmark are actually from the Philadelphia Mint. The Philly Mint historically did not place mintmarks on its coins.

Also, from 1965 through 1967, no coins were given mintmarks at any U.S. Mint facility. This was done by the United States Mint to discourage collecting when there was a severe national coin shortage.

In the 1970s and ’80s,the West Point Mint struck pennies and quarters to help supplement production from the Philadelphia Mint. However, none of those coins made at the West Point Mint contain the “W” mintmark. Therefore, they are indistinguishable from coins made at the Philadelphia Mint.

 

A List Of Coins That Actually Don’t Have Mintmarks

The following is a list of coins that are not supposed to contain mintmarks:

  • Coins struck at the Philadelphia Mint before 1941
  • All Philly-minted coins dated 1942 through 1945 EXCEPT war nickels
  • Any Philadelphia-minted coins made from 1946 through 1964
  • All U.S. coins made from 1965 through 1967
  • Philadelphia-minted coins made from 1968 through 1978
  • Any Philadelphia-minted coins EXCEPT dollar coins made in 1979
  • All Philadelphia-minted pennies struck before 2017
  • Philadelphia-minted pennies struck 2019 or later
  • West Point-minted pennies and quarters struck in the 1970s and 1980s (these look like the no-mintmark Philly coins)

Wait a minute… what about those no-S proof coins?

You are not going to find those in circulation! They only turn up in proof sets.

So, if you come across, say, a 1968 or 1975 Roosevelt dime without an “S” mintmark or 1990 pennies without a mintmark… unfortunately, what you’ve really found are just common Philadelphia-minted coins. These are worth face value, if worn. These are not no-S mint error coins.

 

Start here if your coin is missing some letters…

A lot of coins are missing a few letters, a numeral or two in the date, or even entire inscriptions!

Some of these are legit error coins, while others are simply showing signs of post-mint damage.

But how can you tell a mint-made error versus a coin that has been altered or damaged after it left the mint? Here’s how:

  • If you see scratches, marks, or other forms of damage going into the coin’s surface around missing lettering, it’s likely that the missing design element was intentionally removed by somebody after the coin left the mint. Surface damage surrounding missing letters does not necessarily mean the coin was altered — but it’s most likely to be the case that the coin was manipulated with tools that damaged the surface, in the process of removing the lettering.
  • Normally, a mint error involving a missing letter will show uninterrupted flow lines on and around the surface where the lettering is supposed to be. And, in many cases, an error involving a missing letter might still show traces of the lettering on the surface (visible only under magnification).

 

A List Of Error Coins With Missing Letters

There are a few types of errors in which lettering might be partially or fully obscured from the strike.

These are some of the situations in which coins that are missing some lettering are actually error coins:

 

Strikethrough Errors

A strike-through error coin is made when foreign matter (such as grease or a piece of fabric) gets in the lettering or date numerals of the die, which strikes the design onto the blank coin. Yep, that foreign matter actually creates an impression on the struck coin.

Many strike-through errors are visually stunning coins, and they are prized both for their scarcity as well as their novelty.

Grease strikethroughs are among the most common of all. A grease strikethrough may present as heavy weakness in one area of lettering on a coin. Or it may altogether obliterate a letter or letters in an inscription. Modern pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters with small grease strikethrough errors may bring an extra $1 to $2.

More acute types of strikethroughs, such as those involving thread, a piece of metal, or something similar, can bring much more money. Some dramatic strikethrough coins are worth $100 or more! 

 

Die-Adjustment Strike Errors

A die-adjustment strike signifies a coin that was struck by a die that was not properly adjusted to create a full strike.

These coins normally exhibit significantly weak designs — which means even uncirculated examples will show very flat designs, with little to no interior detail and weak lettering.

They are used to test the pressure and alignment of a die strike. These test pieces are generally not intended to circulate, but sometimes they escape the mint.

Die-adjustment strike error coins are quite scarce and desirable and are worth $50 or more.

 

Weak Strikes

A weak strike is a common error in which not enough force was used to strike the coin fully, resulting in poor details and partially or fully obscured lettering.

Weak strikes differ from die-adjustment strikes in that the former are struck by aging, worn dies. These are not numismatically desirable coins and are worth less than fully struck coins.

Very few weakly struck coins are worth more than their fully struck counterparts. The 1922 Weak D penny with no mintmark is perhaps the most notable example of a weakly struck coin selling for more than its well-struck counterpart. That’s because the 1922 Weak D roughly resembles the rare 1922 plain no-D penny. 1922 Weak D pennies are worth between $25 and $50 in well-worn condition.

Again, most weak strikes are not worth as much as similar fully struck examples — and thus, generally are not valuable coins.

 

Missing Edge Lettering

Perhaps the most popular and valuable types of coins that are missing lettering or inscriptions are those that weren’t struck with their edge lettering.

The so-called “Godless” dollars of the Presidential dollar series that ran from 2007 through 2016 are among the most famous United States coins missing their lettering. These came about because the inscriptions IN GOD WE TRUST, E PLURIBUS UNUM, the date, and mintmark were missing from the edge of a certain few of these error coins. The lettering is missing from some of these coins because the edge inscriptions are struck separately.

Godless dollars were originally worth between $300 and $600 when they were first discovered. As more examples were found, their values dropped to between $25 and $50 each.

Joshua

I'm the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I'm a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I'm also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I've contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I've authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!

40 thoughts on “Have A Coin With No Mintmark Or Missing Letters? Here’s How To Tell If It’s An Error Coin Or Not… And What It’s Worth

  1. i have a 1992 penny with noticible error. The L in Liberty is missing, the word trust fades in and out.Upon further inspection, I noticed the L thats missing in Liberty is actually stamped on the outer edge(clearly).Also I thought the coin didnt have a mint mark but it appears to be either a D or S also stamped on the outer edge as well. This is unusal but is it worth anything https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e21d84e3a7583e938c528d390cc8545833ee03ce7fa3c0ddd87662ba94a26e28.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e8773449cc861842f43f48f2447ac930c0098bcd5bc1403eecf381807cd809ea.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7d237720052ddfb579d011d2851b69ea5fb4a72b8d497d85898d30b22107244c.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8bf18de55647b42f86d265b3454ac9fb67e96aea150e2819e789b8787dd1919e.jpg

    1. Hi, Errol,

      It looks like a grease-filled die error. These types of
      pieces are worth a few bucks to the right collectors.

      Cool find!
      Josh

  2. Hi,
    I have a 2003 P uncirculated coin set, unopened in which the Sacajawea dollar has what appears to be fingerprint marks on both sides and on the edge. It is missing most of the “W” also. Is this considered a mint error since it is still in the original packaging?

    1. Hello, Kwaakwamta —

      The fingerprints sound indicative of definite package mishandling. Some folks will pay a little for that, but most collectors see that as a defect that would actually subtract value. The W situation is a different story and I’d need to please see a photo to be of much help with that.

      Thank you!
      Josh

      1. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ebb06821c0d37693d82d2c2c86e78457b6e3df2e0de977cced653b5a8d497908.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e86dd509ffb144b8f2e2c7fba0b57199690ab4ae43808d25e87b14aa1e7c1b15.jpg

        Thank you for responding! (I’m not really sure about the marks being fingerprints though likely. The lines are so straight. The coin is enclosed still in the original packaging)

        1. Hey there,

          Wow, those are some fingerprints! The W is quite weak, too. It may be a grease-filled error or something of that nature. It might score a couple to a few bucks from a collector who pursues such striking errors.

          Hope this info is helpful,
          Josh

  3. I have a Denver 1969 mint set that contains a Quarter without mint mark. An expert advised me that this was a packaging error as the mint sets of that year were packaged off location by a third party. No other specifics could be given by this expert. I researched thoroughly the issue and found no accounting or other indication that in fact the coin was packaged anywhere else than as indicated by the Denver Mint set token. I can understand that some mint sets that are Philadelphia also contain San Francisco penny’s.Are you aware of any third party packaging of the 1969 mint sets. The mint directed me to a government ultimate custodian of records and that is where I did my final research. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6hULDioFuM&t=37s

    1. Hi, Douglas —

      I am not aware of any third-party services that packaged uncirculated sets for the Mint then, though of course there are private parties that assembled their own sets. When I click on the photo of your set to examine it the photo will not stay enlarged; would you mind uploading it again as a jpg under 2 mb so I can try and help further?

      Thank you!
      Josh

  4. Hi!
    How rare is this? It appears as a faded 1, Don’t know quite what to make of it, just found it! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3fb7ffdd1f61ac06bc48c544a139cd23ac025515f17fe3f6f2331634aaceff18.jpg

    1. Hi, Carol —

      The second “1” in the date is light, nearly missing, because of an error called a strike-through. This happens when part of the die becomes obscured upon strike due to the presence of foreign matter — likely grease in this case. Strike-through errors of this type and magnitude can bring small premiums of perhaps $5 to $10, depending upon the buyer.

      Nice find!
      Josh

  5. I just come across the d 1999 georgia state quarter that has what looks to be doubling around the end and right side of the tip of the ribbon i also took images of the p mint which does not have this id love some feed back please anyone https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e6f00d717c00337a8ce707f6f631f566db6cb0079023c5bf06c8224f7bcf77a5.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9fb0db10a88da43a03bf1c8baa7a80439f7d1f4e9b59e08e2da752926f7fde74.png

    1. Hi, On Edge —

      I definitely see the doubling in the second image. I’m not a new variety attribution expert and would therefore suggest that if this is a discovery find you should seek a second opinion from the variety experts at CONECA (www.varietyvista.com).

      Fingers crossed!
      Josh

  6. Hello. My brand new 2021 D Penny is missing the inscription, “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” on the reverse. It just wasn’t etched onto this penny. I just got it today. Since it is the country name and not one of the other familiar edge inscriptions, would it be considered a valuable error coin or, at least, a coin worthy of attention? Thank you.

    1. Hi, Renzie —

      It certainly sounds like a drastic error, but I really need to please see some clear images of the coin to assist you on this and see what’s going on. You can post a couple clear images here…

      Thank you,
      Josh

      1. Thank you. I will try. I am using my cell and it isn’t a great image-snapping phone. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/97c2f27053675b7168b50e1a693ae8ca87ec002d1bbe9eea238f52e42cde1ff7.jpg

        1. Hi, Renzie —

          I can definitely see the weakness in “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” It looks like a possible strike-through error, in which grease or other foreign material got into the design details and crevices of the die there.

          You might consider sending these photos to the error experts at CONECA (www.varietyvista.com) to see if this is an error as I suggest an attributable variety. Either way, there are folks who sometimes pay a pretty penny for such pieces, sometimes $25 to $50 or more.

          Best wishes,
          Josh

      2. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6add11fbc820dd9efd7eaa7a4f3b733d4f70d9a2f1c3048972f095fa9e927ff3.jpg

  7. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3c6846b44fc8057aed8100cb96755f36eb47e9c4df97a6d8d0ae5fc4bf80de16.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/25738be867ec25c0e231add2c04eb7568885695bcf64ad2b1248b3d9adafdd17.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/41631c498ec667bd8223841b3c445cfb74961263bd5d146487455c836508bc20.jpg
    Im courious as to how valuable this coin may be. I also have a dollar coin and penny in gold or gold plated not sure which one they are

    1. Hi, Victor —

      Gold-plated coins like this were altered outside the mint. These modern pieces are considered novelty coins and are collected by many. However, they aren’t rare and really don’t contain much gold. They are worth the face value of the coin plus the value of the gold plating, which at this small amount comes to an additional few cents.

      Best,
      Josh

  8. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/37bfdda70218dcdf39e36fc38e9b4ec33b72294a30238a46deed5c450a28c3fe.jpg

    Is it true this coin is worth $1499??

    1. Hi, Kortney —

      I don’t know where you saw that this coin goes for $1,499, but there is nothing I see here that makes this coin worth anymore than face value. All circulated copper-nickel clad 50 State Quarters without errors or varieties are worth their face value.

      Best wishes,
      Josh

  9. This may be one of a kind …. may not be …. just wondering the value or a ballpark figure…. it’s pretty much blank on both sides but I was able to locate the date on it …. ty for your help in advance
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0c4b7a25ca014beaac945236e5f26fb88093b7b9c88dead01d741d25cf09e022.jpg

    1. Hi, Mike —

      Given that you found the date and that I see some type of lettering on the coin here, it was definitely struck. It has a ton of striations and other surface damage, leading me to believe based on this one image (and without seeing the rest of the coin) that it was most likely altered in some form or fashion after the coin left the mint. A second opinion by in-hand evaluation of the entire coin from a coin dealer or other numismatic professional might be best to help you here.

      Thanks for reaching out,
      Josh

    1. Hi, Mandy —

      Yes, and here’s the answer to how much your 1974 penny is worth: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/1974-penny-value/

      Good luck,
      Josh

  10. I found this one in my change and kept it because I thought it was interesting. It looks like 1985 but very hard to read. I’m thinking it is an error or worn die.

    1. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0d211a34498b0e9bb8badcab36ef4eed9aa7c1369cb3d33d635078b2263e73f7.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/13f30a7967b4532b6107e0c31f2575ef5f71aa009c49ef802e85aaf23e098c7f.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1d1761e8d6937c39ff0c8d043d714b7eee702cc8e79022c359e61329e7bf5187.jpg

    2. Hi, Kimberly —

      I’m not sure about this one… The squiggly grooves on the obverse look to be post-mint damage. Something tells me this is an intentional wearing/sanding down of the obverse outside the mint. However, I suggest getting a second opinion from the error/variety experts at CONECA (www.varietyvista.com).

      Good luck!
      Josh

  11. I Came across these 1965 no mint mark dimes and the first thing i nothiced was the faded/missing “IN” and “WE” from “IN GOD WE TRUST” as well as the 5 in the year 1965. Would you consider these common weak strikes as opposed to those of value? New to coin collecting and theres sooooo much contradicting information out there. Thanks! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cd3587dfcded85b02c77ff191decef53c9727fe5b4ce56bc8a5332c8176a2061.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9b4a841929142bb974d20e3087a7d1e4aee8893d6abe26ada2b3867982d68f44.jpg

    1. Hi, Nicola —

      The mushiness with IN GOD WE TRUST, etc. could be die weakness, but it’s very common on coins like this and likely was further exacerbated by circulation wear. I see other signs of post-mint damage, including a large rim bump above Roosevelt’s head on the top coin and deep scratches across Roosevelt’s face on the lower. On the whole, these pieces are worth face value.

      Thank you for reaching out,
      Josh

  12. Hi Josh, we were just going through pennies and found this 1940 with missing letters. The photos make it seem like it’s prominently indented but it’s not at all. Any insight? We’re fairly new to this. I’m a collector and dealer of many different vintage items and antiques, but coins have always confused me. I saw 1940s were rare and desirable, but found no similar flaw when I searched. Thanks!
    Jen https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/efabb4da35efbeb678b4c87e6a888180ad60f00040d78914dcebcbb6d7679760.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/aebc61f06a03db07c38ba5816b40c4d4d2d1f1c19758ed535180b1f99e974c7a.jpg

    1. Hi, Jen —

      There seems to be some kind of surface disturbance in the area where the letters “ME” would ordinarily be in “AMERICA.” This leads me to believe this is a post-mint alteration, though one that occurred earlier in this coin’s life given the fact that any exposed metal isn’t fresh — it’s patinaed. I don’t suspect this to be a case of a strike-through error, in which that part of the die would have been obscured by grease or another agent that filled in the letters “ME” on the die. If it were such an error, this piece would likely be worth something in the area of $10 to $20. If you would like a second opinion, I suggest submitting these photos to the error-variety experts at CONECA (www.varietyvista.com).

      Thank you for reaching out!
      Josh

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