No Mint Mark Means A Coin Was Made At The Philadelphia Mint, Right? Not Necessarily. Here’s What You Need To Know


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Those who enter the hobby of coin collecting find out early on that, historically, coins without mint marks are made at the Philadelphia mint.

The Philadelphia mint is the U.S. Mint’s main facility. Today, they even offer tours of the Philadelphia mint.

Over the decades, the U.S. Mint began operating branch facilities throughout the nation. Coins from the various branch locations would bear mint marks — so coins from those locations could be distinguished from each other.

Also, mint marks early on were primarily used as a means of ensuring quality control for each mint’s output.

See where the mint mark appears on each denomination of U.S. coins.

So, why do some coins have mint marks, and some do not?

 

History Of Philadelphia Mint Marks

Until 1942, the Philadelphia mint did not produce any coins with a mint mark.

Then came World War II, and the U.S. began striking 5-cent coins with a silver composition to save nickel for the war effort.

Silver nickels can be easily identified by the large mint marks over the dome of Monticello. Philadelphia-minted silver nickels bear a large “P.”

In 1945, the Philadelphia mint mark was removed from the nickel.

The “P” mint mark would not appear again until 1979 — on the Susan B. Anthony dollar.

Since then, the “P” mintmark has appeared on all U.S. coins except for the penny.

 

Mint Marks Have Not Been Used Consistently

Thus, it would seem that all U.S. coins without a mint mark would be struck at the Philadelphia mint, right? Well, not exactly…

Coins minted in 1965, 1966, and 1967 did not bear any mint marks. This was the U.S. Mint’s effort to reduce the coin collecting activity that was to blame for a coin shortage at the time.

It is common knowledge that the U.S. Mint last placed an “S” mint mark on circulating coins back in 1981. But did you know the San Francisco mint and West Point, New York mint have struck pennies for circulation over the years with no mintmark? It’s true!

Much for the same reason the U.S. Mint removed mint marks from coins struck in the mid-1960s, pennies struck at the San Francisco mint (after 1974) and West Point mint coins do not bear mint marks — to prevent collectors removing these coins from circulation solely because of their origin. West Point and San Francisco struck these pennies during the late 1970s and into the 1980s.

Also, some dimes minted in 1975 were struck at the San Francisco mint. You would not necessarily know this because those dimes did not bear any “S” mint mark.

Here is the U.S. Mint’s official explanation about mint marks on coins.

68 thoughts on “No Mint Mark Means A Coin Was Made At The Philadelphia Mint, Right? Not Necessarily. Here’s What You Need To Know”

    • Technically, you’re right — there’s no way of knowing for sure whether your pennies were minted at Philadelphia or elsewhere. Unfortunately diagnostics for knowing which die came from which mint seem inconclusive.

      Reply
  1. I have a dime that is 1970 with out a mint. We just started collecting coins and I need a good reference. Got any ideas?

    Reply
  2. I have a 1970 quarter with no mint mark and am just wondering where it came from and why it does not have a mint mark. I have tried the “google” technique research but have found no answers. Thank you for any help.

    Reply
    • It is indeed, Mark! 1964 quarters without a mintmark (which means it was minted in Philadelphia) are worth about $3.50 right now given current silver values ($17 an ounce).

      Reply
    • Hello, Sherry —

      The “no S” means it was struck at the Philadelphia mint. The goldish appearance may either be toning or perhaps gold plating. If the coin is gold plated it won’t have any additional value, but perhaps if your coin is in mint condition (unworn) and has a beautiful gold toning color due to natural patina, it will have a small premium.

      If you want to include a pic for a more detailed answer, please feel free to post one here.

      I hope this helps!
      Josh

      Reply
  3. Hi Joshua,

    I was just going through a pile of old pennies and found one from 1969 and one from 1973, both with an “s”.

    I would say they are both in fair condition.

    Any value here?

    Patrick

    Reply
    • Hello, Patcii —

      Interesting finds — I should add that “S” mint Lincoln cents from 1968 through 1974 are becoming very difficult to locate in circulation.

      While most any price guide will tell you that your 1969-S and 1973-S Lincoln cents are worth one cent each, I’ve noticed greater interest in circulated S-mint Lincoln Memorial cents and all pre-1982, copper Lincolns as a whole. I would hold these aside given how challenging they are to find in change today.

      Best,
      Josh

      Reply
  4. Hi I have a 1979 quarter with no mint mark. After research I haven’t found an answer. is my coin worth anything?

    Reply
    • Hello, Irene —

      Before 1980, quarters made at the Philadelphia mint did not receive a mintmark, thus, that what you have — a quarter made at the Philadelphia mint. If worn, your coin is worth face value.

      Thanks for your question,
      Josh

      Reply
  5. Hi my name is Ashton I just started coin collecting . I found 2 wierd strikes of some sort and I think a cross on a one doaller coin with the president James Garfield. The strikes are on the right the cross on left of the president The year is 2011 with a letter D I was wondering if you knew the price. I could not find anything like it.

    Thanks a lot Ashton

    Reply
    • Hi, Ashton —

      Thank you for uploading the photos. While I can’t quite tell at that angle what the designs are supposed to be, I can tell you for sure that they are post-mint counterstamps. That means this coin would be valued more as a novelty piece than for its collectibility as a Presidential dollar. Such pieces tend to be worth $1 to $2 tho those who collect counterstamped/altered novelty Presidential dollar coins.

      Best,
      Josh

      Reply
    • Hi, Will —

      I seem to see signs of a metal disturbance in the area where a mintmark should be, and it appears that it might even be a faint hint of a “D” mintmark. I’m not suggesting this isn’t a legitimate die variety, but I’m wary because it seems like the disturbance indicates the mintmark may have been intentionally removed after the coin left the U.S. Mint, or that it was severely worn down.

      Usually, I suggest that anybody with a coin they suspect has an error to submit it for certification, though I’m a little nervous this coin might come back as altered or heavily worn. Here’s more info on coin grading services: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/slabbed_coins/

      Grading services usually cost between $15 and $30 per coin, so at this point I suggest you save your money unless you’re confident, after looking at this coin through a 5-10X magnifying glass, that the piece really is absent a mintmark.

      I hope this gives you a little more insight!

      Best,
      Josh

      Reply
      • I’ve looked an looked at this coin I think it might be something to get looked at my only concern is never done nothing like this is this 100% that I’ll get my coin back if I sent it to get graded or should I start at coin shops see what they say first?

        Reply
    • Hi, Linda —

      Assuming this to be a Roosevelt dime that you found in pocket change, it’s in 99.9 percent likelihood a Philadelphia Mint (no mintmark) dime worth face value if worn.

      Good luck, and keep on checking your change!
      -Josh

      Reply
  6. Hi Josh – I know I’ve been bugging you relentlessly and I appreciate your help and expertise so very much. I’m kind of doubtful right now of what I have found because it would simply be too good to be true. I have a 1975 Roosevelt dime without the S mint mark. Am I missing something, or is this a big deal? Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Hi, April —

      While you indeed found a 1975 Roosevelt dime without the “S” mintmark, what you have is a lightly circulated business-strike 1975 Philadelphia (no mintmark) piece, and unfortunately not the 1975 no-S proof Roosevelt dime. The proof Roosevelt dimes were released in special collectors’ sets and have more refined details than business-strike dimes do.

      Keep on checking your change, and good luck!
      Josh

      Reply
  7. Hi I have a 1992 penny in fairly good condition that does not have a mintmark and Im pretty sure it is a close “AM” so i was wondering what it was worth. I saw that if it had the mintmark D that it would be worth 500 but without the mark im not sure.

    Reply
    • Hi, Reid —

      Would you please send a photo of your 1992 cent, with, if possible, a zoomed-in image of the reverse near the “AM” in “AMERICA”?

      Thank you,
      Josh

      Reply
    • Hi, Myob —

      Your 1968 Roosevelt dime was made in Philadelphia, thus no mintmark. Because it is worn, your dime is worth face value.

      Best,
      Josh

      Reply
    • Hi,

      I’ll need to please see a photo of the coin to confirm, but if you found the 1975 no-mintmark dime in circulation, it’s likely a 1975 Philadelphia piece (which was made before the “P” mintmark appeared on dimes) and is worth face value if worn.

      Best,
      Josh

      Reply
  8. I found this 2001 Lincoln penny. It looks kinda silver inside. No mint markings. Any idea if this might be worth anything. See pics.

    Reply
  9. I have a 1974 Roosevelt dime without a mint mark and from what I can tell a larger head? I’m talking a millimeter maybe even a half millimeter but obvious enough that I was able to spot it right away. Is this worth anything or worth sending it in for certification/authenticated?

    Reply
    • Hello, Keira —

      A 1974 Roosevelt dime without a mintmark was struck at the Philadelphia Mint. I am trying to figure out why Roosevelt’s head appears larger. Would you please post a photo of this coin here in the comments forum?

      Thank you,
      Josh

      Reply
    • Hello, Allodial —

      Your 1973 Jefferson nickel without a mintmark was made at the Philadelphia Mint, which wasn’t placing mintmarks on its coins in 1973. Unless your coin is in mint condition or has errors or die varieties, it’s worth face value.

      Thank you for your question!
      Josh

      Reply
  10. Hi Joshua, I happened to be looking for info on mint marks and stumbled across your blog. I have enjoyed the discussion. I have a question as well. It is: How do I go about purchasing bulk, wrapped coins from the bank? I would like to start looking for silver in 50 cent pieces. I think it is called coin roll hunting. Is there a certain procedure that has to be taken, or can I just go to the bank and say hi, I would like to have $500 worth of 50 cent pieces? Any help given is much appreciated Thanks,

    Rich

    Reply
    • Hi, Rich —

      I appreciate your kind comments! As a roll searcher, I can tell you it is really tough to find half dollars these days! I’ve usually had to call my bank ahead of time and put in an order request for a box of half dollars ($500, 1,000 coins). These can take anywhere from 3 to 7 days to get in but they are obtainable at face value.

      I wish you a lot of luck, Rich! It’s a ton of fun to go through half dollar rolls. I’ve found proofs, 40% silver, 90% silver, non-circulating business strikes, and many other interesting things. Please let us know what you find in your half dollar box…

      And you might want to check this post out, too: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/silver-half-dollars/

      Take care!
      Josh

      Reply
  11. Hello have question about 2011-2012-2013-2014-2016-2017 Liberty silver dollars that are cased in San Francisco case with no mint marks on the coin. Is this normal not to have the S on these coins???

    Reply
    • Hi, John —

      Are you referring to the recent discovery that some American Silver Eagles are being struck at the San Francisco (and Philadelphia) Mints and that collectors have identified these specific coins by certain barcode serial numbers and straps on so-called monster boxes? San Francisco and Philadelphia contributed as many as 7 million ASEs since around 2011 to help meet Silver Eagle demand. As for whether its normal or not, it’s certainly not the first time branch mints have supplemented production without placing mintmarks on those coins. Not counting the mid 1960s, when mintmarks were temporarily abolished from US coins to tamp down collecting during a terrible coin shortage, this is most exemplified in the case of the Lincoln cent. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, both San Francisco and West Point produced pennies without mintmarks and these coins entered general circulation.

      These bullion-quality San Francisco and Philadelphia ASEs are indistinguishable from the typical West Point Silver Eagles, though some collectors are paying more because of their perceived scarcity. Whether or not they maintain value is yet to be seen.

      Best wishes,
      Josh

      Reply
    • Hi, Egan —

      I’m afraid there may have been a slight typo here — “Shine” refers to a cent? A dime? Something else?

      Thank you for any clarification you can kindly provide…

      Best,
      Josh

      Reply
  12. I have a 1987 nickel that appears to be thicker than all of my other nickels. Also I have a 1966 quarter with no ridges on the side.

    Reply

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