Mint mark

A mint mark is a letter, symbol or an inscription on a coin indicating the mint where the coin was produced.


Mint marks were first developed to locate a problem. If a coin was underweight, or overweight, the mint mark would immediately tell where the coin was minted, and the problem could be located and fixed. Another problem which could occur would be a dishonest mint official debasing the coin, or putting less precious metal in the coin than specified. The first mint marks, called "Magistrate Marks" were developed by the Greeks, and named the Magistrate in charge of producing that coin. Debasing a coin, or otherwise tampering with it, was a very serious crime, often punishable by death in many civilizations. For example, in 1649, the directors of the Spanish colonial American Mint at Potosi, in what is today Bolivia, were condemned to death for seriously debasing the coinage. The initials of the assayer as well as the mint mark were immediate identifiers when the coins were inspected.

In some cases the symbols found in the field of ancient Greek coins indicated mints, not magistrates. Mints in territories conquered by Alexander the Great struck coins with the types he used in Macedon but marked with a local symbol.[1] For example, Rhodes struck coins with Alexander’s types marked with a rose, a local symbol previously used on its own coins.[2]

A reform of Diocletian made mint marks a regular feature of ancient Roman coinage. These mint marks were placed at the bottom of the reverse of the coin and contained three parts. The first part indicates that this was a coin with either SM for Sacra Moneta, M for Moneta, or P for Pecurnia. The second part was an abbreviation of the name of the mint such as ROM for Rome or LON for London. The final part indicated the workshop within the mint.[3] The reform of Anastasius, which is the traditional dividing point between the coinage of the Roman and the Later Roman (a.k.a. Byzantine) empires, replaced the mint marks on gold coins by the inscription CONOB, meaning the pure standard of Constantinople, which was used by a variety of mints. Mint marks continued on copper coinage until the second half of the seventh century, however.[4]

Mint mark and privy marks on French Cochinchina 20 Cents 1879, Paris Mint

Mint names began to appear on French coins under Pepin and became mandatory under Charlemagne.[5] In 1389, Charles IV adopted a system called Secret Points. This scheme placed a dot under the first letter of the legend on coins of Crémieu, under the second letter for Romans, up to the twenty-second letter for Bourges.[6] In the fifteenth century letters or symbols placed at the end of the legend indicating the mint were used in addition to Secret Points.[7] In 1540, Francis I discontinued Secret Points in favor of a system of letters; A for Paris, B for Rouen, …, Z for Lyon; in the field.[8] He also made it the rule for mint-masters to place their personal marks on coins, as they had done with increasing frequency since the coinage of Louis XI. This was one of the few royal practices continued by the Republic of France.[9] The mint letters continued until 1898 (briefly revived in 1914 and from 1942-58) and the mint-masters marks, supplemented by the mark of the Chief Engraver, are still used.[10]

Some Medieval English coins used mint names .[11] When William III retired hammered coinage, branch mints which helped strike machine made coins to replace it put their initials below his bust.[12] The Royal Mint established branches to coin sovereigns near the sources of gold. These issues show the initials of Sydney, Melbourne, Victoria, and Perth Australia as well as Canada, South Africa, and India.[13] The privately owned Soho Mint obtained a contract to strike royal copper coins with steam presses and put its name on these coins and on coins it minted for other countries. When it closed, Ralph Heaton acquired its equipment, founded the Birmingham Mint, and put his H mint mark on coins of Canada, among others.

Philip V Coin silver, 8 Reales Mexico
Spanish Milled Dollar with Mexico City Mint Mark.

The Spanish Empire introduced mint marks to the New World when they authorized Mexico City to open a mint on 11 May 1535. The Spanish Empire established mints throughout its American territories, each with their own mint mark. After its revolution, Mexico continued to use its colonial Mo monogram mint mark shown on either side of the date in the Spanish Milled Dollar. The United States of America established mints in Charlotte, North Carolina and Dahlonega, Georgia in 1838 after the Georgia Gold Rush and put its first mint marks on the gold coins struck there.[14] Like other countries, the United States has since placed mint marks not only on its own coins but also those of its territories, such as the Philippines, and other countries for which it has contracts to strike coins, such as Fiji.

Mint marks in numismatics

In the 19th century, numismatists (coin collectors) did not generally collect coins according to mint mark; rather, they attempted to obtain date sets of coins. A turnaround began after 1893, when A. G. Heaton's "A Treatise on Coinage of the United States Branch Mints" was published. Heaton cited example after example of mint-marked coins that were much scarcer than Philadelphia products and that should bring high premiums. When the United States abandoned silver coinage in 1964, mint marks were removed from the new copper-nickel coins in the belief that it would reduce the removal of coins from circulation by collectors. The silver coins quickly disappeared from circulation, and it was feared that if collectors saved too many of the new coins, there would be a serious shortage of coinage. Mint marks were returned to United States coins in 1968.

United States Mint Marks

The current mint marks on United States coinage are P, D, S, and W for the 4 currently operating US Mints. The letter P is used for the Philadelphia Mint, D for the Denver Mint, S for the San Francisco Mint, and W for the West Point Mint. Over time there have been 9 official United States Mints. The first US Mint was in Philadelphia which began coin production with large cents and the half cents of pure copper in early 1793. Other US Mints, prior to the twentieth century, were considered "branch mints". United States mint marks were originally used to distinguish coins not made in Philadelphia. The 8 mint marks used to distinguish coins not minted in Philadelphia (in the chronological order of their first coinage) are: D for the Dahlonega Mint (production of coins started on February 12, 1838), C for the Charlotte Mint (March 27, 1838), O for the New Orleans Mint (May 8, 1838), S for the San Francisco Mint (April 3, 1854), CC for the Carson City Mint (February 11, 1870), D again (Dahlonega had closed in 1861 never to reopen) now for the Denver Mint (March 12, 1906), M for Manila Mint (July 15, 1920) (where an official US Mint began with the coinage of a one centavo coin on July 15, 1920) and lastly a W for the West Point Mint The West Point Mint began coin production on July 29, 1974 to ease the shortage of quarters and other minor coinage and bore no mint mark. Thus West Point coins could not be distinguished from those made at the Philadelphia Mint. The West Point mint mark, "W", was first used on the $10 gold coins commemorating the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles. Most Philadelphia Mint coins from earlier than 1980 were unmarked with the notable exception being wartime nickels (1942-1945). The P mint mark was first used on the Susan B. Anthony Dollars starting 1979. From 1980 until 2017, the Lincoln cent was the only coin that did not always have a mint mark, using a "D" when struck in Denver but lacking a "P" when ostensibly struck at the Philadelphia mint. This practice allowed the additional minting of coins at the San Francisco mint ("S") and West Point mint ("W") without the use of their respective mint marks to address circulating coinage needs without the concern of creating scarce varieties that would be plucked from circulation by collectors. In the single year of 2017 the Philadelphia "P" was added to the Lincoln cent to celebrate 225 years of Philadelphia Mint service[15]. Generally 21st century coins with an "S" or "W" coins do not circulate, being mostly produced as bullion, commemorative, proof coinage or other "collector coinage" sold by the US Mint to either authorized bullion wholesalers or directly to collectors.

Although the US and several other countries use the initial letter of the city for its mint marks, this practice is not universal. For instance, Germany used A for Berlin, D for Munich, E for Muldenhutten, F for Stuttgart, G for Karlsruhe and J for Hamburg. When Spain adopted decimal coinage in 1848, it used stars with different numbers of points as mint marks. Madrid used six pointed stars, Barcelona used eight pointed stars, and so on. After the revolution of 1868, small dates were placed in these stars.[16] The small dates indicated the year the coin was struck, as opposed to the large date on the coin which was the year it was authorized.[17]

Many mints of the world commonly use a Privy mark, which is a symbol unique to each mint. The Royal Canadian Mint commonly uses a maple leaf privy mark. Segovia, Spain used an aqueduct, a local landmark, before it switched over to the star system in 1868. The private mint of the French Coinage Society Poissy Branch used a thunderbolt mint mark on coins of France, its colonies, Romania and other countries.[18]

Muntteken muntmeesterteken
Privy mark (left) and mint mark on a Dutch coin. The mint mark is that of the mint of Utrecht. Since 1830 (with an interruption in 1941-1945) this mark is pressed on all Dutch coins.

Many Islamic coins bear an inscription telling which mint produced the coin. This inscription is often the name of the city where the coin was minted spelled out in Arabic script.

Several euro coins have mint marks of their respective Mint. See Identifying marks on euro coins for more information.


  1. ^ Greek Coins and Their Values, H. A. Seaby, Kings of Macedon coin 539
  2. ^ Historia Numorum, Barcay Head, introduction page lix
  3. ^ Roman Coins and Their Values, David Sear page 47
  4. ^ Byzantine Coins, P. D. Whiting, page 60
  5. ^ Coins in History, John Porteous, page 54
  6. ^ The Silver Coins of Medieval France, James Roberts, page 202
  7. ^ The Silver Coins of Medieval France, James Roberts, page 203
  8. ^ The Silver Coins of Medieval France, James Roberts, page 204
  9. ^ Coins in History, John Porteous, page 164
  10. ^ Standard Catalog of World Coins by Krause Publications
  11. ^ Coins in History, John Porteous, page 68
  12. ^ Coins in History, John Porteous, page 214
  13. ^ Historic Gold Coins of the World, Burton Hobson, pages 129 and 132
  14. ^ A Guide Book of United States Coins, R. S. Yeoman
  15. ^ "It's really true: Cents struck at Philadelphia Mint in 2017 bear P Mint mark". Coin World. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  16. ^ Standard Catalog of World Coins, C. Krause and C Michler, Spain
  17. ^ The Coin Atlas, Crib, Cook, and Carradice, p. 58
  18. ^ Standard Catalog of World Coins, C. Krause and C Michler, Spain, France, French Indo-China and Romania

External links

10 euro cent coin

The 10 euro cent coin (€0.10) has a value of one tenth of a euro and is composed of an alloy called Nordic gold. All coins have a common reverse side and country-specific national sides. The coin has been used since 2002, with the present common side design dating from 2007.

1 euro coin

The 1-euro coin (€1) is a euro coin with a value of one euro (€1). It is made of two alloys: the inner part of cupronickel, the outer part of nickel brass. All coins have a common reverse side and country-specific national sides. The coin has been used since 2002, with the present common side design dating from 2007.

As of July 2015, there were approximately 6.7 billion one-euro coins in circulation, constituting 26.4% of all circulated euro coins by value and 5.9% by quantity.

20 euro cent coin

The 20 euro cent coin (€0.20) has a value of one fifth of a euro and is composed of an alloy called nordic gold in the Spanish flower shape. All coins have a common reverse side and country-specific national sides. The coin has been used since 2002, with the present common side design dating from 2007.

2 euro commemorative coins

€2 commemorative coins are special euro coins minted and issued by member states of the eurozone since 2004 as legal tender in all eurozone member states. Only the national obverse sides of the coins differ; the common reverse sides do not. The coins typically commemorate the anniversaries of historical events or draw attention to current events of special importance. In 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2015, there were common commemorative coins with only different national inscriptions. Up to end of 2017, three hundred and two variations of €2 commemorative coins have been minted – six in 2004, eight in 2005, seven in 2006, twenty in 2007 (including thirteen versions of the common issue), ten in 2008, twenty-five in 2009 (including sixteen versions of the common issue), twelve in 2010, sixteen in 2011, thirty in 2012 (including seventeen versions of the common issue), twenty-three in 2013, twenty-six in 2014, forty-seven in 2015 (including nineteen versions of the common issue), and thirty-two both in 2016 and 2017. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, San Marino and the Vatican City are the only countries to have released at least one commemorative coin every year since 2004.

The number of commemorative coins is limited to two (before 2012 to one) per country per year (in addition to any common issue) and to 5 percent of the total mintage output. Limits on the designs are also in place to ensure uniformity.

The €2 commemorative coins have become collectibles, but are different from commemorative coins with a face value different from €2, which are officially designated as "collector coins" and usually made of precious metals.

50 euro cent coin

The 50 euro cent coin (€0.50) has a value of half a euro and are composed of an alloy called nordic gold. All coins have a common reverse side and country-specific national sides. The coin has been used since 2002, with the present common side design dating from 2007.

Dahlonega Mint

The Dahlonega Mint was a former branch of the United States Mint built during the Georgia Gold Rush to help the miners get their gold assayed and minted, without having to travel to the Philadelphia Mint. It was located at (34°31.8′N 83°59.2′W ) in Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Georgia. Coins produced at the Dahlonega Mint bear the "D" mint mark. That mint mark is used today by the Denver Mint, which opened many years after the Dahlonega Mint closed. All coins from the Dahlonega Mint are gold, in the $1, $2.50, $3, and $5 denominations, and bear dates in the range 1838–1861.

Greek euro coins

Greek euro coins feature a unique design for each of the eight coins. They were all designed by Georgios Stamatopoulos with the minor coins depicting Greek ships, the middle ones portraying famous Greeks and the two large denominations showing images of Greek history and mythology. All designs feature the 12 stars of the EU, the year of imprint and a tiny symbol of the Bank of Greece. Uniquely, the value of the coins is expressed on the national side in the Greek alphabet, as well as being on the common side in the Roman alphabet. The euro cent is known as the lepto (λεπτό; plural lepta, λεπτά) in Greek.

Greece did not enter the Eurozone until 2001 and was not able to start minting coins as early as the other eleven member states, so a number of coins circulated in 2002 were not minted in Athens but in Finland (€1 and €2 – mint mark S), France (1c, 2c, 5c, 10c and 50c – mint mark F) and Spain (20c – mint mark E). The coins minted in Athens for the euro introduction in 2002, as well as all the subsequent Greek euro coins, carry only the Greek mint mark.

India Government Mint, Hyderabad

India Government Mint, Hyderabad is one of the four mints in India. Based in Cherlapally, Secunderabad (twin city of Hyderabad) in the Indian state of Telangana, the mint was originally established in 1803 AD as the Royal Mint to serve as the mint for the Nizam of Hyderabad. The mint was founded by Mir Akbar Ali Khan Sikander Jah, Asaf Jah III and was originally situated at Sultan Sahi in Moghalpura suburb of Hyderabad city. In 1950, the mint was taken over by the Government of India, and in 1997 it was shifted to its present location at Cherlapally in Secunderabad. Indian 1, 2, 5 and 10 rupee coins are produced in this mint.

India Government Mint, Noida

The India Government Mint, Noida, is one of the four mints in India; based in Noida, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the mint started production on 1 July 1988 and is the only India Government Mint established since India became an independent country in 1947. It produced the first stainless steel coins in India and aside from producing coins for its home country, it also produces coins for other countries.

Indian paisa

Indian paisa (plural: paise) is ​1⁄100 (one-hundredth) subdivision of the Indian rupee. The paisa was first introduced on 1 April 1957 after decimalisation of the Indian rupee. As of 30 June 2011, except for 50 paisa coins, all other paisa coins had been demonetized.In 1955, the Government of India first amended the "Indian Coinage Act" and adopted the "metric system for coinage". From 1957 to 1964, the Paisa was called "Naya Paisa" (New Paisa) and on 1 June 1964, the term "Naya" was dropped and the denomination was named "Paisa". Paisa has been issued in 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, 25 and 50 paisa coins.

Jefferson nickel

The Jefferson nickel has been the five-cent coin struck by the United States Mint since 1938, when it replaced the Buffalo nickel. From 1938 until 2004, the copper-nickel coin's obverse featured a profile depiction of founding father and third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson by artist Felix Schlag; the obverse design used in 2005 was also in profile, though by Joe Fitzgerald. Since 2006 Jefferson's portrayal, newly designed by Jamie Franki, faces forward. The coin's reverse is still the Schlag original, although in 2004 and 2005 the piece bore commemorative designs.

First struck in 1913, the Buffalo nickel had long been difficult to coin, and after it completed the 25-year term during which it could only be replaced by Congress, the Mint moved quickly to replace it with a new design. The Mint conducted a design competition in early 1938, requiring that Jefferson be depicted on the obverse, and Jefferson's house Monticello on the reverse. Schlag won the competition, but was required to submit an entirely new reverse and make other changes before the new piece went into production in October 1938.

As nickel was a strategic war material during World War II, nickels coined from 1942 to 1945 were struck in a copper-silver-manganese alloy which would not require adjustment to vending machines. They bear a large mint mark above the depiction of Monticello on the reverse. In 2004 and 2005, the nickel saw new designs as part of the Westward Journey nickel series, and since 2006 has borne Schlag's reverse and Franki's obverse.

Newfoundland five cents

Work on the coinage tools for the Newfoundland five-cent coin began after the one-cent coin, so the coin has no legend. The first pattern is derived from the New Brunswick obverse with Newfoundland substituted for New Brunswick.

Newfoundland one cent

As Newfoundland did not join Canada until 1949, it had its own currency for many decades. It adopted its own decimal currency in 1863. Compared to other pre-Confederation British colonies, it had a wide selection of decimal coinage (including a twenty cent coin). The most important coin in Newfoundland was the Spanish American dollar (the 8-real piece), therefore, the Newfoundland government set its dollar equal in value to this coin. The new decimal cent was equal to the British halfpenny and $4.80 was equal to one pound sterling.

Proof coinage

Proof coinage refers to special early samples of a coin issue, historically made for checking the dies and for archival purposes, but nowadays often struck in greater numbers specially for coin collectors (numismatists). Nearly all countries have issued proof coinage.Preparation of a proof striking usually involved polishing of the dies. They can usually be distinguished from normal circulation coins by their sharper rims and design, as well as much smoother "fields" – the blank areas not part of the coin's design.

The dies for making modern proof coins are often treated with chemicals to make certain parts of the design take on a frosted appearance, with the polished fields taking on a mirror finish. Several other methods have been used in the past to achieve this effect, including sand blasting the dies, and matte proofs. Proof coins of the early 19th century even appear to be scratched, but it was part of the production process. The term "proof" refers to the process by which the coins are made and not to the condition of the coin. Certification agencies can grade and assign numerical ratings for proof coins. A PR70 coin is the highest grade possible for a proof coin and indicates a perfect example, with PR69 and lower grades reflecting some deficiency in the strike, centering, details, or other aspect of the coin.

Most proof coins are double struck under higher pressure. This does not normally result in doubling that is readily observable, but does result in the devices being struck fully. After being struck, they are separately and individually handled, in contrast to normal coins which are thrown into bins.

Quarter (United States coin)

The quarter, short for quarter dollar, is a United States coin worth 25 cents, one-fourth of a dollar. It has a diameter of .955 inch (24.26 mm) and a thickness of .069 inch (1.75 mm). The coin sports the profile of George Washington on its obverse, and its reverse design has changed frequently. It has been produced on and off since 1796 and consistently since 1831.The choice of ​1⁄4 as a denomination—as opposed to the ​1⁄5 more common elsewhere—originated with the practice of dividing Spanish milled dollars into eight wedge-shaped segments. "Two bits" (that is, two "pieces of eight") is a common nickname for a quarter.

Roosevelt dime

The Roosevelt dime is the current dime, or ten-cent piece, of the United States. Struck by the United States Mint continuously since 1946, it displays President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the obverse and was authorized soon after his death in 1945.

Roosevelt had been stricken with polio, and was one of the moving forces of the March of Dimes. The ten-cent coin could be changed by the Mint without the need for congressional action, and officials moved quickly to replace the Mercury dime. Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock prepared models, but faced repeated criticism from the Commission of Fine Arts. He modified his design in response, and the coin went into circulation in January 1946.

Since its introduction, the Roosevelt dime has been struck continuously in large numbers. The Mint transitioned from striking the coin in silver to base metal in 1965, and the design remains essentially unaltered from when Sinnock created it. Without rare dates or silver content, the dime is less widely sought by coin collectors than other modern U.S. coins.

United States Mint

The United States Mint is a unit of the Department of Treasury responsible for producing coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce, as well as controlling the movement of bullion. It does not produce paper money; that responsibility belongs to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The Mint was created in Philadelphia in 1792, and soon joined by other centers, whose coins were identified by their own mint marks. There are currently four active coin-producing mints: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and West Point.

West Point Mint

The West Point Mint Facility was erected in 1937 near the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, United States. Originally it was called the West Point Bullion Depository. At one point it had the highest concentration of silver of any U.S. mint facility, and for 12 years produced circulating pennies. It has since minted mostly commemorative coins, and stores gold.

It gained official status as a branch of the United States Mint on March 31, 1988. Later that year it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Zoilos II

Zoilos II Soter (Greek: Ζωΐλος Β΄ ὁ Σωτήρ; epithet means "the Saviour") was an Indo-Greek king who ruled in eastern Punjab. Bopearachchi dates his reign to c. 55–35 BCE, a date approximately supported by R. C. Senior. The name is often Latinized as Zoilus. It is possible that some of his coins were issued by a separate king, Zoilos III.

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