Mint Mark Guide

Many coins issued by the U.S. Mint feature a mint mark – a small letter indicating where the coin was struck. In all, a total of 8 different U.S. Mints have issued coins. Mint marks on United States coins began with the passage of the Act of March 3, 1835 (which established the first branch U.S. Mints). Though many branch mints closed their doors long ago, the Denver, San Francisco and West Point locations still operate – as does the main U.S. Mint facility in Philadelphia. For many years, coins struck in Philadelphia did not display a mint mark. However, since 1980, all coins (except cents) struck there have featured a "P" mint mark.

About Mint Mark Punches

Until the 1990s, dies for branch mints were hand-punched with the mint mark, and the size and location of the mint mark varied depending on where and how deeply the punch was impressed. Before 1900, the punches themselves varied greatly in size. Nowadays, mint marks are added directly to the master dies, and are transferred along with the coin designs to the dies that are used to strike coins.

To learn more about what mint marks are and where you can find them, see our Illustrated Guide to Mint Marks on Regular-Issue U.S. Coins.

Philadelphia (PA)

[Philadelphia mint mark]

Mint mark “P”
Coinage years 1793 to date

Since this was the first U.S. Mint and has always been the main facility, most coins from historic Philadelphia have no mint mark. Exceptions are the Wartime nickels of 1942-45 (shown), Anthony dollars of 1979-81, and all other Philadelphia coins after 1979 except the cent.

Denver (CO)

[Denver mint mark]

Mint mark “D”
Coinage years 1906 to date

Establishment of a Denver Mint was the natural result of major gold and silver discoveries in Colorado in the late 1800s. Note: Collectors should not confuse the Denver "D" on coins 1906 to date with the "D" mint mark on gold coins of 1838-61 struck at the short-lived Dahlonega, Georgia facility.

West Point (NY)

[West Point mint mark]

Mint mark “W”
Coinage years 1984 to date

Although West Point struck coins and medals beginning in 1974, no mint marks appeared until 1983, with the striking of 1984 Olympic $10 gold eagles.

San Francisco (CA)

[San Francisco mint mark]

Mint mark “S”
Coinage years 1854 to 1955, 1968 to date

The mint facility in this romantic and popular West Coast city was opened shortly after the 1849 gold rush in California. It was more economical to refine and coin locally than to ship raw bullion ore all the way to Philadelphia. No "S" coins were minted from 1956-67.

Carson City (NV)

[Carson City mint mark]

Mint mark “CC”
Coinage years 1870-1893

Named after the famous frontiersman Kit Carson, this intriguing capital city of Nevada was chosen as a mint location because of its nearness to such rich silver mines as the Comstock Lode of Virginia City, Nevada. Note: "C" mint mark gold coins were struck from 1838-61 at Charlotte, North Carolina.

New Orleans (LA)

[New Orleans mint mark]

Mint mark “O”
Coinage years 1838-1861, 1879 to 1909

Nicknamed the "Crescent City" for its location stretching around a bend in the Mississippi River, fascinating New Orleans was the site of a branch mint which handled bullion ore from southern mines. After closure, the building lay vacant until converted to a museum and art center.

Charlotte (NC)

[Charlotte mint mark]

Mint mark “C”
Gold coinage years 1838-1861

This short-lived southern branch mint struck only gold coins during its brief existence. It was seized in 1861 by the Confederacy and was never re-opened.

Dahlonega (GA)

[Dahlonega mint mark]

Mint mark “D”
Gold coinage years 1838-1861

Another short-lived southern branch mint that struck only gold coins. It too was seized in 1861 by the southern forces and was never re-opened as a mint.