In the U.S. a mint mark is usually one letter, sometimes two, indicating which mint produced a coin. The current US mint marks are:
P for Philadelphia,
D for Denver
S for San Francisco (for proof coins only)
W for West Point (for commemoratives and gold only*)
Until recently most coins from Philadelphia did not have a mintmark so you may find many older coins lacking mint marks. Dates for the P mint mark are:
> 1942-45 : "war nickels"
> 1979-present : dollars
> 1980-present : nickels, quarters, dimes, halves
Philadelphia cents do not have a mint mark.
*With the exception of the 1996 Roosevelt Dime issued from the West Point Mint. This was included in the Mint's Uncirculated Set for that year, and it commemorates the 50th anniversary of this coin type's debut. In addition to its novelty as the only dime bearing a 'W' mintmark, the West Point location is not far from the Roosevelt Estate at Hyde Park where the late FDR and wife Eleanor were laid to rest.Mint Marks on Older Coins
S for San Francisco circulating coins 1854-1955, also some nickels and cents 1968-74
C for Charlotte, NC 1838-1861
CC for Carson City, NV 1870-1893
D for Dahlonega, GA 1838-1861
O for New Orleans, LA 1838-1861 and 1879-1909Mint Marks on Coins from Other Countries
Other countries have different practices for indicating where a coin was struck. If there is only a single mint, they may follow the old U.S. practice of not placing any mint mark on their coins, or they may use mint marks only for branch/subsidiary mints, or all coins may carry marks. There may even be coded mint marks or symbols instead of letters. Some examples:
U.K: No mint mark for most coins from the primary mint; H = Heaton, KN = Kings Norton
Canada: No mint mark for coins from the Ottawa mint up till 1995; "M" beginning in 1996; H on some older coins minted at England's Heaton mint.
Australia: Older coins used either a letter or a strategically-placed dot to indicate what mint struck each coin; the dot's location within the coin's design was different for each mint.
Germany: All coins carry mint marks. Unlike most other countries, mint marks are sequential letters based on when a particular mint was established rather than being an initial of the city. Current active mints are:
J: HamburgMint Mark Locations
It's impossible to give a simple description of where to look for a mint mark without knowing a coin's date and denomination, and sometimes even that information isn't enough. Mint marks are often worked into some inconspicuous place in the design, but in recent years the practice in more and more countries is to make the mint mark more obvious. For example, in 1968 the U.S. moved mint marks from the back sides of most coins to a more prominent place on the front; in the 1980s the size of the letters was increased making them even more visible.
A mint mark tells where the coin was minted, for example, a P mint mark (or in some cases no mint mark) signifies the coin was minted in Philadelphia, D is for Denver, S is for San Fransisco. I'm assuming someone told you that the mint mark was under the eagle for whatever coin you had, so you simply need to look under the eagle to find a mint mark. Keep in mind that some coins were produced in the Philadelphia mint and have no mint mark.
sammler.com, a major German collectibles site, lists the following values for an 1881 1 rm piece in average circulated condition: "A" mint mark: $2.50 "D" mint mark: $3.25 "E" mint mark: $6.50 "F" mint mark: $5.00 "G" mint mark: $26.00 "H" mint mark: $21.00 "J" mint mark: $8.00 Prices for coins with only slight wear are about 2.5 to 3.5 times higher.
The mint mark of the Denver Mint (shown as a "D") and the San Francisco Mint (shown as "S) on the Eisenhower Dollar is located on the obverse (heads) side of the coin directly beneath the bust of Eisenhower. If there is no mint mark there, then the coin was struck at the Philadelphia Mint and in this mint did not place a mint mark on the coins struck there until 1979.
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