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No mintmark for Philadelphia cents

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News

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I just noticed that the cent in my 1992 Mint-packaged set doesn’t have a mintmark. Is this worth something extra?

Neither the 1992 Philadelphia cent, nor any previous date cents from there, carry a mintmark. The Philadelphia Mint has never put a mintmark on any of the cents that it has struck since 1793. The 1990-S proof cents without a mintmark caused the confusion in this case. Proofs have a mirror surface and are normally found only in sets packaged in hard plastic.

Do incuse and intaglio mean the same thing?

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Both refer to a design below the face or field level. Common usage is incuse for coins and intaglio for paper money plates. The Bella Pratt gold coins are one example of incuse design. The dates of the 1983-1984 Olympic dollars are intaglio, or hollowed out.

I have a piece that I have been unable to identify. It is a plastic oval that has “KIDDY/6d/CASH” on one side. On the other, the words, “HONG KONG,” a crown and the initials “SRF.” Any idea what it might be?

This may come as a disappointment, but your piece is a plastic token, a piece of play money, using the British symbol for pence.

Was there more than one size or thickness of the plastic 1942 cents that the Mint made while they were experimenting with substitute materials?

Specimens of at least six different thicknesses and weights are known, ranging from eight to 57 grains in several different colored plastics. All were the same diameter as a normal cent. These were made under contract by one of several private manufacturers, not by the Mint itself. The dies used were provided by the Mint, which apparently used a set to strike the experimental zinc-plated steel examples with the same date.

How far back do Olympic coins go?

The first trace of Olympic coins came from mints of Zeus and Hera at Olympia prior to 500 B.C. The earliest modern Olympic coins were Finnish, struck in 1951 for the 1952 games at Helsinki. They used a five-ring design that was first used at the games in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1920.

I have an 1856-S $3 gold with a small “S” mintmark. Is it worth more than the other varieties?

There are three mintmark varieties for the “S” – small, medium and large. However, the values are the same for all three.

n Is there a $3 coin with Lincoln and the slogan, “GOD AND OUR COUNTRY?”

Maurice Gould attributed it to “Merriam, but not a Mint product. Reverse was an 1867 pattern die made by Mint. Three or four pieces (weighing 76 grains) are known and one unique 100 grains.”

Wasn’t President Eisenhower supposed to replace George Washington on the quarter?

The first proposal to reach Congress in 1969 was for a quarter with Ike’s bust, with the bills introduced in late March and April. The Treasury, however, was pushing for the dollar coin.

How did our first Mint roll out the coin metal to the proper thickness?

This was definitely a case of horse power. Prior to the adoption of the steam-driven equipment, our first Mint in Philadelphia in 1792 used rolls powered by a team of horses to roll out the copper ingots into strips of metal about 2-1/4 inches wide, from which the planchets were punched. The horses were quickly replaced with oxen when it was found they couldn’t handle the job.

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