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Silver Eagle mintmark mimics Walking Liberty half


Why is the mintmark on the silver Eagles on the reverse? I thought it was the law that they had to be on the obverse.

There was no actual law changing the mintmarks all to the obverse of our circulating coins, but merely an internal decision at the Mint to standardize position. While the official comment at the time the silver Eagles were first struck was that the S “looked better” on the reverse, it apparently was a throwback to the traditional position for the “S” mintmark for the coins, which had copied the old Walking Liberty halves, from which the silver Eagle obverse was copied.


I’ve noticed that the “S” mintmark on my proof dimes is different than the “S” on the other proof coins. Is this unusual?

If you examine several sets of proof coins (struck since 1985), you will probably notice that there are slight differences in the mintmark letter for each denomination, with the dime mintmarks being the most apparent. This is because the mintmark is being copied from the plaster model to ultimately appear on the hub, which is used to make the dies.

In the very old catalogs there are no listings for the 1907-S $10 gold eagle, yet today the mintage is shown as 210,500. What’s the story?

As is often the case, Mint records are not always accurate and for some reason no mintage figure for that date at San Francisco was listed. To add to the confusion, a private list put out by Ben Green listed the approximate mintage (210,000), but instead for the Indian Head eagles. Collectors who had 1907-S eagles that had survived the 1934 massacre began asking questions and the correct mintage figure finally was dredged up.


When was the gold 1854-S quarter eagle first discovered?

The first one reported turned up in 1911 and was one of the reasons why coin dealers began paying serious attention to mintmarks. Until that time it was assumed that all of the first year’s production at San Francisco had been lost, melted or never even minted.

I have a 1926 quarter with an “M” mintmark. Is this for the Manila Mint?

The “M” is the initial of Hermon A. MacNeil, the designer, and not a mintmark. George T. Morgan’s “M” on the Morgan dollar gives rise to the same question, especially since one firm ran numerous ads in the non-numismatic press offering the coins with “an ‘M’ mintmark.”

Address questions to Coin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 42-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to Answerman2@aol.com.

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