USA Coins

Images and Numismatic Information on American Coins, A.N.A. Grading System, Mint Marks



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1. Brief History of American Coinage
2. USA Mints & Mint Marks
3. American Numismatic Association (A.N.A.) Grading System

This page of the Numismatic Corner includes numismatic information, coin values, images, specifics, historical facts and mintage records for the major types of United States Coins described in the categories listed below. Abbreviations of the US mint marks and the essential elements of the American Numismatic Association Grading System are described below as well.

American Coinage - Brief Historical Facts

The Articles of Confederation, adopted March 1, 1781, provided that each state had the right to coin money, but Congress served as a regulating authority. New Hampshire was the first state to consider coinage, but few if any coins were placed in circulation.

Vermont, Connecticut, and New Jersey granted coining privileges to companies or individuals. Massachusetts erected its own mint in which copper coins were produced.

By the Act of April 2, 1792, Congress created the first national coinage system for the United States, established the value of a dollar (or a unit), a disme (the tenth part of a dollar), a cent (the hundredth part of a dollar), a mille (the thousandth part of a dollar), and provided for the production of a circulating medium. The first official mint was established in Philadelphia.

Popular acceptance of the Spanish milled dollar, both at home and abroad, convinced Congress that the new dollar of the United States should be identical in every respect to the Spanish dollar, except for the design. Properly alloyed, the gross weight of the new United States dollar was fixed at 416 grains - exactly that of the Spanish milled dollar.

Unlike the British symbol for the pound sterling, the dollar sign is not an official designation of United States currency. In August of 1929, The Numismatist published a detailed report, "History of Mathematical Notations" by Dr. Florian Cajori, which showed that the dollar sign was actually a modification of the old Mexican sign Ps for pesos, piastres, and pieces of eight. The dollar sign has never been used on a coin or paper currency of denominations issued for general circulation.

Whether you collect, buy, or sell U.S. coins, or just need to identify the coin you found, the following pages can be helpful providing you with basic numismatic information and coin values:

US Silver CoinsLarge Cents
Small Cents
2-Cent and 3-Cent Pieces
Nickel Five-Cent Pieces
Half Dimes
Dimes
Quarters
Half-Dollars
Dollars
US Gold Coins
US 50 State Quarters

USA MINTS and MINT MARKS

Mint Mark Mint marks are small letters designating where coins were made. Mint mark position is on the reverse of nearly all US coins prior to 1965 (the cent is an exception), and on the obverse after 1967. Letters used are as follows:

C - Charlotte, North Carolina (gold coins only). 1838-1861.
CC - Carson City, Nevada. 1870-1893.
D - Denver, Colorado. 1906 to date.
D - Dahlonega, Georgia (gold coins only). 1838-1861.
O - New Orleans, Louisiana. 1838-1909.
P - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1793 to date.
S - San Francisco, California. 1854 to date.
W - West Point, New York. 1984 to date.
The mint mark "M" was used on coins made in Manila for the Philippines 1925-1941

AMERICAN NUMISMATIC ASSOCIATION GRADING SYSTEM

• AG-3 (ABOUT GOOD) - The coin is very heavily worn with portions of lettering, date and legends worn smooth. The date may be barely readable.

• G-4 (GOOD) - Heavily worn with design visible but faint in areas. Many details are flat.

• VG-8 (VERY GOOD) - Well worn with main features clear and bold although rather flat.

• F-12 (FINE) - Moderate to considerable even wear. Entire design is bold with overall pleasing appearance.

• VF-20 (VERY FINE) - Shows moderate wear on high points of design. All major details are clear.

• VF-30 (CHOICE VERY FINE) - Light even wear on the surface and highest parts of the design. All lettering and major features are sharp.

• EF-40 (EXTREMELY FINE) - Design is slightly worn throughout, but all features are sharp and well defined. Traces of luster may show.

• EF-45 (CHOICE EXTREMELY FINE) - Light overall wear shows on highest points. All design details are very sharp. Some of the mint luster is evident.

• AU-50 (ABOUT UNCIRCULATED) - Has traces of light wear on many of the high points. At least half of the mint luster is still present.

• AU-55 (CHOICE ABOUT UNCIRCULATED) - Barest evidence of light wear on only the highest points of the design. Most of the mint luster remains.

• MS-60 (UNCIRCULATED) - Has no trace of wear but may show a number of contact marks, and surface may be spotted or lack some luster.

• MS-65 (CHOICE UNCIRCULATED) - An above average Uncirculated coin that may be brilliant or lightly toned and has very few contact marks on the surface or rim. MS-67 through MS-62 indicate a slightly higher or lower grade of preservation.

• MS-70 (PERFECT UNCIRCULATED) - Perfect new condition, showing no trace of wear. The finest quality possible, with no evidence of scratches, handling or contact with other coins. Very few regular issue coins are ever found in this condition.

• MINT STATE - The terms Mint State (MS) and Uncirculated (Unc.) are interchangeably used to describe coins showing no trace of wear. Such coins may vary to some degree because of blemishes, toning or slight imperfections as described in the preceding subdivisions.

• Proof-63 or Proof-65 (PROOF) - A specially made coin distinguished by sharpness of detail and usually with a brilliant mirror like surface. Proof refers to the method of manufacture and is not a condition, but normally the term implies perfect mint state unless otherwise noted and graded as above.


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Sources: Encyclopedia Of U.S. Coins by Mort Reed and The Official Red Book of United States Coins by R.S. Yeoman.