What are Coins with No Mint Marks, and Are They Valuable?
One of the most common questions that we are asked is about coins without mintmarks or that seem to be missing a mintmark. Millions and millions of coins have been struck over the years at the Philadelphia Mint with no mintmarks. This is normal and rarely adds value given the large mintages at this important coin-minting facility. However, a coin with no mintmark can be special when this mintmark was left off by accident rather than on purpose.
Specifically, the No S Proof coins that were mistakenly released by the San Francisco Mint. Proof coins, or special strikes intended for collectors rather than circulation, have been issued in 5-coin proof sets each year for decades. They were housed in hard plastic cases, often with a decorative outer box, and had brightly mirrored surfaces. Such coins were never released into circulation and typically cannot be found in change as a result.
Starting in 1968, the proof coins in these sets were supposed to be minted with an “S” mintmark for San Francisco, the US Mint facility that produces these pieces. A few sets from selected years were accidentally released to the public without the intended S mintmark, however, and are known today as “No S Proofs.”
No S Proof coins are known from 1968 (Roosevelt Dime), 1970 (Roosevelt Dime), 1971 (Jefferson Nickel), 1975 (Roosevelt Dime), 1983 (Roosevelt Dime), and 1990 (Lincoln Cent).
Why There Are No Mint Marks on Coins Dated 1965, 1966, and 1967?
In the mid-1960s, the United States was in the midst of a nationwide coin shortage due to a major shift from striking 90% silver coins to those of a less-valuable “clad” composition. Coins dated 1965, 1966 and 1967 were intentionally produced without a mintmark.
This was partly to discourage the hoarding of coins during this time of transition, but the D (Denver) and S (San Francisco) mintmarks eventually were used again in 1968. Coins dated 1965, 1966, and 1977 are generally very common today and typically hold little value beyond their face value, if any.
What Coins Without Mint Marks Are Worth Money?
Certain rare dates struck by the Philadelphia mint can be valuable due to low mintages or low survival rates, such as the 1901 Morgan Dollar in excellent condition or early type coins of the 1790s and early 1800s.
No S Proof coins issued in 5-coin Proof Sets that accidentally had the mintmark left off are also valuable pieces. For a list of what dates to watch for, you can consult with this list of key date coins on our Coin Price Guide for Beginners.
Are Proof Coins with No Mint Mark Valuable?
Certain dates of proof coins that were accidentally struck without a mintmark can be valuable. Coins to watch for are the 1968 No S Proof (Roosevelt Dime), 1970 No S Proof (Roosevelt Dime), 1971 No S Proof (Jefferson Nickel), 1975 No S Proof (Roosevelt Dime), 1983 No S Proof (Roosevelt Dime), and 1990 No S Proof (Lincoln Cent).
These No S Proofs were issued only in 5-coin Proof Sets sold directly by the government. They will also have brightly mirrored surfaces and will look very different from regular Philadelphia mint coins that you can find in change, which are also called circulation strikes or business strikes. For example, a normal circulation strike 1975 Dime is safe to spend as change. However, if you found a 1975 Proof Set with a No S Proof Dime in it, then this would be a very rare piece!
What Are the Most Valuable Coins with No Mint Marks?
The 1975 No S Proof Dime is the rarest and most valuable of the No S Proofs, with only two coins known. Heritage sold the nicer of the two known examples in 2019 for $456,000! Finest Known 1975 No S Roosevelt Dime, PR68 – Only Two Examples Traced
Other No S Proof Coins tend to have values in the $1,000 to $30,000 or so range depending on their grade and rarity. The higher the grade on the 1 to 70 coin grading scale, the greater the value. Also, certain dates of No S Proofs have had more coins discovered over the years than others. Coins that have been cleaned or damaged in some way will generally be less valuable, as the condition is very important for modern proof coins.
What are the Most Expensive Coins with No Mint Mark Sold by Heritage Auctions?
Multiple No S Proofs have sold at Heritage Auctions for more than $10,000 over the years. Here are two exciting examples:
Many other No S Proofs have sold at Heritage Auctions in the $1,000 to $10,000 range:
What’s the Best Place to Sell a Coin without a Mint Mark?
If you find a No S Proof coin in one of your family’s proof sets, Heritage Auctions can help you to achieve the highest possible price by marketing your coin to our global audience of collectors. Contact a Consignment Director today for more advice!
While many coins without a mintmark are unfortunately fairly common, a No S Proof Coin from a Proof Set is a real find. Best of luck in your search!
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