A quick follow up on last week’s article where I told of a situation with a customer who was offered $650 for a baseball card collection that I subsequently paid $2000. Another customer commented after reading that article, that I could have bought the collection for a much lower price if I just beat the $650 offer. To me, it’s about offering a fair price, one that’s fair to both the buyer and seller. I was content to pay $2000 because I felt it was fair and would provide a fair return on my investment. No regrets.
Now for the rest of the story. The United States Mint was established in Philadelphia in 1792 and struck its’ first coins, half cents and cents, in 1793. Since the Philadelphia Mint was the only government mint, and would remain so until 1838, there was no need to place a mintmark on the coins. As our country grew and the need for additional coins grew, it made sense to establish new mints in the areas of growing population. It then became prudent to mark the coins with an identifier, mintmark, to show where the coin was struck. The reason is simple and logical and goes back many centuries; if there is a problem with the coin, metal content, design, etc. one would know where the coin originated and steps could be taken to correct the problem. This came home to roost when during the years 1965 to 1967 the Denver Mint, which was the only other mint striking coins for circulation along with the Philadelphia Mint, stopped adding their mintmark to their coins. Sure enough, a problem developed and it took longer to pinpoint the source. Mintmarks were returned to coins in 1968.
As the number of mints increased in the United States and an identifying mintmark was added to the coins they struck, the one constant was that the Philadelphia minted coins were mintmark less. That held true until 1979 when the “P” was added to the Susan B. Anthony dollars struck in Philadelphia. (An exception was during the war years of 1942-1942 when the metallic content of the five cent coin was changed to reduce the copper content and replace it with silver. The Philadelphia mint as well as the Denver and San Francisco mints all placed large mintmarks on the reverse of the coin to signify the change. After the wars’ end, from 1946 forward, the mintmark for Philadelphia was discontinued and the other 2 mints returned their marks to the original location on the right side of the reverse of the coin.)