U.S. coins have been struck since 1793. Eight different locations throughout the United States have produced coins since that time. Each mint identifies their product with a one or two letter abbreviation stamped on the coin during the minting process. This is the mint mark. Prior to 1985, these mint marks were applied to the die by hand using a metal punch. These mint marks can greatly affect the value of coins produced in a particular year. A balanced investment portfolio should contain coins from all eight mints.


The first building to be erected under the new Federal Government of the United States in 1792 was the Philadelphia Mint. The Mint at Philadelphia functioned as the sole manufacturing facility for U.S. coins until 1838. Because this was the only mint in operation for almost 50 years, a mint mark was not placed on coins struck here. The "P" mint mark is now found on all modern Philadelphia made coins except for the penny.


Gold discoveries in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina triggered America¹s first gold rush in the early 19th century. By 1830, it was risky and expensive to ship gold to Philadelphia for assay and sale. The U.S. Mint at Charlotte opened in 1838. Gold coins only would be struck there until May 1861, when North Carolina seceded from the Union. The Mint was officially closed in 1861; never to re-open. All Charlotte gold coins are highly desired by collectors and investors for their history and rarity.


The discovery of gold in California in 1848 resulted in a rapid growth of population and statehood in 1850. Congress authorized the San Francisco Mint in 1852. It began operations in 1854 striking most denominations of coins. This mint continues in operation to this day; striking Proof, Bullion and Commemorative coins.


The Dahlonega Mint began operations in 1838 and continued to run until April 1861, when it was seized by the state of Georgia and then, the Confederacy. The building that housed the mint burned to the ground in 1878. Dahlonega and Charlotte coins are unique, in that only gold coins were struck at both Mints. These Mints, unlike New Orleans, never re-opened after the War. Only 22 years of limited production coinage were ever made in Georgia and North Carolina.


The first coins of the New Orleans Mint were struck in 1838. In 1861, Louisiana seceded from the Union. Coins were struck here in that year under the flags of the United States, the State of Louisiana, and the Confederate States of America. They are indistinguishable from each other. Coinage operations ceased in late 1861 due to depleted stocks of bullion. The mint resumed striking coins from 1879 to 1909 when it permanently closed.


The Mint in Denver had its roots as a U.S. Assay Office in 1863. As the Assay Office, silver and gold was weighed and analyzed for purity direct from the Colorado mines, and then turned into bars and ingots. This mint continues to operate in its original location striking coins of all denominations in addition to manufacturing coin dies.


The famous Mint at Carson City produced coins for only 24 years from 1870 to 1893. The location of Carson City was convenient for the thousands of fortune seekers who converged on the area mining the Comstock Lode and other rich veins of silver and gold. However, the mintage figures of the Carson City Mint were generally much smaller than other Mints. Gold and silver coins were minted here and all are highly prized by collectors and investors. There are only 13 dates of Morgan dollars that bear the "CC" mint mark.