Where is the mint mark on a 1966 penny? In 1966, the United States Mint produced 2,188,147,783 Lincoln pennies. With such a high number minted that year, some collectors may be wondering – where can I find the mint mark showing which facility struck my 1966 penny?
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: there is no mint mark on a 1966 penny since these coins were only minted in Philadelphia.
In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know to locate the mint mark on your 1966 Lincoln wheat penny. We’ll explore the history of mint marks, where they are placed on different styles of pennies, and what the different mint marks stand for.
We’ll also provide images, diagrams, and tips to make finding and identifying the mint mark on your 1966 cent quick and easy.
What Is a Mint Mark and Why Do Some Coins Have Them?
Definition and Purpose of a Mint Mark
A mint mark is a small letter or symbol on a coin that identifies at which U.S. mint facility the coin was manufactured.
The mint mark serves an important purpose in the identification and authentication of coins, especially for rare and collectible issues.
Without a mint mark, there would be much ambiguity surrounding the origin of coins.
When Mint Marks First Appeared on U.S. Coinage
According to the U.S. Mint, mint marks first appeared on circulating U.S. coinage in 1838 on coins struck at the New Orleans mint. Up until that time, there was little need for mint marks since coin production was centralized at the Philadelphia mint.
As the country and its economy expanded westward, new branch mints opened to meet coinage demands. Branch mints included San Francisco (1854), Carson City (1870-1893), Denver (1906) and Manila in the Philippines (1920-1922).
Mint marks helped distinguish their coinage from those struck in Philadelphia.
Why Some Coins Have Mint Marks While Others Do Not
Whether or not a coin displays a mint mark depends primarily on when and where it was made:
- Coins made in Philadelphia before 1980 do not show a mint mark (with a few special exceptions). As the main U.S. mint, it was assumed coins originated there if no mint mark was present.
- Coins struck at branch mints have always displayed a mint mark to distinguish their origin.
- Since 1980, all U.S. coins display a mint mark indicating their facility of manufacture.
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Mint Mark Locations and Styles Over the History of the Lincoln Cent
Wheat Reverse Lincoln Cents (1909-1958)
The Lincoln wheat cent was produced by the U.S. Mint from 1909-1958. During those years, mint marks were placed in different locations depending on the mint that struck the coin:
- Philadelphia (no mint mark) – The mint mark was omitted from coins struck at the Philadelphia mint.
- Denver (D mint mark) – The D mint mark was placed on the reverse, below the wheat stalks above the center dot.
- San Francisco (S mint mark) – The S mint mark was placed on the reverse, to the left of the wheat stalks above the center dot.
The position of the mint marks allowed collectors to easily identify the mint that produced their Lincoln cents. This was useful information for numismatists assembling sets of coins.
Memorial Reverse Lincoln Cents (1959-2008)
When the design of the Lincoln cent was changed in 1959 to feature the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse, the mint mark location also changed. For memorial design cents, the mint mark was moved to the obverse, under the date:
- Philadelphia (no mint mark) – No mint mark as usual for Philadelphia issues.
- Denver (D mint mark) – A small D mint mark appears under the date.
- San Francisco (S mint mark) – A small S mint mark appears under the date.
This allowed the initials of designer Frank Gasparro to be added to the reverse of all coins. Moving it to the obverse also made the mint marks more obvious for collectors searching rolls and bags of coins.
Union Shield Reverse Lincolns (2010-present)
The current Union Shield reverse design for Lincoln cents was introduced in 2010 for the coins’ 100th anniversary. For this design, the mint mark has been moved back to the reverse:
- Philadelphia (no mint mark) – No mint mark as always for the main Philadelphia mint.
- Denver (D mint mark) – A small D mint mark appears on the reverse, to the right of the E in ONE.
- San Francisco (S mint mark) – A small S mint mark appears in the same location, to the right of ONE.
This allows the obverse to only display Abraham Lincoln’s portrait and the date. Collectors must now once again flip their Lincoln cents over to check for mint marks.
Locating the Mint Mark on a 1966 Lincoln Wheat Penny
Visual Guide and Images
Lincoln wheat pennies from 1966 do not bear any mint mark since these coins were minted only in Philadelphia facility.
Tips for Accurately Identifying the Mint Mark
Since the mint mark letter is very small, it can be difficult to read, especially if the coin’s surface is worn or dirty. Here are some tips to help you accurately identify the mint mark:
- Use a jeweler’s loupe, magnifying glass, or microscope to examine the area underneath the year in detail. Zooming in with a camera can also help.
- Carefully clean the coin first with distilled water and a soft cloth if needed – don’t use harsh chemicals.
- Tilt the coin at an angle under good lighting to allow the mint mark to become more visible.
- Compare to images of verified specimens like the examples pictured above.
- If no mint mark letter is present despite your best efforts, then the coin was likely struck at the main Philadelphia mint.
Taking your time with good lighting, tools, and comparisons will enable you to confidently determine the correct mint for any Lincoln cent.
Impact of Condition on 1966 Penny Value
Condition has a huge influence on 1966 Lincoln cent value. While average examples may trade for a just a few dollars, coins graded Mint State (no wear) or Proof (special strike) can be extremely valuable.
As you can see, a Proof 70 grades 1966 penny trades for many times more than an MS64RD example. This vast difference highlights the premium quality specimens command.
Frequently Asked Questions About 1966 Pennies
The 1966 penny holds intrigue for coin collectors and history buffs alike. With no mint marks and special editions released in 1966, these Lincoln cents have their own unique story. Here we answer some of the most common questions about 1966 pennies.
Where is the mint mark on a 1966 penny?
Unlike some other years, 1966 pennies do not have a mint mark. The United States Mint made all 1966 Lincoln cents at the main Philadelphia mint. With no mint marks from Denver or San Francisco in 1966, there is no specific place to look for one.
What is special about a 1966 penny?
While there were no rare editions or errors in 1966, these pennies hold historical value. They represent a transitional period between the older wheat penny design phased out in 1958 and the modern Lincoln memorial penny first issued in 1959.
Many coin collectors find 1966 pennies interesting as the last year before the coin’s metal content changed from 95% copper to a copper-zinc mix.
What is a 1966 penny made of?
Lincoln cents minted in 1966 consist of 95% copper and 5% zinc. This gives them a distinctive reddish-orange hue compared to newer copper-plated zinc pennies. Pennies minted prior-1982 hold a substantial copper content, making these pennies more valuable to collectors.
How much is a 1966 penny worth?
A common 1966 penny in average circulated condition is worth about 2-3 cents if melted down for its copper content. Most examples trade for 5 to 10 cents. Particularly nice uncirculated versions may sell for $1-2. While not rare, demand is steady for these last high-copper cents.
And their silver-like shine when untarnished makes 1966 pennies popular among casual collectors.
Were any rare 1966 pennies made?
There were no special coin editions or significant errors found in 1966 Lincoln cents, most surviving examples are common. However, a small number of 1966 transitional coins struck on 1965 dated planchets are highly sought after.
These off-metal and wrong planchet errors trade for upwards of $300-500 among serious collectors.
How can I tell if my 1966 penny is valuable?
The value depends mainly on condition. Heavily worn examples are common and worth just the copper melt value. Light wear adds numismatic value. Uncirculated versions with original luster bring nice premiums, especially with no dark spots or discoloration.
Off-metal and wrong planchet errors are by far the most valuable 1966 pennies.
Where Is The Mint Mark On A 1966 Penny – Conclusion
We hope this guide has helped answer where to find the mint mark on your 1966 Lincoln cent. Understanding mint marks is key for collectors to identifying scarcer varieties and assigning accurate values.
Finding the mint mark location on a 1966 penny is a mission impossible since these coins do not bear mint mark!
With this knowledge in hand, you can now confidently examine any 1966 penny to determine which U.S. Mint facility struck it over 55 years ago. Happy treasure hunting!