Coins of the United States dollar – aside from those of the earlier Continental currency – were first minted in 1792. New coins have been produced annually and they comprise a significant aspect of the United States currency system. Circulating coins exist in denominations of 1¢ (i.e. 1 cent or $0.01), 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, and $1.00. Also minted are bullion, including gold, silver and platinum, and commemorative coins. All of these are produced by the United States Mint. The coins are then sold to Federal Reserve Banks which in turn put coins into circulation and withdraw them as demanded by the United States economy.

Current coinage

Four mints currently operate in the United States producing billions of coins each year. The main mint is the Philadelphia Mint,[1] which produces circulating coinage, mint sets and some commemorative coins. The Denver Mint[2] also produces circulating coinage, mint sets and commemoratives. The San Francisco Mint[3] produces regular and silver proof coinage, and produced circulating coinage until the 1970s. The West Point Mint[4] produces bullion coinage (including proofs). Philadelphia and Denver produce the dies used at all of the mints. The proof and mint sets are manufactured each year and contain examples of all of the year's circulating coins.

The producing mint of each coin may be easily identified, as most coins bear a mint mark. The identifying letter of the mint can be found on the front side of most coins, and is often placed near the year. Unmarked coins are issued by the Philadelphia mint. Among marked coins, Philadelphia coins bear a letter P. Denver coins bear a letter D, San Francisco coins bear a letter S, and West Point coins bear a letter W. S and W coins are rarely found in general circulation, although S coins bearing dates prior to the mid-1970s are in circulation. The CC, O, C, and D mint marks were used on gold and silver coins for various periods from the mid-19th century until the early 20th century by temporary mints in Carson City, Nevada; New Orleans, Louisiana; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Dahlonega, Georgia. Most such coins that still exist are now in the hands of collectors and museums.

Coins in circulation

Value Image Specifications[5][6] Description Minted Usage Common name
Obverse Reverse Diameter Thickness Mass Composition Edge Obverse Reverse
19.05 mm (0.750 in) 1.52 mm (0.060 in) 1909–1942
3.11 g (48.0 gr)
copper 95%
tin/zinc 5%
plain Abraham Lincoln Wheat 1909–1958 wide2 wheat cent, wheat penny, wheatie
1943: ? steel/zinc1 rare2
1944–1946: ? salvaged brass composition1 wide2
3.11 g (48.0 gr)
copper 95%
tin/zinc 5%
Lincoln Memorial 1959–2008 wide cent, penny
2.50 g (38 gr)
zinc 97.5%
copper 2.5%1
see article: Lincoln Bicentennial cents (2009) Lincoln bicentennial designs 2009
Union shield 2010–present
21.21 mm (0.835 in) 1.95 mm (0.077 in) 5.000 g (77.16 gr) copper 75%
nickel 25%3
plain Thomas Jefferson (profile) Monticello 1938–2003 wide nickel
see article: Westward Journey nickel Lewis & Clark bicentennial designs 2004–2005
Thomas Jefferson (portrait) Monticello 2006–present
10¢ 17.91 mm (0.705 in) 1.35 mm (0.053 in) 2.268 g (35.00 gr) Core:
copper 100%
copper 75%
nickel 25%
copper 91.67%
nickel 8.33%4
118 reeds Franklin D. Roosevelt torch, oak branch, olive branch 1946–present wide dime
25¢ 24.26 mm (0.955 in) 1.75 mm (0.069 in) 5.670 g (87.50 gr) 119 reeds George Washington Bald eagle 1932–1974, 1977–19985 wide quarter, quarter dollar
Bicentennial colonial military drummer (1975) 19765
Washington crossing the Delaware 2021
see article: 50 State quarters State Quarter Series 1999–2008
see article: D.C. and U.S. Territories quarters D.C. and U. S. Territories Quarters 2009
see article: America the Beautiful quarters America the Beautiful Quarters 2010–2021
see article: American Women quarters American Women quarters 2022–2025
30.61 mm (1.205 in) 2.15 mm (0.085 in) 11.34 g (175.0 gr) 150 reeds John F. Kennedy Seal of the president of the United States surrounded by 50 stars 1964–1974, 1977–present5 limited6 half, half dollar, 50-cent piece
Independence Hall (1975) 19765
38.1 mm (1.500 in) 2.58 mm (0.102 in) 22.68 g
(0.8 oz)
(350 gr)
reeded Dwight D. Eisenhower Apollo 11 mission insignia 1971–1974, 1977–1978 limited large dollar, Ike dollar, silver dollar
Liberty Bell superimposed over the Moon 1975–1976
26.50 mm (1.043 in) 2.00 mm (0.079 in) 8.10 g
(125 gr)
reeded Susan B. Anthony Apollo 11 mission insignia 1979–1981, 19998 limited SBA, Suzie B., Anthony, silver dollar
26.49 mm (1.043 in) 2.00 mm (0.079 in) 8.10 g
(125 gr)
 100% Cu
Cladding:  77% Cu,
 12% Zn,
  7% Mn,
  4% Ni
Overall:  88.5% Cu,
     6% Zn,
  3.5% Mn,
    2% Ni
plain Sacagawea Bald eagle in flight 2000–2008 limited7 dollar coin, gold(en) dollar, Sacagawea
see article: Native American redesign (2009–present) incused inscriptions Native American Themes 2009–present (after 2012 not for circulation)[7]
see article: Presidential dollar coins7 Each deceased president Statue of Liberty 2007–2016, 2020 (after 2012 not for circulation) dollar coin, gold(en) dollar
see article: American Innovation dollars9 Statue of Liberty10 Various designs, honoring an innovation or innovator from each state 2018–2032 (not currently circulated)
These images are to scale at 2.5 pixels per millimetre. For table standards, see the coin specification table.


  1. The mass and composition of the cent changed to the current copper-plated zinc core in 1982. Both types were minted in 1982 with no distinguishing mark. Cents minted in 1943 were struck on planchets punched from zinc-coated steel which left the resulting edges uncoated. This caused many of these coins to rust. These "steel pennies" are not likely to be found in circulation today, as they were later intentionally removed from circulation for recycling the metal and by collectors. However, cents minted from 1944 to 1946 were made from a special salvaged WWII brass composition to replace the steel cents, but still save material for the war effort, and are more common in circulation than their 1943 counterparts.
  2. The wheat cent was mainstream and common during its time. Some dates are rare, but many can still be found in circulation. This is partially due to the fact that unlike the formerly silver denominations (dollar, half dollar, quarter, and dime), the composition of the pre-1982 cent, nearly pure copper, is not so much more valuable over face value for it to be hoarded to the extreme extent of the silver denominations.
  3. Nickels produced from mid-1942 through 1945 were manufactured from 56% copper, 35% silver and 9% manganese. This allowed the saved nickel metal to be shifted to industrial production of military supplies during World War II. Few of these are still found in circulation.
  4. Prior to 1965 and passage of the Coinage Act of 1965 the composition of the dime, quarter, half-dollar and dollar coins was 90% silver and 10% copper. The half-dollar continued to be minted in a 40% silver-clad composition between 1965 and 1970. Dimes and quarters from before 1965 and half-dollars from before 1971 are generally not in circulation due to being removed for their silver content. Some modern commemorative coins have been minted in the silver dollar denominations.
  5. In 1975 and 1976 U.S. Bicentennial coinage was minted. Regardless of date of coining, each coin bears the dual date "1776-1976". The Quarter-Dollar, Half-Dollar and Dollar coins were issued in the copper 91.67% nickel 8.33% composition for general circulation and the Government issued six-coin Proof Set. A special three-coin set of 40% silver coins were also issued by the U.S. Mint in both Uncirculated and Proof.
  6. Use of the half-dollar is not as widespread as that of other coins in general circulation; most Americans use dollar coins, quarters, dimes, nickels and cents only, as these are the only coins most often found in general circulation. When found, many 50¢ coins are quickly hoarded, spent, or brought to banks. As large numbers of half dollars are typically held by banks or available to order, they are often sought after by coin roll hunters for the purpose of searching for silver coins, proofs, and coins not intended for circulation.
  7. The Presidential Dollar series features portraits of all deceased U.S. Presidents with four coin designs issued each year in the order of the president's inauguration date. These coins began circulating on February 15, 2007. Starting 2012, these coins have been minted only for collectible sets because of a large stockpile.
  8. The Susan B. Anthony dollar coin was minted from 1979 to 1981 and 1999. The 1999 minting was in response to Treasury supplies of the dollar becoming depleted and the inability to accelerate the minting of the Sacagawea dollars by a year. 1981 Anthony dollars can sometimes be found in circulation from proof sets that were broken open, but these dollars were not minted with the intent that they circulate.
  9. Although dollar coins have not been struck for circulation since the Sacagawea and Presidential dollar runs ending in 2011, the continuing Native American dollar series and the newer American Innovation dollar series are considered circulation coins by the US Mint.[8]
  10. Since 2019, each American Innovation dollar coin features a different privy mark, changed annually, located just below "IN GOD WE TRUST".

Bullion coins

Non-circulating bullion coins have been produced each year since 1986. They can be found in gold, silver, platinum (since 1997), and palladium (since 2017). The face value of these coins is legal as tender, but does not actually reflect the value of the precious metal contained therein. On May 11, 2011, Utah became the first state to accept these coins as the value of the precious metal in common transactions. The Utah State Treasurer assigns a numerical precious metal value to these coins each week based on the spot metal prices. The bullion coin types include "S" (San Francisco, 1986–1992), "P" (Philadelphia, 1993 – 2000), and "W" (West Point, New York, 2001–present).[9]

Metal Type Face Value Images Specifications
Obverse Reverse Diameter Fineness Content Dates
Silver America the Beautiful silver bullion coins 25¢ see article: America the Beautiful quarters 76.2 mm 999 fine 5.00 ozt (155.52 g) 2010–2021
American Silver Eagle $1 40.6 mm 1.00 ozt (31.10 g) 1986–2021
2021 – present
Gold American Gold Eagle $5 16.5 mm 916 fine (22 karat) 0.10 ozt (3.11 g) 1986–2021
2021 – present
$10 22.0 mm 0.25 ozt (7.78 g) 1986–2021
2021 – present
$25 27.0 mm 0.50 ozt (15.55 g) 1986–2021
2021 – present
$50 32.7 mm 1.00 ozt (31.10 g) 1986–2021
2021 – present
American Buffalo $5 16.5 mm 999.9 fine (24 karat) 0.10 ozt (3.11 g) 2008
$10 22.0 mm 0.25 ozt (7.78 g) 2008
$25 27.0 mm 0.50 ozt (15.55 g) 2008
$50 32.7 mm 1.00 ozt (31.10 g) 2006 – present
American Liberty high relief gold coin $100 see article: American Liberty high relief gold coin 30.61 mm 1.00 ozt (31.10 g) 2015 – present
Platinum American Platinum Eagle $10 16.5 mm 999.5 fine 0.10 ozt (3.11 g) 1997–2008
$25 22.0 mm 0.25 ozt (7.78 g) 1997–2008
$50 27.0 mm 0.50 ozt (15.55 g) 1997–2008
$100 32.7 mm 1.00 ozt (31.10 g) 1997 – present
Palladium American Palladium Eagle $25 32.7 mm 999.5 fine 1.00 ozt (31.10 g) 2017 – present
These images are to scale at 2.5 pixels per millimetre. For table standards, see the coin specification table.

Commemorative coins

Modern commemoratives have been minted since 1982. A list is available here.

Composition of US Modern Commemorative Coins
Type Total Weight Diameter Composition Face Value Precious Metal Content
Half Dollar 11.34 g 30.61 mm (1.205 in) Cu 92%, Ni 8% 50¢ none
12.50 g Ag 90%, Cu 10% silver 10.25374 g (~0.36169 ozt)
Dollar 26.73 g 38.1 mm (1.500 in) Ag 90%, Cu 10% $1 silver 24.057 g (~0.773 ozt)
Ag 99.9% silver
Half Eagle 8.539 g 21.59 mm (0.850 in) Au 90%, Ag 6%, Cu 4% $5 gold 7.523 g (~0.2418 ozt)
Eagle 16.718 g 26.92 mm (1.060 in) Au 90%, Ag 6%, Cu 4% $10 gold 15.05 g (~0.484 ozt)
Bi-metallic Eagle 16.259 g 26.92 mm (1.060 in) Au 48%, Pt 48%, alloy 4% gold, platinum
First Spouse Gold Bullion 14.175 g 26.49 mm (1.043 in) Au 99.99% gold 14.175 g (~0.456 ozt)

Mint marks

List of current and past United States Mint branches and mint marks found on their coins:

Mint Mint mark Metal minted Year established Current status
Denver D All metals 1906 Facility open
Philadelphia P or none[a] All metals 1792 Facility open
San Francisco S All metals 1854 Facility open (mainly produces proof)
West Point W or none[b] Gold, Silver, Platinum and Palladium 1973 Facility open (mainly produces bullion)
Carson City CC Gold and Silver 1870 Facility closed, 1893[c]
Charlotte C Gold only 1838 Facility closed, 1861
Dahlonega D[d] Gold only 1838 Facility closed, 1861
Manila[e] M or none[f] All metals 1920 Facility closed, 1922; re-opened 1925–1941
New Orleans O Gold and Silver 1838 Facility closed, 1861; re-opened 1879–1909[g]

Obsolete and canceled coins

Main articles: Obsolete denominations of United States currency and Canceled denominations of United States currency

See also: United States Mint coin sizes

The law governing obsolete, mutilated, and worn coins and currency, including types which are no longer in production (e.g. Indian cents), can be found in 31 U.S.C. § 5120.

Note: It is a common misconception that "eagle"-based nomenclature for gold U.S. coinage was merely slang. The "eagle," "half-eagle" and "quarter-eagle" were specifically given these names in the Coinage Act of 1792. Likewise, the double eagle was specifically created as such by name ("An Act to authorize the Coinage of Gold Dollars and Double Eagles", title and section 1, March 3, 1849).

Mill coins

Although the term mill (also mil or mille) was defined in the eighteenth century as 11,000 of a dollar or 0.1¢, no coin smaller than 0.5¢ has ever been officially minted in the U.S. However, unofficial mill coins, also called "tenth cent" or "tax-help coins", made of diverse materials—plastic, wood, tin, and others—were produced as late as the 1960s by some states, localities, and private businesses for tax payments and to render change for small purchases.

Legal protections

The alteration or lightening of U.S. coins for fraudulent purposes is illegal.[10] It is generally legal to melt down coins for the use of their constitent metals, but the Treasury Department has occasionally prohibited melting down and mass exportation when the value of the metal exceeds the face value of the coin. This has happened from 1967 to 1969 for silver coins, from 1974 to 1978 for pennies, and since 2006 for pennies and nickels.[11] The use of elongated coin presses is considered legal because it is not for fraudulent purposes.

See also


  1. ^ The letter "P" is used for the Philadelphia mint mark on all coins (except cents) released from 1980 onward. Before this it had only been used on silver Jefferson nickels from 1942 to 1945.
  2. ^ Between 1973 and 1986 there was no mint mark (these coins are indistinguishable from coins produced at the Philadelphia Mint from 1973 to 1980); after 1988 the letter "W" was used for coinage, except for the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle.
  3. ^ It is now the home of the Nevada State Museum, which still strikes commemorative medallions with the "CC" mint mark (most recently in 2014 commemorating the Nevada Sesquicentennial), using the former mint's original coin press.
  4. ^ Although the mint mark "D" has been used by two separate mints, it is easy to distinguish between the two, as any 19th-century coinage is Dahlonega, and any 20th- or 21st-century coins are Denver.
  5. ^ During the period in which this mint branch was operational, The Philippines was an insular territory and then commonwealth of the U.S.; it was the first (and to date only) U.S. branch mint located outside the Continental United States.
  6. ^ The letter "M" was used for the Manila mint mark on all coins released from 1925 onward; before this, it had produced its coins with no mintmark.
  7. ^ During the Civil War, this mint operated under the control of the State of Louisiana (February 1861) and the Confederate States of America (March 1861) until it ran out of bullion later in that year; some Half Dollars have been identified as being the issue of the State of Louisiana and the Confederacy.


  1. ^ "United States Philadelphia Mint Facility". United States Mint. Archived from the original on 2023-06-27. Retrieved 2011-05-25.
  2. ^ "Denver Mint Facility". United States Mint. Archived from the original on 2023-01-08. Retrieved 2011-05-25.
  3. ^ "United States Mint at San Francisco". United States Mint. Archived from the original on 2023-01-08. Retrieved 2011-05-25.
  4. ^ "West Point Mint Facility". United States Mint. Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2011-05-25.
  5. ^ 31 U.S.C. § 5112
  6. ^ "Coin Specifications". United States Mint. Archived from the original on 2015-02-18. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
  7. ^ "Native American $1 Coin". Archived from the original on 2016-04-15. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  8. ^ Hain-Kararakis, Phaedon (9 November 2016). "Circulating Coins | News Image Library | U.S. Mint". United States Mint. Archived from the original on 2019-07-10. Retrieved 2019-07-27.
  9. ^ "American Silver Coin". 21 March 2018. Archived from the original on 3 July 2019. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  10. ^ 18 U.S.C. § 331
  11. ^ "United States Mint Moves to Limit Exportation & Melting of Coins". Archived from the original on 2018-07-08. Retrieved 2023-02-05.