Readers Ask column from Aug. 29, 2016, issue of Coin World:
This coin has a stamp mark on it — looks like SD or possibly an O, inside a semi-regular area. Any ideas or info as to the possible origin of this mark?
Bruce English / Via Email
The 2000-D Lincoln cent the reader found is likely a genuine Lincoln cent struck at the Denver Mint.
The design that appears in the field to the right of Abraham Lincoln’s portrait, on the other hand, was not imprinted on the coin at the time of production. It is a counterstamp and was applied privately outside the Mint production facility. The counterstamp is incuse.
SD is the postal code abbreviating South Dakota. The “semi-regular” outline is of the Western state, but it’s oriented counterclockwise in the coin’s field to fit in the space.
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The counterstamped cent, while considered a novelty by some, is actually an altered U.S. Mint product. To most coin collectors, the counterstamp adds no value above the coin’s face value.
Novelty companies have issued complete sets of Lincoln cents, counterstamped with the outlines of each of the 50 states, with the postal abbreviations appearing within.
I’ve seen other novelty designs counterstamped into the obverse field of Lincoln cents and offered for sale above face value.