US Coins

Cents are bearing P Mint mark for the first time ever

Lincoln cents struck at the Philadelphia Mint in 2017 for general circulation and inclusion in 2017 Uncirculated Mint sets will for the first time bear a P Mint mark.

Adding the P Mint mark is among the U.S. Mint’s initiatives in recognition and celebration of its 225th anniversary, Tom Jurkowsky, director of the U.S. Mint’s Office of Corporate Communication, confirmed to Coin World Jan. 13.

The 2017-P cent, with the Mint mark found on the obverse below the date, is a one-year type, manufactured in both circulation quality and Uncirculated finish versions. Collectors can obtain the circulation strikes from their local banks at face value.

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Jurkowsky said cents struck at the Philadelphia Mint will revert in 2018 to bearing no Mint mark. 

Collector Terry Granstaff received a 2017-P Lincoln cent in change Jan. 13 at a gas station in Black Mountain, N.C., and posted images online over the Professional Coin Grading Service U.S. Coin Forum message board. A number of message board participants questioned the coin's authenticity until Coin World could verify with U.S. Mint officials the 2017-P cent production.

Cent coins struck in Philadelphia, from the establishment of the first production facility at which cents were struck (which were dated 1793), have never before exhibited a Mint mark. Mint marks were added to identify coins struck at Mint facilities subsequently constructed across the country to meet the population’s coinage needs.

A P Mint mark first appeared on a U.S. coin in 1942 with the Jefferson Wartime silver 5-cent coins.

Jurkowsky said U.S. Mint officials purposely did not publicly disclose adding the Mint mark, to see how long it would take before the Mint would be contacted about its appearance. 2017-P Lincoln cents for general circulation were shipped to Federal Reserve Banks early in January.

Jurkowsky said the U.S. Mint has discretion to add a Mint mark or modify a design, based on the Treasury secretary’s legal authority to pick designs and inscriptions on coins.

Jurkowsky said the idea to add the Mint mark to the Philadelphia Mint strikes was recommended by facility employees to help recognize the achievements and pride of the Philadelphia Mint’s work force.

“This gesture, the adding of one little letter, goes a long way,” Jurkowsky said.

The P Mint mark is added to the master die so that all working hubs and working dies will bear the Mint mark in the same position, in the field below the date.

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