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Mints and Mint Marks for Morgan and Peace Dollars

Both Morgan and Peace dollars minted at branch mints have small mint marks on the reverse.  This article gives a short history of each mint and shows how to locate the mint marks on both coins.  Both dollars were minted at several branch mints in addition to the main mint in Philadelphia.  The locations of the mints helped spread new coinage to distant settlements.  Two of these mints, Denver and San Francisco, are still in use today (San Francisco now only mints proof coins, though).  The other two mints, Carson City and New Orleans, produced the Morgan design, but had already been decommissioned by the time Peace dollars were produced.  More information on each mint is given below.  Mint marks appear on the lower reverse of both coin designs. 

The New Orleans mint in 1907.  (Public Domain).   
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New Orleans - (Mint Mark: O) Initially built during the administration of Andrew Jackson, the New Orleans mint was intended to weaken the influence the Bank of the United States by supplying coinage directly to regional banks in the developing territories.  It produced coinage for the United States up until the Civil War, when it was repossessed by Confederate forces and put into service for the Confederate States of America.  It fell into disuse after the Civil War, but was recommissioned in 1879, after passage of the Bland-Allison Act mandated large-scale coinage of the silver dollar.  It struck primarily dollar coins, most of which were never circulated.  The mint stopped production in 1909 and was officially decommissioned shortly afterwards.  The New Orleans mint building is currently a museum.   

Carson City - (Mint Mark: CC)  The Carson City mint, in Carson City, Nevada, produced gold and silver coins from 1870 to 1893 dollar coins from silver mined in the area.  The mint was intended to convert the vast supply of bullion in the area into coinage, however, it faced stiff competition from the more established San Francisco mint.  The number of dollars struck was low compared to some of the bigger mints, but much greater than any other coin series.  The federal government kept many Carson City dollars in storage until it sold them to collectors in the 1970's.  Because of this storage period, many uncirculated examples exist for certain dates.  

The San Francisco Mint building used from 1874 to 1937 (US Mint Photo) .   
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Denver - (Mint Mark: D) Although opened as an assay office in 1863, the mint did not produce silver coins until 1906.  Production of silver dollar coins had stopped in 1904, however, so no Morgan dollars were struck at Denver until the Morgan series resumed briefly for 1921.  The Denver mint began producing the Peace silver dollar coin in 1922 and did so sporadically until 1935. 

San Francisco - (Mint Mark: S) The San Francisco mint commenced operation in 1856 in response to the California Gold Rush.  It produced uninterrupted coinage during each year of the Morgan series (1878-1904 and 1921) and Peace series (1921-1928, 1934-1935), except for the 1921 Peace dollar.

Locating Mint Marks

The mint marks on both coins are located on the reverse near the bottom of the coin.  On Morgan dollars, the mint mark is found underneath the wreath surrounding the eagle.  Mint marks on Peace dollars appear on the lower left of the coin, just left of the eagle's tail feathers.  Coins minted in Philadelphia have no mint mark.  The pictures below show where to find mint marks on both silver dollars.

The mint mark on Morgan dollars is located on the reverse side, beneath the wreath surrounding the eagle. It is just above the D and O of the word Dollar. On this coin the mint mark is an "O" for the New Orleans mint.  
Morgan Dollar Reverse
This close-up view shows the "O" mint mark more clearly.'
Morgan Dollar Mint Mark up close

The mint mark on Peace dollars is located on the lower left of the reverse.  It is left from the eagle's bottom tail feathers and the leftmost ray of sunlight. It is underneath the O and N of the word ONE.  On this coin the mint mark is a tiny "S" for the San Francisco mint.
Peace Dollar Reverse
This blown-up image shows the "S" mint mark in greater detail. 
Peace Dollar Mint Mark up close

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