Coins of the United States dollar

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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 make up a valuable aspect of the United States currency system. Today, 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 are responsible for putting coins into circulation and withdrawing them as demanded by the country's economy.


Current coinage

Today, four mints 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, if ever, 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

ValueImageSpecifications [5] [6] DescriptionMintedUsageCommon Reference
US One Cent Obv.png Wheatback2014.jpg 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 1909–1958wide 2 wheat cent, wheat penny, wheatie
1943: ? steel/zinc 1 rare 2
1944–1946: ?salvaged brass composition 1 wide 2
3.11 g (48.0 gr)
copper 95%
tin/zinc 5%
wide 2
2005 Penny Rev Unc D.png Lincoln Memorial 1959–2008widecent, penny
2.50 g (38 gr)
zinc 97.5%
copper 2.5% 1
see article: 2009 redesign Lincoln bicentennial designs 2009
US One Cent Rev.png Union shield 2010–present
Jefferson-Nickel-Unc-Obv.jpg US Nickel Reverse.jpg 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 1938–2003widenickel
NickelObverses.jpg see article: Westward Journey nickel Lewis & Clark bicentennial designs 2004–2005
US Nickel 2013 Obv.png US Nickel 2013 Rev.png Thomas Jefferson (portrait) Monticello 2006–present
10¢ Dime Obverse 13.png Dime Reverse 13.png 17.91 mm (0.705 in)1.35 mm (0.053 in)2.268 g (35.00 gr) copper  91.67%
nickel 8.33% 4
118 reeds Franklin D. Roosevelt torch, oak branch, olive branch 1946–presentwidedime
25¢ 98 quarter obverse.png 98 quarter reverse.png 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, 1977–1998 5 widequarter, quarter dollar
1976 Bicentennial Quarter Rev.png Bicentennial colonial military drummer(1975) 1976 5
2006 Quarter Proof.png 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
2014 ATB Quarter Obv.png see article: America the Beautiful quarters America the Beautiful Quarters 2010–2021
US Half Dollar Obverse 2015.png US 50 Cent Rev.png 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 stars1964–1974, 1977–present 5 limited 6 half, half dollar, 50-cent piece
Bicentennial 50c.png Independence Hall (1975) 1976 5
1978 dollar obv.jpg 1978 dollar rev.jpg 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 insignia1971–1974, 1977-1978limited 6 large dollar, Ike dollar
1976D Type2 Eisenhower Reverse.jpg Liberty Bell superimposed over the Moon 1975-1976
1999 SBA Obv P.png 1999 SBA Rev P.png 26.50 mm (1.043 in)2.00 mm (0.079 in)8.10 g
(125 gr)
reeded Susan B. Anthony Apollo 11 mission insignia1979–1981, 1999 8 limited 6 SBA, Suzie B.
Sacagawea dollar obverse.png 2003 Sacagawea Rev.png 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 flight2000–2008limited 7 dollar coin, gold(en) dollar, Sacagawea
see article: Native American $1 Coin Act incused inscriptionsNative American Themes2009–present [7]
see article: Presidential dollar coins 7 LineartPresRev.png Each deceased president Statue of Liberty 2007–2016, 2020 (after 2012 not for circulation)dollar coin, gold(en) dollar
2018-american-innovation-one-dollar-proof-coin-obverse.jpg see article: American Innovation dollars 9 Statue of Liberty Various designs, honoring an innovation or innovator from each state2018–2032 (not currently circulated)
These images are to scale at 2.5 pixels per millimetre. For table standards, see the coin specification table.


US One Cent Obv.png
US Nickel 2013 Obv.png
Dime Obverse 13.png
2014 ATB Quarter Obv.png
US Half Dollar Obverse 2015.png
Sacagawea dollar obverse.png
  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.
  5. In 1975 and 1976 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 2011, the American Innovation dollar is considered a circulation coin by the US Mint. [8]

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]

MetalTypeFace ValueImagesSpecifications
Silver America the Beautiful silver bullion coins 25¢ ATB silver bullion quarter obverse.jpg see article: America the Beautiful quarters 76.2 mm999 fine5.00 ozt (155.52 g)2010 – 2021
American Silver Eagle $1 Liberty $1 Obverse.png Liberty $1 Reverse.png 40.6 mm1.00 ozt (31.10 g)1986 – present
Gold American Gold Eagle $5 Liberty $50 Obverse.png American Gold Eagle $5 tenth ounce proof reverse.jpg 16.5 mm916 fine (22 karat)0.10 ozt (3.11 g)1986 – present
$10 Liberty $50 Obverse.png American Gold Eagle $10 quarter ounce proof reverse.jpg 22.0 mm0.25 ozt (7.78 g)1986 – present
$25 Liberty $50 Obverse.png American Gold Eagle $25 half ounce proof reverse.jpg 27.0 mm0.50 ozt (15.55 g)1986 – present
$50 Liberty $50 Obverse.png Liberty $50 Reverse.png 32.7 mm1.00 ozt (31.10 g)1986 – present
American Buffalo $5 2008 American Buffalo $5 tenth ounce proof coin (obverse).jpg 2008 American Buffalo $5 tenth ounce proof coin (reverse).jpg 16.5 mm999.9 fine (24 karat)0.10 ozt (3.11 g)2008
$10 2008 American Buffalo $10 quarter ounce proof coin (obverse).jpg 2008 American Buffalo $10 quarter ounce proof coin (reverse).jpg 22.0 mm0.25 ozt (7.78 g)2008
$25 2008 American Buffalo $25 half ounce proof coin (obverse).jpg 2008 American Buffalo $25 half ounce proof coin (reverse).jpg 27.0 mm0.50 ozt (15.55 g)2008
$50 Buffalo $50 Obverse.png Buffalo $50 Reverse.png 32.7 mm1.00 ozt (31.10 g)2006 – present
American Liberty high relief gold coin $100 see article: American Liberty high relief gold coin 30.61 mm1.00 ozt (31.10 g)2015 – present
Platinum American Platinum Eagle $10 1998 Tenth Ounce American Platinum Eagle (obverse).jpg 1998 Tenth Ounce American Platinum Eagle (reverse).jpg 16.5 mm999.5 fine0.10 ozt (3.11 g)1997 – 2008
$25 American Platinum Eagle 2007 Obv.jpg American Platinum Eagle $25 quarter ounce reverse.jpg 22.0 mm0.25 ozt (7.78 g)1997 – 2008
$50 American Platinum Eagle 2007 Obv.jpg American Platinum Eagle $50 half ounce reverse.jpg 27.0 mm0.50 ozt (15.55 g)1997 – 2008
$100 American Platinum Eagle 2007 Obv.jpg American Platinum Eagle 2007 Rev.jpg 32.7 mm1.00 ozt (31.10 g)1997 – present
Palladium American Palladium Eagle $25 2017 $25 Palladium obverse.jpg 2017 $25 Palladium reverse.jpg 32.7 mm999.5 fine1.00 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
TypeTotal WeightDiameterCompositionFace ValuePrecious Metal Content
Half Dollar11.34 g30.61 mm (1.205 in) Cu 92%, Ni 8%50¢none
12.50 g Ag 90%, Cu 10%silver 10.25374 g (~0.36169 ozt)
Dollar26.73 g38.1 mm (1.500 in)Ag 90%, Cu 10%$1silver 24.057 g (~0.773 ozt)
Ag 99.9%silver
Half Eagle8.539 g21.59 mm (0.850 in) Au 90%, Ag 6%, Cu 4%$5gold 7.523 g (~0.2418 ozt)
Eagle16.718 g26.92 mm (1.060 in)Au 90%, Ag 6%, Cu 4%$10gold 15.05 g (~0.484 ozt)
Bi-metallic Eagle16.259 g26.92 mm (1.060 in)Au 48%, Pt 48%, alloy 4%gold, platinum
First Spouse Gold Bullion 14.175 g26.49 mm (1.043 in)Au 99.99%gold 14.175 g (~0.456 ozt)

Obsolete and canceled coins

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).

Some modern commemorative coins have been minted in the silver dollar, half-eagle and eagle denominations.

See also US coin sizes, showing all major U.S. coin series and scaled images in a single chart.

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.

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.

See also

Related Research Articles

Quarter (United States coin) Current denomination of United States currency

The quarter, short for quarter dollar, is a United States coin worth 25 cents, one-quarter of a dollar. It has a diameter of .955 inch (24.26 mm) and a thickness of .069 inch (1.75 mm). The coin sports the profile of George Washington on its obverse, and its reverse design has changed frequently. It has been produced on and off since 1796 and consistently since 1831.

Coinage Act of 1873 Revision of the laws relating to the Mint of the United States

The Coinage Act of 1873 or Mint Act of 1873, 17 Stat. 424, was a general revision of the laws relating to the Mint of the United States. In abolishing the right of holders of silver bullion to have their metal struck into fully legal tender dollar coins, it ended bimetallism in the United States, placing the nation firmly on the gold standard. Because of this, the act became contentious in later years, and was denounced by some as the "Crime of '73".

Nickel (United States coin) Current denomination of United States currency

A nickel is a five-cent coin struck by the United States Mint. Composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel, the piece has been issued since 1866. Its diameter is .835 inches (21.21 mm) and its thickness is .077 inches (1.95 mm). Due to inflation, the purchasing power of the nickel continues to drop, and currently the coin represents less than 1% of the federal hourly minimum wage. In 2018, over 1.26 billion nickels were produced at the Philadelphia and Denver mints.

United States Mint Produces circulating coinage for the United States

The United States Mint is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury responsible for producing coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce, as well as controlling the movement of bullion. It does not produce paper money; that responsibility belongs to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The Mint was created in Philadelphia in 1792, and soon joined by other centers, whose coins were identified by their own mint marks. There are currently four active coin-producing mints: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and West Point.

Dime (United States coin) Current denomination of United States currency

The dime, in United States usage, is a ten-cent coin, one tenth of a United States dollar, labeled formally as "one dime". The denomination was first authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792. The dime is the smallest in diameter and is the thinnest of all U.S. coins currently minted for circulation, being 0.705 inches in diameter and 0.053 in (1.35 mm) in thickness. The obverse of the current dime depicts the profile of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the reverse boasts an olive branch, a torch, and an oak branch, from left to right respectively. As of 2011, the dime coin cost 5.65 cents to produce.

Dollar coin (United States) Current denomination of United States currency

The dollar coin is a United States coin with a face value of one United States dollar. It is the second largest U.S. coin currently minted for circulation in terms of physical size, with a diameter of 1.043 inches and a thickness of 0.079 in (2.0 mm), coming second to the half dollar. Dollar coins have been minted in the United States in gold, silver, and base metal versions. Dollar coins were first minted in the United States in 1794. While true gold dollars are no longer minted, the Sacagawea, Presidential, and American Innovation dollars are sometimes referred to as golden dollars because of their color.

Proof coinage

Proof coinage refers to special early samples of a coin issue, historically made for checking the dies and for archival purposes, but nowadays often struck in greater numbers specially for coin collectors (numismatists). Nearly all countries have issued proof coinage.

Eagle (United States coin)

The eagle was a United States $10 gold coin issued by the United States Mint from 1792 to 1933.

Coinage Act of 1792

The Coinage Act or the Mint Act, passed by the United States Congress on April 2, 1792, created the United States dollar as the country's standard unit of money, established the United States Mint, and regulated the coinage of the United States. The long title of the legislation is An act establishing a mint, and regulating the Coins of the United States. This act established the silver dollar as the unit of money in the United States, declared it to be lawful tender, and created a decimal system for U.S. currency.

Half dime

The half dime, or half disme, was a silver coin, valued at five cents, formerly minted in the United States.

Nickel (Canadian coin)

The Canadian five-cent coin, commonly called a nickel, is a coin worth five cents or one-twentieth of a Canadian dollar. It was patterned on the corresponding coin in the neighbouring United States. It became the smallest-valued coin in the currency upon the discontinuation of the penny in 2013. Due to inflation, the purchasing power of the nickel continues to drop and currently the coin represents less than 0.5% of the country's lowest minimum hourly wage.

West Point Mint Branch of the United States Mint

The West Point Mint Facility is a U.S. Mint production and depository facility erected in 1937 near the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, United States. Originally it was called the West Point Bullion Depository. At one point it had the highest concentration of silver of any U.S. mint facility, and for 12 years produced circulating pennies. It has since minted mostly commemorative coins and stored gold.

Shield nickel First US five cent piece to be made out of copper-nickel

The Shield nickel was the first United States five-cent piece to be made out of copper-nickel, the same alloy of which American nickels are struck today. Designed by James B. Longacre, the coin was issued from 1866 until 1883, when it was replaced by the Liberty Head nickel. The coin takes its name from the motif on its obverse, and was the first five-cent coin referred to as a "nickel"—silver pieces of that denomination had been known as half dimes.

Coinage Act of 1965 Federal law of the United States

The Coinage Act of 1965, Pub.L. 89–81, 79 Stat. 254, enacted July 23, 1965, eliminated silver from the circulating United States dime and quarter dollar coins. It also reduced the silver content of the half dollar from 90 percent to 40 percent; silver in the half dollar was subsequently eliminated by a 1970 law.

Coin roll hunting

Coin roll hunting is the hobby of searching and sorting coinage pulled from circulation for collectible coins. This is achieved through obtaining rolled coin, boxed coin, or bagged coin from banks and credit unions. A variant of this practice involves banknotes and is carried out in essentially the same fashion, normally to search for unusual serial numbers, star notes and misprints.

United States dollar Currency of the United States of America

The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States and its territories per the Coinage Act of 1792. One dollar is divided into 100 cents, or into 1000 mills for accounting and taxation purposes. The Coinage Act of 1792 created a decimal currency by creating the dime, nickel, and penny coins, as well as the dollar, half dollar, and quarter dollar coins, all of which are still minted in 2020.

Numismatic history of the United States

The numismatic history of the United States began with Colonial coins such as the pine tree shilling and paper money; most notably the foreign but widely accepted Spanish piece of eight, ultimately descended from the Joachimsthaler and the direct ancestor of the U.S. Dollar.

Three-cent nickel US copper-nickel three-cent coin (1865–1889)

The copper-nickel three-cent piece, often called a three-cent nickel piece or three-cent nickel, was designed by US Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre and struck by the United States Bureau of the Mint from 1865 to 1889. It was initially popular, but its place in commerce was supplanted by the five-cent piece, or nickel.

Three-cent silver US three-cent coin (1851–1873)

The three-cent silver, also known as the three-cent piece in silver or trime, was struck by the Mint of the United States for circulation from 1851 to 1872, and as a proof coin in 1873. Designed by the Mint's chief engraver, James B. Longacre, it circulated well while other silver coinage was being hoarded and melted, but once that problem was addressed, became less used. It was abolished by Congress with the Coinage Act of 1873.

United States Proof Set

The United States Mint Proof Set, commonly known as the Proof Set in the United States, is a set of proof coins sold by the United States Mint. The proof set is popular with coin collectors as it is an affordable way to collect examples of United States coinage in proof condition.


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  2. "Denver Mint Facility". United States Mint. Retrieved 2011-05-25.
  3. "United States Mint at San Francisco". United States Mint. Retrieved 2011-05-25.
  4. "West Point Mint Facility". United States Mint. Retrieved 2011-05-25.
  5. 31 U.S.C.   § 5112
  6. "Coin Specifications". United States Mint. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
  7. Native American $1 Coin
  8. "Circulating Coins | News Image Library | U.S. Mint". Retrieved 2019-07-27.
  9. "American Silver Coin".