Friday, October 15, 2004
So here I sit, wondering about the goddamn mint mark on that Lincoln cent. Why? Because that's what coin collectors do -- we wonder about mint marks. So without the benefit of actual knowledge (or courage -- either would do fine) I need to inform my speculation. Fortunately, there is a web page with all the Lincoln Cent mintages since 1909, so I can confirm that the cent production in the Philadelphia mint in 1936 was roughly eight times the production in Denver, and ten times the production in San Francisco. So on odds alone you have to figure it was a Philadelphia coin. If we add the impact of proximity (however much 70 years may have attenuated its influence), and you gotta figure there's a 90% chance the coin is from Philly.
But what if it isn't?
UPDATE: A commenter pointed out that I have had a massive brain fart: the mint mark on the Lincoln cent always appears on the obverse! DOH! For some bizarre reason I had it in my head that the obverse mint marks dated only from 1959, when the reverse converted to the Lincoln Memorial, but of course that isn't true. ARRGH!
But if I had remembered that point, I wouldn't have had an excuse to link to the whole George Costanza "tip jar" script, so the post isn't a total loss, even if it makes me look like a moron.
I found your story entertaining and thought you might like to know I just posted about it on my coin collecting blog.