If you look closely, most coins will have an identifying mark that links a coin to the location where it was minted. These marks are called mintmarks. Mintmarks have been around for a long time. Back when a coin was truly worth its weight, mintmarks helped hold mints accountable for the value and quality of their coins.
In the U.S., the most popular mintmarks are either a “D” or “P”, usually on the obverse side of a coin near the year. These letters indicate where the coin was minted—either Denver or Philadelphia. Mintmarks are fraught with inconsistencies throughout American history. An educated collector may be able to use those historical inconsistencies to identify valuable numismatic coins based on mintmarks alone.
What about privy marks?
Privy marks are similar to mintmarks in that in most cases they are used to determine the location of a coin’s mintage. However, privy marks go a step further and may indicate the uniqueness of a specific mintage.
Privy marks are fairly common among the Royal Canadian Mint, the Perth Mint, and other mints outside the U.S. These mints use privy marks to distinguish certain coins with exclusive symbols. These symbols vary greatly and don’t follow the U.S.’s bland tradition of single letters. Symbols may include images of a monkey, a wolf, fireworks, a torch, a lightning bolt, or – in the case of the newly minted 2016 1 oz Canadian Silver Maple Leaf – a Mark V tank!
Most privy marks come with some sort of symbolism. In the case of the Mark V tank, the mintage is meant to commemorate the 100th year of the tank’s creation during WWI. Because privy marks often come with a level of sentimentality and a mintage limit, privy marked coins have greater potential to garner numismatic value.
For more information about bullion and numismatic values, check out Provident Metal’s article: Bullion vs. Numismatic Coins.
Learn more about how the Royal Canadian Mint approved Provident Metals’ WWI Mark V Tank concept, and allocated them the complete mintage of this historic Silver Maple Privy.
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