New Orleans mint mark

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Fullbands, Feb 27, 2021.

  1. Fullbands

    Fullbands Member

    I know that I should know this. That’s how it is sometimes.

    Why did New Orleans use an O for a mint mark and not an N?

    Rick L.
    -jeffB and masterswimmer like this.
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  3. Jeffjay

    Jeffjay Well-Known Member

    Something I never thought about and a good question.
  4. thomas mozzillo

    thomas mozzillo Supporter! Supporter

    There's an old post on Collectors Universe asking the same question and AFAIK no one knew the answer. (Some guesses were made).
  5. thomas mozzillo

    thomas mozzillo Supporter! Supporter

  6. longnine009

    longnine009 Most Exalted Excellency Supporter

    Because Orleans (France) is the original name?

    KBBPLL Well-Known Member

    Avoiding confusion with New York seems like the most logical explanation.
  8. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    Maybe they thought that using NO would be confusing.

    Question: Is there a mintmark?

    Answer: NO
    JeffC likes this.
  9. expat

    expat Remember you are unique, just like everyone else

  10. bradgator2

    bradgator2 Well-Known Member

    Easier to make the punch?
    messydesk likes this.
  11. KBBPLL

    KBBPLL Well-Known Member

    There's an N in UNITED so they probably had N punches laying around...

    We could ask the same about S instead of F, or why CC instead of just C - Charlotte closed 9 years before Carson City opened so they could have reused C. They did reuse D for Denver later although it was many more years after Dahlonega closed. P for West Point would definitely be a problem.
  12. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    There was a talk opening a mint in New York City at one point, but I'd have to look up the info again. I read a little book about it 30 years ago. I think they got an assay office instead.
  13. CoinCorgi

    CoinCorgi Derp, derp, derp!

    Our Lousiana friends might know...
    @Kirkuleez @Santinidollar

    @Conder101 has good recall :)

    I read through the 1835 act (pdf - ) that established the branch mints but do not see any language related to the letter chosen as the distinguishuing mark.

    None of the Director's reports from the 1830's mention it either as far as I read (
  14. Santinidollar

    Santinidollar Supporter! Supporter

    Not a clue. O does stand out. No doubt of what letter it is.
    CoinCorgi likes this.
  15. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Unwell Unknown Unmembered Supporter

    There almost were three D mints, Dahlonega of course, Denver of course but The Dalles in Oregon was a planned mint in Oregon ca. 1869 that was never completed. The gold rush in Oregon waned while the planned mint was very slowly constructed.
    bradgator2 and lordmarcovan like this.
  16. KBBPLL

    KBBPLL Well-Known Member

    I recall letters from congressmen in the NNC archives in the 1900-1901 time frame where Omaha, Council Bluffs, Tacoma were all lobbying for a mint. I don't know how seriously anybody took it though.

    Roger B had this to say in an email this morning: "I've not come across anything that explains why "O" was adopted for the New Orleans Mint in the late 1830s. The not-New York idea is credible since the city long felt it should have a mint of its own. The Assay Office was a compromise."
    CoinCorgi likes this.
  17. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    New Orleans was named after a French capital city, which was called Orleans. After all, New Orleans was settled by French colonists. The Duke of Orleans may have been involved with the settlement as it was during his reign. The city of New Orleans was founded in 1718.
  18. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Unwell Unknown Unmembered Supporter

    1909 was a good year for collecting by mintmark, you could get dimes from four different mints, Philly, SF, Denver and New Orleans. In 1909 the dime, quarter and half were minted in New Orleans, but so incredibly was the half eagle $5 - quite rare but a fantastic way to go out for the NO mint.

    O mintmarks on Barber coinage were not too uncommon to find in the midwest in the 1960s - the '09-O half in my album was one my dad saved from circulation when he was in college.
    NSP and Santinidollar like this.
  19. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    They did not use punches to create the legend. It was engraved into the design.
  20. Santinidollar

    Santinidollar Supporter! Supporter

    I still don’t know why O was used to designate New Orleans. But the city is often referred to casually as Orleans. Also, the city is located in Orleans Parish (county). But who knows?
  21. CoinCorgi

    CoinCorgi Derp, derp, derp!

    I assume the mint director and not congress made the choice. That's why I was searching through the Mint Director reports. Admittedly I only went through a few from the 1830's, so it might still be in there somewhere.
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