How to Distinguish 1981 Type 1 and 2 Proof Coins

In 1981 two varieties of S mintmarks can be found for all proof coin denominations. The minor details will vary from coin to coin so any coin you look at may not look exactly like the picture shown here, however the following characteristics are what you would use to determine which variety it is.

The first one is commonly called type 1, and is the same mintmark that was used in the later part of 1979 and all of 1980. This mintmark has smaller and more rounded serifs (the bulbous or ball like formations at the beginning and end of the S)[1] . If you look at the mintmark you will notice it has a dome shape like a bead of water [2]. The center loops of the S are also more of an oval shape [3].

Type 2 proof coins were minted starting later in the year. The mintmark has larger serifs [4], and these serif bulbs tend to look flattened. You will also notice that the mintmark has more of a plateau or more flat surface than the type 1 [5]. The center loops have more of a circular shape [6].

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Below are more samples of type 1 and 2 mintmarks from each denomination.

1981 S Type 1

Note: Some type 1 coins have very clear mintmarks while some type 2 coins do not, so how clear or well struck the mintmark is does not indicate the type.

Penny

Roosevelt Dime

Washington Quarter

Half Dollar

1981 S Type 2

1981 S Type 2

1981 S Type 1

Susan B. Anthony Dollar

1981 S Type 1

1981 S Type 1

1981 S Type 1

1981 S Type 2

Nickel

1981 S Type 2

1981 S Type 1

1981 S Type 2

1981 S Type 2

Text Box: 3
Text Box: 2
Text Box: 1
Text Box: 6
Text Box: 5
Text Box: 4

Type 1

Type 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1981 S Type 1 Nickel

 

1. Smaller serif

2. Dome surface

3. Oval center loops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1981 S Type 2 Nickel

 

4. Larger serif

5. Flat surface

6. Circular center loops