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What is FG on a penny?

Pennies often have small letters or initials imprinted on them, which represent the mint that produced the coin. FG is one such marking that can be found on some pennies, indicating that they were made at the Philadelphia Mint.

The Meaning of FG on Pennies

FG stands for Frank Gasparro, who was the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1965 to 1981. During his time as Chief Engraver, Gasparro designed many coins, including the reverse sides of the Lincoln Memorial penny in 1959 and the Susan B. Anthony dollar in 1979.

The FG initials on pennies are Gasparro’s mintmark, placed there to signify that the coin was struck at the Philadelphia Mint. The ‘F’ represents his first initial and the ‘G’ represents his last name initial.

So in summary, pennies marked with FG mean:

  • FG = Frank Gasparro, Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint from 1965-1981
  • The FG letters signify the coin was minted in Philadelphia

The FG mint mark can be found on the reverse (tails side) of Lincoln cents produced from 1965 through 1967 and 1969 through 1974. During other years, pennies from the Philadelphia Mint either had no mintmark or a different marking.

History of Mint Marks on U.S. Coins

Putting mint marks on coins to denote their place of origin is a long-standing tradition in American coinage.

Up until 1946, U.S. coins minted in Philadelphia (with the exception of nickels) did not have a mint mark at all. Coins struck at other mints, such as Denver or San Francisco, were marked with a ‘D’ or ‘S’ mintmark.

In the mid-1960s, the U.S. Mint decided to start putting mint marks on all circulating coins, including those from Philadelphia. This was done to better track the output of each mint and make things simpler for coin collectors.

The first Chief Engraver to put his initials on Philadelphia cents was John R. Sinnock, who placed his ‘JS’ initials on the reverse of Lincoln cents in 1944, 1945 and 1948-1949.

After Frank Gasparro took over as Chief Engraver in 1965, he continued the practice by imprinting his ‘FG’ initials on Philadelphia pennies for the rest of his tenure.

Mint Marks on Lincoln Memorial Pennies

Here is a summary of the different mint marks used on Lincoln Memorial cents from 1959 to 1981:

Years Mint Mark Mint Location
1959-1964 No mint mark Philadelphia
1965-1967, 1969-1974 FG Philadelphia
1968, 1970-1974 S San Francisco
1968-1974 D Denver

Identifying FG Pennies

FG mint mark pennies can be identified by examining the reverse (tails side) of the coin. Here are some tips for spotting them:

  • Check pennies dated 1965-1967 and 1969-1974, as these are the years FG marks were used.
  • Look below the central image of the Lincoln Memorial for the FG initials.
  • The FG will appear right above the word “ONE” on Memorial reverse designs.
  • Use a magnifying glass if the letters are hard to see.
  • Look for a small “F” next to a small “G” in a straight line.

Here is an image showing the location of the FG mint mark on a 1974 penny:

If there are no letters below the Lincoln Memorial, the penny was likely minted in Philadelphia but before they started using mint marks in 1965.

Rarity and Value of FG Pennies

FG mint mark Lincoln cents are moderately common and have no extra value compared to regular Philadelphia pennies from the same years. Here are some key points on their rarity and value:

  • Hundreds of millions of FG pennies were produced from 1965-1974.
  • Most FG pennies are worth 1 cent, as with all pennies.
  • Well-circulated FG cents have no extra collectible value.
  • Uncirculated FG pennies are worth slightly more to collectors, but no more than $1.

There are a few rare Lincoln cent varieties bearing FG marks, such as the 1969-S doubled die obverse, that are quite valuable to collectors and dealers. But regular, circulation strike FG pennies are very common across all dates.


The FG marking on some Lincoln Memorial pennies stands for Frank Gasparro, the Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint from 1965-1981. It indicates the coin was struck at the Philadelphia Mint during his tenure.

FG marks can be found on the reverse of cents dated 1965-1967 and 1969-1974. Identifying them is as simple as checking the letters right above the word “ONE” on the coin.

While interesting finds, FG pennies have no extra collector value compared to other Philadelphia cents from those years. But they are still nice reminders of the U.S. Mint’s history and the talented coin designers that have worked there over the decades.