United States Mint

The United States Mint is a unit of the Department of Treasury responsible for producing coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce, as well as controlling the movement of bullion.[1] It does not produce paper money; that responsibility belongs to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The Mint was created in Philadelphia in 1792, and soon joined by other centers, whose coins were identified by their own mint marks. There are currently four active coin-producing mints: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and West Point.

United States Mint
Seal of the United States Mint
Seal of the U.S. Mint
New US Mint Logo
Logo of the U.S. Mint
Agency overview
FormedApril 2, 1792
JurisdictionFederal government of the United States
Headquarters38°54′01″N 77°01′25″W / 38.90028°N 77.02361°WCoordinates: 38°54′01″N 77°01′25″W / 38.90028°N 77.02361°W
Washington, D.C., USA
Employees1,845 (2006)
Agency executive
Parent agencyDepartment of the Treasury
WebsiteUSMint.gov

History

San Francisco-First US Branch Mint-1854
The First U.S. Branch Mint in California is located at 608–619 Commercial Street, San Francisco, San Francisco County. The branch opened on April 3, 1854. Today the building houses the Pacific Heritage Museum.

The first authorization for the establishment of a mint in the United States was in a resolution of the Congress of the Confederation of February 21, 1782,[2] and the first general-circulation coin of the United States, the Fugio cent, was produced in 1787 based on the Continental dollar.

The current United States Mint was created by Congress with the Coinage Act of 1792, and originally placed within the Department of State. Per the terms of the Coinage Act, the first Mint building was in Philadelphia, the then capital of the United States; it was the first building of the Republic raised under the Constitution. Today, the Mint's headquarters (a non-coin-producing facility) are in Washington D.C.. It operates mint facilities in Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and West Point, New York and a bullion depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Official Mints (Branches) were once also located in Carson City, Nevada; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dahlonega, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana; and even in Manila, in the Philippines.[3]

Originally part of the State Department, the Mint was made an independent agency in 1799.[4] It converted precious metals into standard coin for anyone's account with no seigniorage charge beyond the refining costs. Under the Coinage Act of 1873, the Mint became part of the Department of the Treasury. It was placed under the auspices of the Treasurer of the United States in 1981. Legal tender coins of today are minted solely for the Treasury's account.

The first Director of the United States Mint was renowned scientist David Rittenhouse from 1792 to 1795. The position was held most recently by Edmund C. Moy until his resignation effective January 9, 2011. The position was left vacant until April 2018, until the position was filled by David J. Ryder.[5] Henry Voigt was the first Superintendent and Chief Coiner, and is credited with some of the first U.S. coin designs. Another important position at the Mint is that of Chief Engraver, which has been held by such men as Frank Gasparro, William Barber, Charles E. Barber, James B. Longacre, and Christian Gobrecht.

The Mint has operated several branch facilities throughout the United States since the Philadelphia Mint opened in 1792, in a building known as "Ye Olde Mint". With the opening of branch mints came the need for mint marks, an identifying feature on the coin to show its facility of origin. The first of these branch mints were the Charlotte, North Carolina (1838–1861), Dahlonega, Georgia (1838–1861), and New Orleans, Louisiana (1838–1909) branches. Both the Charlotte (C mint mark) and Dahlonega (D mint mark) Mints were opened to facilitate the conversion of local gold deposits into coinage, and minted only gold coins. The Civil War closed both these facilities permanently. The New Orleans Mint (O mint mark) closed at the beginning of the Civil War (1861) and did not re-open until the end of Reconstruction in 1879. During its two stints as a minting facility, it produced both gold and silver coinage in eleven different denominations, though only ten denominations were ever minted there at one time (in 1851 silver three-cent pieces, half dimes, dimes, quarters, half dollars, and gold dollars, Quarter Eagles, half eagles, eagles, and double eagles).

A new branch facility was opened in Carson City, Nevada, in 1870; it operated until 1893, with a three-year hiatus from 1886 to 1888. Like the Charlotte and Dahlonega branches, the Carson City Mint (CC mint mark) was opened to take advantage of local precious metal deposits, in this case, a large vein of silver. Though gold coins were also produced there, no base metal coins were.

In 1911 the Mint had a female acting director, Margaret Kelly, at that point the highest paid woman on the government's payroll. She stated that women were paid equally within the bureau.[6]

A branch of the U.S. mint (Manila Mint) was established in 1920 in Manila in the Philippines, which was then a U.S. territory. To date, the Manila Mint is the only U.S. mint established outside the continental U.S. and was responsible for producing coins (one, five, ten, twenty and fifty centavo denominations). This branch was in production from 1920 to 1922, and then again from 1925 through 1941. Coins struck by this mint bear either the M mintmark (for Manila) or none at all, similar to the Philadelphia mint at the time.

A branch mint in The Dalles, Oregon, was commissioned in 1864. Construction was halted in 1870, and the facility never produced any coins, although the building still stands.

Current facilities

There are four active coin-producing mints: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and West Point.

Philadelphia

United States Mint Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Mint

The Mint's largest facility is the Philadelphia Mint. The current facility, which opened in 1969, is the fourth Philadelphia Mint. The first was built in 1792, when Philadelphia was still the U.S. capital, and began operation in 1793. Until 1980, coins minted at Philadelphia bore no mint mark, with the exceptions of the Susan B. Anthony dollar and the wartime Jefferson nickel. In 1980, the P mint mark was added to all U.S. coinage except the cent. Until 1968, the Philadelphia Mint was responsible for nearly all official proof coinage. Philadelphia is also the site of master die production for U.S. coinage, and the engraving and design departments of the Mint are also located there.

Denver

Denver mint
The Denver Mint

The Denver Mint began in 1863 as the local assay office, just five years after gold was discovered in the area. By the turn of the century, the office was bringing in over $5 million in annual gold and silver deposits, and in 1906, the Mint opened its new Denver branch. Denver uses a D mint mark and strikes coinage only for circulation, although it did strike, along with three other mints, the $10 gold 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Commemorative. It also produces its own working dies, as well as working dies for the other mints. Although the Denver and Dahlonega mints used the same mint mark D, they were never in operation at the same time, so this is not a source of ambiguity.

San Francisco

Largest coin press in the world for San Francisco mint
A coin press built for the San Francisco Mint by Morgan & Orr in 1873. It is currently located at the ANA Money Museum in Colorado Springs.

The San Francisco branch, opened in 1854 to serve the goldfields of the California Gold Rush, uses an S mint mark. It quickly outgrew its first building and moved into a new facility in 1874. This building, one of the few that survived the great earthquake and fire of 1906, served until 1937, when the present facility was opened. It was closed in 1955, then reopened a decade later during the coin shortage of the mid-60s. In 1968, it took over most proof-coinage production from Philadelphia, and since 1975, it has been used solely for proof coinage, with the exception of the Anthony dollar and a portion of the mintage of cents in the early 1980s. (These cents are indistinguishable from those minted at Philadelphia.)

West Point

The West Point branch is the newest mint facility, gaining official status as a branch mint in 1988. Its predecessor, the West Point Bullion Depository, was opened in 1937, and cents were produced there from 1973 to 1986. Along with these, which were identical to those produced at Philadelphia, West Point has struck a great deal of commemorative and proof coinage bearing the W mint mark. In 1996, West Point produced clad dimes, but for collectors, not for circulation. The West Point facility is still used for storage of part of the United States' gold bullion reserves, and West Point is now the United States' production facility for gold, silver, platinum, and palladium American Eagle coins.

Fort Knox

While not a coin production facility, the U.S. Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky, is another facility of the Mint. Its primary purpose is for storage of the United States and other countries' gold and silver bullion reserves.

Functions

The Mint manages extensive commercial marketing programs. The product line includes special coin sets for collectors, national medals, American Eagle gold, silver and platinum bullion coins, and commemorative coins marking national events such as the Bicentennial of the Constitution. The Mint's functions include:

  • Producing domestic, bullion and foreign coins;
  • Manufacturing and selling national commemorative medals;
  • Designing and producing the congressional gold medals;
  • Designing, producing, and marketing special coinage;
  • Safeguarding and controlling the movement of bullion;
  • Disbursing gold and silver for authorized purposes;
  • Distributing coins from the various mints to Federal Reserve Banks.

Note that the Mint is not responsible for the production of American paper money; that is the responsibility of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

In 2000, the Mint was responsible for the production of 28 billion coins. See United States Mint coin production for annual production values of each coin.

The United States Mint Police, a federal law enforcement agency, is responsible for the protection of Mint facilities, employees and reserves.

The production and sale of circulating coinage and the other functions of the Mint are funded through the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund, established in 1995. Any profits made by the Fund in excess of operating requirements are returned to the Treasury. Government procurement regulations do not apply to the Mint's procurement and contracting activity.[7]

Mintmarks

United States penny, obverse, 2002
Lincoln memorial cent, with the S mintmark of the San Francisco mint.

With the exception of a brief period in 1838 and 1839, all coins minted at U.S. branch mints prior to 1908 displayed that branch's mintmark on their reverse. Larger denominations of gold and silver coins were labeled with the Dahlonega, Charlotte, and New Orleans mintmarks (D, C, and O, respectively) on the obverse (front) side, just above the dates, in those two years. Carson City, which served as a U.S. branch mint from 1870 to 1893, produced coins with a CC mintmark. The Manila Mint (the only overseas U.S. mint, which produced U.S. Territorial and U.S. Commonwealth coinage) used the M mintmark from 1920–1941.

Between 1965 and 1967, as the Mint labored to replace the silver coinage with base metal coins, mintmarks were temporarily dispensed with (including on the penny and nickel) in order to discourage the hoarding of coins by numismatists. Mintmarks were moved to the obverse of the nickel, dime, quarter, and half dollar in 1968, and have appeared on the obverse of the dollar coin since its re-introduction in 1971.

  • Penny: Unlike all other coins, which had their mintmarks on the reverse until 1964, the Lincoln cent has always had its mintmark on the obverse below the date to the right of Lincoln's bust since its 1909 introduction.
  • Nickel: The mintmark was located near the rim of the obverse side, clockwise from the date from 1968 to 2005, to the right of Thomas Jefferson's bust. The redesigned obverse of the nickel which appeared starting in 2006 has its mintmark below the date on the lower right. Many earlier nickels from 1938 to 1964 are still in circulation, and their mintmarks can be found on the reverse to the right of Monticello, with the exception of the 1942–1945 war nickels cited elsewhere in this article.
  • Dime: The mintmark is above the date on the obverse side to the right of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's bust.
  • Quarter dollar: The mintmark is to the right of George Washington's bust.
  • Half dollar: The mintmark is below the center of John F. Kennedy's bust, above the date.
  • Eisenhower Dollar (1971–1978): The mintmark is below the center of Dwight D. Eisenhower's bust, above the date.
  • Susan B. Anthony dollar (1979–1981, 1999): The mintmark is found to the left of Susan B. Anthony's bust.
  • Sacagawea dollar (2000–present): For coins minted from 2000 to 2008, the mintmark is just below the date. For coins minted from 2009 to 2016, the date, mintmark and E pluribus unum were moved to the edge of the coin.
  • Presidential dollar (2007–2016): The mintmark and date are found on the edge of the coin.
  • American Innovation dollar (2018–present): The mintmark and date are found on the edge of the coin.
1945-P-Jefferson-War-Nickel-Reverse
Reverse of a wartime nickel, with the P mintmark of the Philadelphia mint located above Monticello

Due to a shortage of nickel during World War II, the composition of the five-cent coin was changed to include silver. To mark this change, nickels minted in Philadelphia (which had featured no mintmarks until then) displayed a P in the field above the dome of Monticello. Nickels from San Francisco were minted in the same fashion, and Denver nickels reflected the change in 1943. This new mintmark location continued until 1946, when the nickel returned to its pre-war composition.

The P mintmark, discontinued after the war, reappeared in 1979 on the Anthony dollar. By 1982, it had appeared on every other regular-issue coin except the cent, which, with the exception of 2017 Lincoln Cents, still bears no P mintmark. The circulating cents struck in the 1980s at San Francisco (except proofs) and West Point also bear no mintmark, as their facilities were used to supplement Philadelphia's production. Given the limited numbers produced at each facility, they might have been hoarded as collectibles.

For 2017, in commemoration of the U.S Mint's 225th Anniversary, the P mintmark was placed on the obverse of Philadelphia-minted Lincoln cents for the first time in the coin's 100+ year history. The P mintmark did not re-appear for 2018 and subsequent circulation strikes minted in Philadelphia.[8]

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ "United States Mint Law and Legal Definition | USLegal, Inc". definitions.uslegal.com. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  2. ^ Journals of the Continental Congress, vol. 22, pp. 86-87
  3. ^ "The United States Mint · About Us". Usmint.gov. Retrieved 2011-12-28.
  4. ^ "About: United States Mint". treasury.gov. Retrieved 2013-02-19.
  5. ^ About the Mint at usmint.gov (retrieved 20 April 2015).
  6. ^ "A Talk with Miss Margaret Kelly, Director of the U.S Mint"
  7. ^ 31 U.S. Code § 5136 - United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund, accessed 14 December 2018
  8. ^ http://www.coinweek.com/us-mint-news/philadelphia-mint-quietly-releases-2017-p-lincoln-cent/

External links

1942 experimental cents

The 1942 experimental cents were pattern coins struck by the United States Mint to test alternative compositions for the penny.

Adam Eckfeldt

John Adam Eckfeldt (June 15, 1769 – February 6, 1852) was a worker and official in the early days of the United States Mint. A lifelong Philadelphian, Eckfeldt served as the second chief coiner of the Mint, from 1814 until 1839.

Eckfeldt's father owned a large smithy and involved himself in early attempts at American coinage. Adam Eckfeldt built early presses for the Mint, engraved some of its early dies, and was responsible for the designs of early American copper coinage, as well as the 1792 half disme which some authorities consider the first United States coin. He was appointed assistant coiner of the Mint in 1796, and became chief coiner on his predecessor's death in 1814.

Eckfeldt served a quarter century as chief coiner, during which time the Philadelphia Mint moved to new premises. As he set aside unusual coins brought in as bullion, he started the Mint's coin cabinet, which evolved into the National Numismatic Collection. Even after his 1839 retirement, Eckfeldt continued to perform the duties of chief coiner; his death in 1852 caused his replacement, Franklin Peale, to seek an assistant.

American Platinum Eagle

The American Platinum Eagle is the official platinum bullion coin of the United States. In 1995, Director of the United States Mint Philip N. Diehl, American Numismatic Association President David L. Ganz, and Platinum Guild International Executive Director Jacques Luben began the legislative process of creating the Platinum Eagle. After over two years of work, the 99.95% fine platinum coins were released by the United States Mint in ​1⁄10, ​1⁄4, ​1⁄2 and 1 troy oz denominations. In late 2008, the fractional denominations were discontinued, leaving only the one ounce denomination. The Platinum Eagle is authorized by the United States Congress, and is backed by the United States Mint for weight, content, and purity.

Proof versions of the coins are intended for coin collectors and sold directly to the public whereas the bullion versions are sold only to the Mint's authorized buyers. The proof American Platinum Eagles are unique in the fact that they are the only U.S. bullion coins that have a yearly alternating design. Bullion versions are minted with the same design every year. While minted, the uncirculated Platinum Eagles matched the proof designs and were struck on burnished coin blanks with a "W" mint mark signifying West Point, further distinguishing them from the bullion versions.

American Silver Eagle

The American Silver Eagle is the official silver bullion coin of the United States.

It was first released by the United States Mint on November 24, 1986. It is struck only in the one-troy ounce size, which has a nominal face value of one dollar and is guaranteed to contain one troy ounce of 99.9% pure silver. It is authorized by Title II of Public Law 99-61 (Liberty Coin Act, approved July 9, 1985) and codified as 31 U.S.C. § 5112(e)-(h). Its content, weight, and purity are certified by the United States Mint. In addition to the bullion version, the United States Mint has produced a proof version and an uncirculated version for coin collectors. The Silver Eagle has been produced at three mints: the Philadelphia Mint, the San Francisco Mint, and the West Point Mint. The American Silver Eagle bullion coin may be used to fund Individual Retirement Account investments.

Chief Engraver of the United States Mint

The Chief Engraver of the United States Mint is the highest staff member at the United States Mint.

The Chief Engraver is the person in charge of coin design and engraving of dies at all four United States Mints: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco and West Point. The position was created by Congress with the Coinage Act of 1792, and placed within the Department of Treasury that produces circulating coinage for the United States. In 1990 after the resignation of Elizabeth Jones, the post of Chief Engraver was left vacant, and in 1996, with Public Law 104-208, was abolished by Congress.On February 3, 2009, Mint Director Edmund C. Moy, appointed John Mercanti to the position of Chief Engraver, with duties and prerogatives determined by the Mints Office of Public Affairs. The appointment was not a restoration of the original congressionally approved office, but a temporary promotion, renewable annually for one officeholder for no more than five years. Since Mercanti's retirement in 2010 and until February 2019 remained vacant, when Joseph Menna was appointed to the position.

Denver Mint

The Denver Mint is a branch of the United States Mint that struck its first coins on February 1, 1906. The mint is still operating and producing coins for circulation, as well as mint sets and commemorative coins. Coins produced at the Denver Mint bear a D mint mark (not to be confused with the mark of the Dahlonega Mint). The Denver Mint is the single largest producer of coins in the world..

Director of the United States Mint

The Director of the United States Mint is a presidential appointment needing Senate confirmation. David J. Ryder became director in April 2018. He previously served as director from 1992 to 1993.

When the position of director is vacant, the senior career (non-political) official of the mint serves as the acting director/deputy director. Until the appointment of Mr. Ryder as director, the mint had been without an official director since the resignation of Edmund C. Moy in 2011. Richard A. Peterson succeeded Mr. Moy and was the longest-serving acting director/deputy director in the mint's history. Mr. Peterson served between January 2011 and March 2017.

In July 2015 Matthew Rhett Jeppson was nominated by President Barack Obama to become the mint's 39th director and was given the temporary title of principal deputy director. However, the nomination was never confirmed by the Senate. Mr. Jeppson stepped down as principal deputy director in January 2017, being replaced by Acting Principal Deputy Director David Motl.

The office of director has existed since the creation of the Mint by the Coinage Act of 1792. Initially appointed serving at the pleasure of the President of the United States, the Coinage Act of 1873 specified a five-year term for directors. The director operates with general directions provided by the United States Secretary of the Treasury.

District of Columbia and United States Territories Quarters

The District of Columbia and United States Territories Quarter Program was a one-year coin program of the United States Mint that saw quarters being minted in 2009 to honor the District of Columbia and the unincorporated United States insular areas of Puerto Rico, Guam, United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The islands commonly grouped together as the United States Minor Outlying Islands were not featured, as the law defined the word "territory" as being limited to the areas mentioned above. It followed the completion of the 50 State Quarters program. The coins used the same George Washington obverse as with the quarters of the previous 10 years. The reverse of the quarters featured a design selected by the Mint depicting of the federal district and each territory. Unlike on the 50 State quarters, the motto "E Pluribus Unum" preceded and was the same size as the mint date on the reverse.

James Ross Snowden

James Ross Snowden (9 December 1809, Old Chester, Pennsylvania – 21 March 1878, Hulmeville, Pennsylvania) was treasurer of the United States Mint from 1847 to 1850, and director of the Mint from 1853 to 1861.

Manila Mint

The Manila Mint (Spanish: Real Casa de la Moneda y Timbre de Manila) was a coinage mint that briefly served as a branch of the United States Mint, located in Manila, now the capital city of the Philippines.

Philadelphia Mint

The Philadelphia Mint was created from the need to establish a national identity and the needs of commerce in the United States. This led the Founding Fathers of the United States to make an establishment of a continental national mint, a main priority after the ratification of the Constitution of the United States.

The Coinage Act of 1792 was entered into law on April 2. It proclaimed the creation of the United States Mint. Philadelphia at that time was the nation's capital; therefore the first mint facility was built there. The Mint Act also instituted a decimal system based on a dollar unit; specified weights, metallic composition and fineness; and required each United States coin feature "an impression emblematic of liberty".

Presidential $1 Coin Program

The Presidential $1 Coin Program (Pub.L. 109–145, 119 Stat. 2664, enacted December 22, 2005) was the release by the United States Mint of $1 coins with engravings of relief portraits of U.S. presidents on the obverse and the Statue of Liberty on the reverse.

From 2007 to 2011, presidential $1 coins were minted for circulation in large numbers, resulting in a large stockpile of unused $1 coins. From 2012 to 2016, new coins in the series were minted only for collectors.

Sacagawea dollar

The Sacagawea dollar (also known as the "golden dollar") is a United States dollar coin first minted in 2000, although not released for general circulation from 2002 to 2008 and again from 2012 onward due to its general unpopularity with the public and low business demand for the coin. These coins have a copper core clad by manganese brass, giving them a distinctive golden color. The coin features an obverse by Glenna Goodacre. From 2000 to 2008, the reverse featured an eagle design by Thomas D. Rogers. Since 2009, the reverse of the Sacagawea dollar has been changed yearly, with each design in the series depicting a different aspect of Native American cultures.

The coin was introduced as a replacement for the Susan B. Anthony dollar, which proved useful for vending machine operators and mass transit systems despite being unpopular with the public. The Statue of Liberty was originally proposed as the design subject, but Sacagawea, the Shoshone guide of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, was eventually chosen.

The new dollar coin was heavily marketed by the Mint in a series of print, radio, and television advertisements, as well as Mint partnerships with Walmart and Cheerios. However, the Sacagawea dollar did not prove popular with the public, and mintage dropped sharply in the second year of production. Production of Sacagawea dollars continued, from 2007 to 2016 in parallel with the U.S. Presidential dollars. In 2012, mintage numbers were reduced by over 90%, in line with a similar reduction for the even more unpopular Presidential Dollars, due to large stockpiles of unused coins from that series.

The Mint planned to issue the Sacagawea design in 22-karat gold as well, but this idea was quickly abandoned after the Mint's authority to strike the coins was questioned, and the Mint has retained ownership of the few such coins produced. Soon after initial production of the dollar, it was noticed that a few of the dollar coins were erroneously struck with the obverse of a state quarter and the normal reverse.

San Francisco Mint

The San Francisco Mint is a branch of the United States Mint and was opened in 1854 to serve the gold mines of the California Gold Rush. It quickly outgrew its first building and moved into a new one in 1874. This building, the Old United States Mint, also known affectionately as The Granite Lady, is one of the few that survived the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It served until 1937, when the present facility was opened.

United States Mint Police

The United States Mint Police (USMP) is a U.S. federal law enforcement agency responsible for the protection of the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. Mint. In 2004 the Police employed 376 police officers.

United States Mint Set

The United States Uncirculated Coin Set, known as the Uncirculated Set or Mint Set in the United States, is an annual coin set sold by the United States Mint. The set is marketed towards coin collectors as a way to obtain circulation coins in mint condition.

West Point Mint

The West Point Mint Facility is a U.S. Mint production and depository facility erected in 1937 near the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, United States. Originally it was called the West Point Bullion Depository. At one point it had the highest concentration of silver of any U.S. mint facility, and for 12 years produced circulating pennies. It has since minted mostly commemorative coins and stored gold.

It gained official status as a branch of the United States Mint on March 31, 1988. Later that year it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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