Posts Tagged ‘Mint’

The Story of Change- No not President Obama, I’m talking about money here!

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

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The story of American money started more than three centuries ago. Before this, settlers mostly bartered goods for goods. Crops like tobacco and corn and pork and butter were widely used. Learning from the Native Americans who used stringed clamshell beads, or wampum, European colonists adopted the wampum among trades with the Native Americans and then, amongst themselves.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony contracted John Hull to begin minting coins. Hull set up a mint in Boston and began producing “NE” (New England) coins in 1652. The NE coins were very easy to counterfeit, only having NE on one side and XII on the other. The coin was redesigned from 1667-1682. Eventually as more and more people came to the New World and brought their money with them, the settlers and colonists relied on foreign money for buying and selling. Money from Europe, Mexico and South America could be found at any given time. These coins mixed in with the NE coins and wampum and were all used for purchasing, barter and trade.

Early in the 18th century, a large amount of copper coins were imported from England and Ireland for the purpose of making more coins for the colonies. In 1776, dollar-sized coins were produced with a sundial and the inscription “Mind Your Business” on the front and “American Congress We Are One” on the back. These pieces were struck in three different metals; those struck in pewter are scarce or rare, while the silver and brass examples as extremely rare. The Articles of Confederation, adopted on July 9, 1778, gave Congress the ability to place the value on the coins that were struck by each state. At that time, the states each had the right to strike their own coins, there was just no fluidity in their values until the Articles came about.

Finally in 1792 the U.S. Mint was established by Congress. The U.S. Mint makes all U.S. Coins and became an operating bureau of the Treasury Department in 1873. To this day, U.S. coins typically have a mint mark showing which mint it was produced by. The Philadelphia Mint has been the longest in continuous operation, since 1792. The Denver Mint began coin producing in 1906. The newest mints were the West Point, New York, and San Francisco which gained official status in 1988.

From 1965-1968 there were no identifications used to tell where coins were minted. In 1968 the mints resumed putting their initials on the coins. Coins minted in Philadelphia had a P or no letter, Denver has a D, West Point a W and S for San Francisco. To this day, look at your coins and right under the date there should be a letter telling you where that coin was minted and if no letter is present, your coin was minted in Philadelphia!

Coins’ designs and values have changed over the years from the half-penny to silver dollars. The designs will continue to change as society deems it necessary . For now, the coins in your pocket have come a long way to get there because there was a time when there was a lack of United States coins.

The United States Mint

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

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The United States Mint was established on April 2, 1792, by the Unites States Congress through the Coinageunited states mint Act of 1792. The United States Mint building is said to be the first structure built under the Unites States Constitution and continues to hold this location in Philadelphia, which was also the capital of the republic back then. This historical building was also appropriately called “Ye Olde Mint”. The United States Mint comes under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Treasury and is fully backed by the Treasurer of the United States.

The first director of the United States Mint was David Rittenhouse, a well renowned American astronomer, inventor, clockmaker, mathematician, surveyor, scientific instrument craftsman, and public official. Henry Voigt, who is credited with some of the first designs on the United States coinage, was employed by the Treasury to be the Mint’s first Superintendent and Chief Coiner. One of the most critical positions at the Mint is that of the Chief Engraver, which was held by such acclaimed men, among others being Frank Gasparro, William Barber, Charles E. Barber, James B. Longacre, Christian Gobrecht, and Anthony C. Paquet. The current director of the Mint is Edmund C. Moy.

The main objective of the United States Mint is to supply sufficient amounts of coinage for ease of trade and commerce in the United States. The Mint currently churns out an average of fifteen billion coins annually. Its other responsibilities include dispensing United States coinage to the Federal Reserve banks and its subsequent divisions, maintaining the physical charge and securing the country’s one hundred billion dollars worth of gold and silver holdings, the minting of proof, uncirculated, commemorative coins, and medals to be sold to public, producing and selling all United States platinum, gold, and silver bullion coins, and last but not least administering its other minting locations in Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; West Point, New York; Denver, Colorado; San Francisco, California; and Fort Knox, Kentucky, where the United States Bullion Depository is currently situated. Both the Denver and Philadelphia Mints is known to produce up to 65 million to 80 million coins per-day!

united states mintThere were several other Mints that was set up in the mid-nineteenth century by the Treasury Department which are no longer operational today. These Mints were located in Charlotte, North Carolina; Dahlonega, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Carson City, Nevada, respectively. Some say that apart from the end of the Civil War, these Mints ceased its operations because of the drying up of precious metals like gold and silver, around these areas. Another prominent Mint was set up in Manila, Philippines, in 1920. This is the only US mint established outside of the Continental United States which was in charge of minting coins for the colony, and all coins struck at this mint would bear the M mintmark, for Manila. The Manila Mint closed down in 1941, during the initial stages of the second World War.

Today, the United States Mint receives more than one billion dollars in revenues, each year, and as a self-financed organization, its net profits are handed over to the General Fund of the Treasury. The Mint prides itself in propagating world-class business practices in producing, selling, and protecting the coinage and assets of the United States of America.

Coins of the US Dollar

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

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dollar coinsThe United States coinage have come a long way and has earned a permanent place in the nation’s currency system. These coins have been produced every year since 1792, when it was first minted by the new republic. Today these coins are churned out by the United States Mint and distributed to the Federal Reserve Banks for regulation as required by the financial systems. Denominations of the US coinage which is still in circulation today are 1 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, 25 cent, 50 cent, and one dollar.

The four US Mints that operates today in the United States, producing billions of coins annually, are the Philadelphia Mint which produces circulating coinage, mint sets and some commemorative coins, the San Francisco Mint which produces regular and silver proof coinage, the West Point Mint which produces bullion coinage as well as proofs, and the Denver Mint which like the Philadelphia Mint also produces circulating coinage, mint sets and commemorative coins. The Philadelphia and Denver Mints produces the dies used at all of these mints respectively.

To identify the mint on a coin, all one has to do is look at the mint mark imprinted on the front side of it. This is usually in the form of a letter, for example, the P is assigned to Philadelphia coins, the letter D to Denver coins, S for San Francisco coins, and W for West Point. The Philadelphia Mint also produces unmarked coins. It is also acknowledged that coins bearing the letter S and W are ever hardly found in circulation anymore, with the exception of some S series that was minted before mid-1970’s. Coins bearing the letters CC was also produced for a period of time, although short lived. These coins were said to have originated from a temporary mint in Carson City, Nevada, but can only be found in museums and private collections these days.

The current copper plated zinc core cents of today are the result of a change in its mass and composition in 1982. In 1943, cents minted were struck on planchets punched from zinc coated steel. These steel pennies, as it was more commonly known as, would rust quite easily due to the oxidation of the steel coats, and was later discontinued and destroyed. Nickels minted from the years 1942 through 1945, during World War II, were made out of 56 percent copper, 35 percent silver, and 9 percent manganese. This new composition would mean that the metal that was once used to coat these coins can now be put to better use, like manufacturing military supplies to help aid the war.

Prior to 1965, some of the other makes of US coinage included large amount of silver and copper in its composition. These coins are no longer produced or circulated today, thanks to the Coinage Act of 1965. It is estimated that most American prefer using coins in the form of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, as opposed to dollar coins such as the Kennedy half-dollar coin, Susan B. Anthony dollar coin, and the Sacagawea dollar coin.

Bullion coins have been produced since the year 1986 and remains uncirculated to date. Since 1997, these bullion coins, such as the American Eagle and the American Buffalo, can be found in silver, gold, and platinum versions. Other types of coins that have been minted to date are the modern commemorative coins, such as the half dollar and the half eagle, which have been minted since 1982.

Not surprisingly, numerous coins that have been struck throughout history have also gone obsolete today. These are the half cent, large cent, two-cent piece, three-cent piece, half dime, twenty-cent piece, silver dollar, gold dollar, quarter-eagle, three-dollar piece, Stella, half-eagle, eagle, double eagle, and the half-union. These coins, however, remains of high face value to collectors all around the globe.