Where Were My Coins Made? The Many Branches Of The US Mint

A few weeks back I said that I would give a brief synopsis of the US Mint and its many branches.  I have found a moment away from coin dealings to give you the information regarding our nation’s minting facilities both past and present.  Here we go.

Philadelphia
I figure the best place to start is usually the beginning. By the early 1790’s our founding fathers realized that to be respected as a sovereign nation it was important to strike our own coinage. Up to this point, a rag tag ensemble of foreign coins, coins minted by individual colonies, and even privately issued tokens were used for trade. It was time for the infant United States to grow up.  In 1792, before having an actual mint facility we went to work at producing a silver five cent coin called a half disme,  along with a few other pattern or prototype coin designs. The following year saw the establishment of a permanent minting facility and the striking of our first copper coins; the cent and half cent. Now, nearly 220 years later, the Philadelphia Mint has grown from its humble beginnings to a modern coin factory that is the envy of nations worldwide.

New Orleans
The first branch mint to begin operations was in New Orleans, Louisiana. Striking of coins bearing the famous “O” mint mark began during 1838. During January of 1861 control of the New Orleans mint was taken over by the Confederacy. In 1862 the federal government reclaimed the facility. The “O” mint continued producing silver and gold coins intermittently until finally closing its doors in 1909.

Charlotte
Gold was first discovered in North Carolina during the late 18th century. Some forty-odd years later, during 1838, the first striking of coins commenced at the mint in Charlotte, bearing a “C” mint mark.  This first year saw the striking of Quarter Eagles ($2.50 Gold) and Half Eagles ($5 Gold). From 1838 to 1861 the Charlotte mint was employed to strike gold coins exclusively, never striking a coin of higher denomination than the Half Eagle. This branch mint was taken over by the Confederate States during May of 1861 when North Carolina seceded from the Union. The building was later utilized for various functions including an assay office, but never again were coins struck at the facility.

Dalonega
Another great source of gold in the early 19th century was in Lumpkin County Georgia. By the late 1820’s there was a full on gold rush.  To tap this great gold resource a mint was erected in Dalonega and the first coins were produced during 1838. These coins bore a “D” mint mark but should not be confused with coins later minted in Denver as the Dalonega Mint was shuttered long before the Denver Mint was ever conceived. Dalonega took essentially the same trajectory as its Charlotte counterpart. The mint exclusively produced small sized gold coins- nothing larger than $5, and was closed after takeover by the Confederates during 1861 never to reopen for business.

San Francisco
By 1854 the California Gold Rush had been in full force for over five years and a mint was established to convert the raw gold into a finished product. The first year of “S” mint production saw over 4 million dollars worth of gold bullion transformed into glistening US coins. By 1874, the mint outgrew its original digs and was moved to a building now known as the Old Mint or more affectionately “the Granite Lady.” This building was one of few to survive the great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. The building survives as a museum, and was used for minting until 1937 when operations moved to its current location. The San Francisco Mint still operates but currently is only used for the production of collector’s coins such as proof or commemorative issues.

Carson City
Perhaps the most famous and iconic of all the US mints is the one at Carson City.  This mint was constructed to accommodate Nevada’s Comstock Lode which was the first major discovery of silver ore in the US. This short lived mint is primarily known for its silver dollars, but it also produced both gold and silver coins beginning in 1870. The mint closed for political reasons and produced no coins during 1886-1888. The mint reopened in 1889 only to produce its final coins before it closed four years later in 1893. Carson City gained much of its fame during the 1970’s after hoards of Morgan Dollars struck at Carson City were released to the collecting public after being forgotten in government vaults for close to a century. To this day coins bearing the “CC” mint mark conjure thoughts of the “Wild West” among numismatists.

Denver
Although the first Denver Mint coins were not issued until 1906, its roots run much deeper.  The US government established an assay office in 1863 where local miners could bring their gold ore to be melted, assayed, cast into bars and stamped with the weight and fineness.  In 1904 it was decided to turn Denver into a full- fledged mint. A new, much larger facility was constructed. Coins produced at Denver bear a “D” mintmark, not to be confused with coins produced in Dalonega which last struck coins in 1861. To this day, the Denver Mint is a numismatic powerhouse, capable of producing over 50 million coins a day!

West Point
Founded in 1937 as the West Point Bullion Depository, the facility was originally used to store silver bullion and was nicknamed “the Fort Knox of Silver.” Starting in 1973, West Point was used to strike cents for 12 years.  The facility was also used to produce many of the 1976-dated bicentennial quarters and halves.  None of the coins during this period bear a mintmark, and are indiscernible from their Philadelphia counterparts. The first coin to bear the “W” mint mark was the 1984 $10 Gold Olympic Commemorative Coin.  Although the West Point facility had been striking coins for years, it was not granted official mint status until March 31, 1988. Currently the West Point Mint is very active producing commemorative coins as well as gold, silver and platinum American Eagle coins.

There you have it.  I bet you didn’t know just how many places our coins have been produced. Our coins are truly history that you can hold in your hands.  Whether produced in West Point last year or in Philadelphia during 1793, US coins have a great story to tell, and that is why I love collecting!

You can contact Jack at jack@artandcointv.com

 
You Might Also Like...
Alonso Cano, La Crucifixión, segundo tercio del siglo. El Museo Nacional del Prado.
Museo de Arte de Ponce and Banco Santander announced the exhibit El Greco to Goya: Masterpieces from the Prado Museum, a selection of 25 paintings from the collection of the ...
READ MORE
Waller Hugh Paton, Entrance to the Cuiraing, Skye, 1873. Oil on canvas: 111.80 x 162.60 cm. Scottish National Gallery.
The Scottish National Gallery announces two important acquisitions to the national collection. Entrance to the Cuiraing, Skye (1873) by Waller Hugh Paton (1828-1895) has been purchased for the collection by ...
READ MORE
An image from a panel by the artist Hans Schäufelein, recently acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Keith Christiansen, chairman of European paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, knew he had something special when he glimpsed a two-sided panel by the German Renaissance artist Hans Schäufelein ...
READ MORE
Tom Cuquet leaves the Thomas Kindade Gallery after purchasing several of the artist's works in Kinkades boyhood hometown of Placerville, Calif., Monday, April 9, 2012. Kinkade, 54, the self-described "Painter of Light," passed away Friday of apparent natural causes at his home in Los Gatos, Calif. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli.
In Thomas Kinkade's hometown, at the gallery where his art career first took off, an original painting by the self-described "Painter of Light" sat unsold for years. Buyers were perhaps ...
READ MORE
Models of the Italian fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo present, in the Denon gallery at the Louvre museum in Paris on June 12, 2012, the 2013 "resort"collection. It is the first time a fashion show takes place in the Louvre, following Ferragamo sponsoring of the exhibition “Saint Anne, Leonardo da Vinci’s final masterpiece” with restored masterpiece,"La Vierge et l'enfant avec Sainte Anne" (The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne) which runs from 29 March to 25 June 2012 in this prestigious place. TOPSHOTS/AFP PHOTO/FRANCOIS GUILLOT.
For the first time in its history, the French capital's iconic Louvre Museum opened up its storied arcades Tuesday to fashion: a catwalk show by Italian house Salvatore Ferragamo. Proof enough ...
READ MORE
A portrait study from Amarna is on display at the permanent Egyptian exhibition of the Neues Museum,( New Museum), Monday, Aug. 27, 2012. Berlin is to honor the centenary of the discovery of a famed bust of Egypt’s Queen Nefertiti - one of the city’s top tourist attractions - with an exhibition of works from the Amarna site where she was found, many of them freshly restored. The Egyptian Museum said Monday Aug. 27, 2012 that the show, “In the Light of Amarna,” will open Dec. 6 - the 100th anniversary of the day when a German excavator unearthed the 3,300-year old limestone bust of Nefertiti, wife of Pharaoh Akhenaton, at Amarna in southern Egypt. AP Photo/Markus Schreiber.
Berlin is to honor the centenary of the discovery of a famed bust of Egypt's Queen Nefertiti — one of the city's top tourist attractions — with an exhibition of ...
READ MORE
A rock and earth sculpture in Northumberland northern England. Britain's Princess Anne unveiled Monday Sept. 3, 2012 a giant goddess sculpted from rock, earth and waste reclining in the remains of a coal mine in northern England. The private ceremony will formally declare that the 1,300 foot (400 meter) long figure, named Northumberlandia, has been completed. The female figure, also known as “The Lady of the North,” predictably has divided local opinion, with one local official calling it ridiculous. Backers of the project hope it will attract thousands of visitors, and create jobs. AP Photo/Banks Group.
Northumberlandia, which is being called the world's largest human landform, will officially open today. Also know as "The Lady of the North," the land sculpture of a reclining lady will ...
READ MORE
Paul Gauguin, Girl in Front of Open Window, 1898 . AP Photo/Police Rotterdam.
Romanian investigators have not found seven masterpieces that were stolen from a Dutch museum last year, despite extensive searches at several locations after the arrest of three suspected thieves, a ...
READ MORE
Museo de Arte de Ponce Announces Exhibition Of
Two Important Acquisitions For The Scottish National Gallery
A Rare Hans Schäufelein Acquired By The Met
Sales of Thomas Kinkade Artwork Surge After Painter
Louvre Makes History Hosting a Fashion Show by
Neues Museum in Berlin Show to Mark Centenary
Northumberlandia or “Lady of the North” Landform Sculpture
After Searching Multiple Locations, Police Still Looking for

Be Sociable, Share!
This entry was posted in ACTV Exclusive, Coins, Jack McNamara and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>