United States Mint

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United States Mint
US-Mint-Seal.svg
Seal of the U.S. Mint
New US Mint Logo.svg
Logo of the U.S. Mint
Agency overview
FormedApril 2, 1792;227 years ago (1792-04-02)
Jurisdiction Federal government of the United States
Headquarters 38°54′01″N77°01′25″W / 38.90028°N 77.02361°W / 38.90028; -77.02361 Coordinates: 38°54′01″N77°01′25″W / 38.90028°N 77.02361°W / 38.90028; -77.02361
Washington, D.C., USA
Employees1,845 (2006)
Agency executive
Parent agency Department of the Treasury
Website USMint.gov

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 Department of the Treasury United States federal executive department

The Department of the Treasury (USDT) is an executive department and the treasury of the United States federal government. Established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government revenue, the Treasury prints all paper currency and mints all coins in circulation through the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the United States Mint, respectively; collects all federal taxes through the Internal Revenue Service; manages U.S. government debt instruments; licenses and supervises banks and thrift institutions; and advises the legislative and executive branches on matters of fiscal policy.

A currency, in the most specific sense is money in any form when in use or circulation as a medium of exchange, especially circulating banknotes and coins. A more general definition is that a currency is a system of money in common use, especially for people in a nation. Under this definition, US dollars (US$), pounds sterling (£), Australian dollars (A$), European euros (€), Russian rubles (₽) and Indian Rupees (₹) are examples of currencies. These various currencies are recognized as stores of value and are traded between nations in foreign exchange markets, which determine the relative values of the different currencies. Currencies in this sense are defined by governments, and each type has limited boundaries of acceptance.

Trade Exchange of goods and services.

Trade involves the transfer of goods or services from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. A system or network that allows trade is called a market.

Contents

History

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. San Francisco-First US Branch Mint-1854.jpg
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.

Congress of the Confederation governing body of the United States of America that existed from March 1, 1781, to March 4, 1789

The Congress of the Confederation, or the Confederation Congress, formally referred to as the United States in Congress Assembled, was the governing body of the United States of America that existed from March 1, 1781, to March 4, 1789. A unicameral body with legislative and executive function, it was composed of delegates appointed by the legislatures of the several states. Each state delegation had one vote. It was preceded by the Second Continental Congress (1775–1781) and was created by the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union in 1781. The Congress continued to refer itself as the Continental Congress throughout its eight-year history, although modern historians separate it from the earlier bodies, which operated under slightly different rules and procedures until the later part of American Revolutionary War. The membership of the Second Continental Congress automatically carried over to the Congress of the Confederation when the latter was created by the ratification of the Articles of Confederation. It had the same secretary as the Second Continental Congress, namely Charles Thomson. The Congress of the Confederation was succeeded by the Congress of the United States as provided for in the new Constitution of the United States, proposed September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia and ratified by the states through 1787 to 1788 and even into 1789 and 1790.

Fugio Cent

The Fugio cent, also known as the Franklin cent, is the first official circulation coin of United States. Consisting of 0.36 oz of copper, it was designed by Benjamin Franklin and minted only in 1787. Its design is very similar to a 1776 "Continental dollar" coin that was produced in pattern pieces as potential Continental currency but was never circulated.

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]

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States, and consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election, though vacancies in the Senate may be filled by a gubernatorial appointment. Congress has 535 voting members: 435 representatives and 100 senators. The House of Representatives has six non-voting members representing Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia in addition to its 435 voting members. Although they cannot vote in the full house, these members can address the house, sit and vote in congressional committees, and introduce legislation.

Coinage Act of 1792

The Coinage Act or the Mint Act, passed by the United States Congress on April 2, 1792, created the United States dollar as the country's standard unit of money, established the United States Mint, and regulated the coinage of the United States. The long title of the legislation is An act establishing a mint, and regulating the Coins of the United States. This act established the silver dollar as the unit of money in the United States, declared it to be lawful tender, and created a decimal system for U.S. currency.

United States Department of State United States federal executive department responsible for foreign affairs

The United States Department of State (DOS), commonly referred to as the State Department, is a federal executive department that is equivalent to the foreign ministry of other countries, advising the U.S. President on foreign policy and conducting international relations. It was established in 1789 as the nation's first executive department.

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.

Seigniorage, also spelled seignorage or seigneurage, is the difference between the value of money and the cost to produce and distribute it. The term can be applied in two ways:

Refining is the process of purification of a (1) substance or a (2) form. The term is usually used of a natural resource that is almost in a usable form, but which is more useful in its pure form. For instance, most types of natural petroleum will burn straight from the ground, but it will burn poorly and quickly clog an engine with residues and by-products. The term is broad, and may include more drastic transformations, such as the reduction of ore to metal.

Coinage Act of 1873

The Coinage Act of 1873 or Mint Act of 1873, 17 Stat. 424, was a general revision of the laws relating to the Mint of the United States. In abolishing the right of holders of silver bullion to have their metal struck into fully legal tender dollar coins, it ended bimetallism in the United States, placing the nation firmly on the gold standard. Because of this, the act became contentious in later years, and was denounced by some as the "Crime of '73".

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.

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.

David Rittenhouse American astronomer

David Rittenhouse was an American astronomer, inventor, clockmaker, mathematician, surveyor, scientific instrument craftsman, and public official. Rittenhouse was a member of the American Philosophical Society and the first director of the United States Mint.

Edmund C. Moy former director of United States Mint, businessman

Edmund C. Moy is an American businessman and former government official. From 2006 to 2011 he served as the 38th Director of the United States Mint.

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).

Branch mint

A branch mint is a satellite operation of (usually) a national mint. In many cases it will add a Mint mark to coins that is different from the one that may be used at the main facility, although each country has different rules that may vary over time. Added letters are shown below for the United States, France, and Switzerland. Because of this difference coins produced at branch mints may be worth more or less to collectors than those from the main one, depending on their mintages.

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.

A mint mark is a letter, symbol or an inscription on a coin indicating the mint where the coin was produced.

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

The Philadelphia Mint United States Mint Philadelphia.jpg
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

The Denver Mint Denver mint.jpg
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

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. Largest coin press in the world for San Francisco mint.JPG
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:

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

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

Reverse of a wartime nickel, with the P mintmark of the Philadelphia mint located above Monticello 1945-P-Jefferson-War-Nickel-Reverse.JPG
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

Related Research Articles

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Coins of the United States dollar were first minted in 1792. New coins have been produced annually and they make up a valuable aspect of the United States currency system. Today, circulating coins exist in denominations of 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, and $1.00. Also minted are bullion and commemorative coins. All of these are produced by the United States Mint. The coins are then sold to Federal Reserve Banks which in turn are responsible for putting coins into circulation and withdrawing them as demanded by the country's economy.

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San Francisco Mint branch of the United States Mint

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West Point Mint

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The Manila Mint 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.

Quarter eagle

The quarter eagle was a gold coin issued by the United States with a denomination of two hundred and fifty cents, or two dollars and fifty cents. It was given its name in the Coinage Act of 1792, as a derivation from the US ten-dollar eagle coin. Its purchasing power in 1800 would be equivalent to $71.12 in 2015 dollars.

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Half eagle coin

The half eagle is a United States coin that was produced for circulation from 1795 to 1929 and in commemorative and bullion coins since the 1980s. Composed almost entirely of gold, it has a face value of five dollars. Its production was authorized by The Act of April 2, 1792, and it was the first gold coin minted by the United States.

Washington quarter

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United States dollar Currency of the United States of America

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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/