U. S. Mint and Money

A mint is a manufacturing location where a country makes coins which will be used for money. The United States Constitution states 'the Congress shall have the power to coin money.' After the founding fathers wrote the Constitution, they realized the need for a well-planned system of money to be used throughout the United States.

Alexander Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury. In 1792, he drew up plans for a national mint. Congress passed The Coinage Act in April, 1792. This act gave orders for the creation of a mint in Philadelphia. Philadelphia was the capital of the United States at that time. David Rittenhouse from Philadelphia became the director of the mint. His first job was to buy a piece of land for the mint. The building on that piece of land was three stories high and was the tallest building in Philadelphia in 1792. The mint moved several times in the city because it needed more room and today is at its final and fourth location.

Its first coins were produced in March, 1793. These were 11,178 copper cents. Soon the mint began making coins from gold and silver. It is said that George Washington gave the mint some of his own silver for making silver coins.

The new mint director worked for President George Washington and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. It became an agency of the government in 1799. Gold was discovered in the South in the early 1800's. The population of the South grew. As a result, President Andrew Jackson created three new mints in addition to the one in Philadelphia. In 1835, mints were begun in New Orleans, Louisiana; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Dahlonega, Georgia. The mints at Charlotte and Dahlonega made only gold coins. All three of the mints closed following the Civil War, after 1865.

Because of the discovery of gold in the West, mints were begun in San Francisco, California, in 1854 and Denver, Colorado, in 1863. After the Civil War, many other locations for mints were chosen around the country. The headquarters of the United States Mint moved to Washington, D. C., in 1873.

Today, there are five mints. The Philadelphia and Denver locations produce circulating coins (coins people use). The mint in San Francisco makes coins for collections. Coin collectors are called Numismatists. They buy many new coins and keep them in protective sleeves or containers so that they are never handled. The value of untouched coins grows over the years.

In 1938, a new mint was created in West Point, New York. It minted pennies from 1974 to 1976 to help out other mints with their high demand. Today, most of the silver bullion of the United States is stored there besides about one-fourth of the gold reserves. Silver bullion are bars of silver. The word 'bullion' comes from the name of a French Finance Minister, Claude de Bullion. The facility at Fort Knox, Kentucky, does not make coins. It just stores valuable bullion. It is called the United States Bullion Depository.

Congress gave to the United States Mint the power to make coins for foreign countries in 1874. It could do so if it did not interfere with producing coins for America. The mint in Philadelphia made two million 2 1/2 centavo coins and ten million 1 centavo coins in 1875-1876. Up through the 1980's, coins were made for more than forty governments. It even made coins for Hawaii in 1883-1884 before it officially became a state.

A: Boston
B: San Francisco
C: Denver
D: Philadelphia

A: Thomas Jefferson
B: Alexander Hamilton
C: John Clay
D: John Adams

A: Andrew Jackson
B: Alexander Hamilton
C: Thomas Jefferson
D: Samuel Adams

A: Silver dimes
B: Silver nickels
C: Copper pennies
D: Silver quarters

A: 12
B: 3
C: 5
D: 2

A: Collects jewels
B: Collects coins
C: Collects silver spoons
D: Collects gold rings

To link to this U. S. Mint and Money page, copy the following code to your site: