History Of the Denver Mint

admin May 9, 2011 0

The United States Mint was created in 1792 by Congress. The job of the Mint is to produce the coin currency which is used in the country.  The Mint has offices in Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and West Point.  Coins produced at the Denver Mint have a D mint mark on the coin.

Even before the Mint in Denver was producing coins for the United States government, Denver has been on the forefront of the money making scene.  During the gold rush in the 1860’s, a company known as Clark, Gruber and Company created coins from the gold dust the miners brought in from the gold fields.  In 1862, the United States Mint at Denver opened and the operations began at the building owned by the Clark, Gruber and Company.   In 1863, the Treasury bought the building and the business for $25,000.  In 1896,  the site for the new facility was purchased for about $60,000. Construction of the building began in 1897.  The Denver Mint first began producing coins in 1906, about  50 some odd years after the mint was first established.

There is much speculation about why the mint did not produce coins right from the start of operations.  A clue as to why this might be so can be found in writings left by the Director of the Mint where concerns such as “hostile Indians and rebels from the Civil War” were raised.  The Denver Mint first started producing coins in 1906.

Why was there a need for the Mint if no coins were being created? Even before the Denver Mint began producing coins, it was doing a brisk business. Miners brought gold nuggets which they had found prospecting to the office to exchange for currency. The gold was then melted and stored in the facility.  By 1859, according to records, the value of the gold and silver at the office was about $5.5 million.

In 1922, the Denver Mint was robbed and the thieves made off with more than $200,000. Although the police had a number of suspects, they never found enough evidence to charge anyone with the robbery.  In 1934, 12 years after the robbery, the case was closed.

You can tour the Denver Mint either virtually or in person.  Tours of the facility are free of charge and conducted each hour from 8am to 2pm Monday through Friday. You can tour the facility as an individual, or part of a group.  In order to get information on Denver Mint tours, call 303-405-4759.  You can also make tour reservations online by going to http://www.usmint.gov/mint_tours/?action=StartReservation.

In order to tour the Denver Mint virtually, go to http://www.usmint.gov/mint_tours/?action=vtShell.  No reservation is necessary!

Teachers, Scout leaders, and group leaders might want to contact the Mint to find out more about their free educational programs for school aged children.  As part of these programs, speakers from the Mint go out into the community to talk about various educational topics including the history of the mint and the history of money.  Speakers can also talk on other subjects upon special request. For more information, call 303-405-4755.

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