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The U.S. Mint (USM) is responsible for the production and distribution of all coins in the United States. The mint also facilitates the flow of gold and precious metal bullion within the country. The U.S. Mint is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Back in 1652, when America was just a group of colonies, a mint was created in Boston to produce the country’s first coins. However, it wasn’t until 1792 that the United States Mint came into existence through the Coinage Act of 1792. This act of Congress established the first national mint. The first location chosen by Congress for the mint was Philadelphia, which was the country’s capital at the time. At the time of its inception, the USM was originally governed by the U.S. Department of State.
The mint’s original coin production was as follows:
Quarter eagle ($2.50)
Half eagle ($5)
Just a few years later in 1799, the U.S. government decided to make the mint an independent agency. This allowed the USM to operate more like a business, taking precious metals and converting them into coinage for anyone who wanted. This proved to be a fruitful undertaking, especially due to the influx of gold that followed. In the early 1800s, the U.S. saw a gold rush in both the southern and western regions of the country. In order to keep up with demand, the mint opened three new branches in the South (in Charlotte, North Carolina; Dahlonega, Georgia; and New Orleans) and another in San Francisco to mint both gold and silver coins.
Ultimately, the U.S. government decided to bring the mint back under its own jurisdiction. As a result, in 1873 the mint was placed under the Department of the Treasury. From this point forward, the USM only produced and minted coins for the Treasury to be circulated by the country’s government.
In order to meet the demand for minting during this time, the USM not only needed manufacturing facilities to produce coins but somewhere to store bullion deposits. So, in 1936, the U.S. Mint opened the Fort Knox Bullion Depository in Fort Knox, Kentucky which still acts as the storehouse for over half of the country’s bullion reserves today.
Circulated coinage, medals, and awards
San Francisco, CA
Proof coinage, Susan B. Anthony Dollar
Circulated coinage, mint sets, commemorative coins
West Point, NY
Commemorative coinage and stored gold
*bullion coins and coins minted from 1965-1967 do not have mint marks.
From the mint’s early days in Philadelphia, gold production was a key area of its business. With the California gold rush in the 1800s, mints in Colorado, California, Louisiana, Georgia, and North Carolina were used to refine gold deposits brought in by an increasing number of miners in those areas. Then, when the U.S. adopted the gold standard in 1900, backing all of its currency with gold, the demand for the mint’s gold services increased even further.
But there was a lull in gold production beginning in 1933 when private gold ownership (outside of jewelry and collectors’ coins) was made illegal in the country. This caused gold production by the mint to come to a grinding halt until the ban was lifted in 1974.
Today, the U.S. Mint serves a variety of functions for the country’s gold market. These include:
The mint’s major gold coin produced is the American Eagle Gold Coin. This coin comes as both a proof coin and bullion. The investment-grade bullion coin comes in four sizes: one ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce. The mint also released the American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coin, a limited edition bullion coin, which is available as a one-ounce coin.
Meanwhile, proof coinage, like that of the American Eagle Gold Proof Coin, are incredibly popular collector’s pieces. These coins are limited mintings and of the highest quality the mint has to offer. They too come in four sizes: one ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce.
Shop all U.S. Mint gold coins at BullionMax