The United States Mint is where silver and gold coins are minted in the United States. This historic mint has played an integral role in the history of this country, helping to make it the biggest financial power in the world.
Just what is the United States Mint though, who’s in charge, how long has it been in operation and what exactly does it produce?
What is the US Mint?
The United States Mint was created by US congress to provide the country with coinage. It has been doing its job for over 200 years and has helped to shape the United States of America. As well as minting the currency of this huge country, the United States Mint also produces a vast array of proof coins and bullion coins for investors and collectors, which we shall discuss in more detail further on.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C, and currently headed by Rhett Jeppson — whose official title is Director of the United States Mint — the US Mint employees close to 2,000 people and there are four Mint buildings located across the country.
History of the US Mint
The United States Mint was created in 1792, alongside the Coinage act of the same year. This Coinage Act basically regulated the currency of the USA, declaring the soon-to-be popular silver dollars as one of the primary currency coins, along with half dollars, quarter dollars, cents, half cents, eagles and more. This is essentially where US currency was born, although paper money and the Great Green Dollar would be released sometime later.
Whilst there are four Mint buildings in the US, the first one, and the biggest one, is in Philadelphia, a city which played a big role in the development of the United States, as any American will tell you. The main headquarters, based in D.C, does not actually mint coins, but the Philadelphia building does.
The Director of the United States Mint is a celebrated role and the first man to hold this title was David Rittenhouse, a very talented scientist who held onto the position for three years. In the early days many of the coins were minted in Carson City or San Francisco, and those coins were inscribed with the initials of the place they were minted. This is why many historic American coins bear initials such as “S” or “CC”.
In 1920 the United States Mint also founded the Manilla Mint in the capital of the Philippines, which was a US colony at the time. Unlike the Perth Mint which began as a part of the British Royal Mint and then did great things on its own, the Manilla Mint is no longer standing and instead the country’s main coins come from the Central Bank, known as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Coins from the US Mint
Currently, the Silver American Eagle is one of the most popular coins produced by the United States Mint, but they also produce an array of other popular silver and gold coins, including the America the Beautiful silver coins, Gold Buffalos, Silver Buffalos and more. Like any mint, they also produce coins to celebrate anniversaries and special occasions, and these tend to carry a premium.
Whilst those seeking to invest in precious metals often make a beeline for coins such as the American Eagle, which tends to be sold at a price very close to spot, collectors also value other coins produced by the United States Mint. These other coins can carry a high premium and include the colored Silver Eagles, which are produced in fine gold or fine silver and have also been colored-in. Coin sets are also available from the United States Mint and these tend to be created in very limited amounts, much less than the coins contained within them. Just remember that if you’re buying a set that says there are only 1,000 or so like it, that refers to the set and not the individual coins, which may have been minted in numbers 10 or 100 times greater than that figure.
Some of the most expensive coins in the world have been struck by the United States Mint. These include the Flowing Hair dollar, which is an extremely rare coin that sold for $10 million at auction, despite having a precious metal content to the value of less than $10, and a 1933 Double Eagle, which was struck in fine gold and sold for over $7 million.
Bullion Bars from the US Mint
The coins produced by the United States Mint are widely available, but the same can not be said for bars. Typically, you’ll struggle to find any bullion bars produced by this particular mint. That’s not to say that they don’t produce them — the vast majority of the gold currently sitting in Fort Knox was created by the US Mint after all — but they are not readily available commercially.
If it’s straight-up bullion that you’re after and are only focused on paying as little as possible for your gold or silver, then you should be purchasing American Eagle Dollars. These are produced in vast quantities and, as discussed above, should cost you a little over spot. In fact, you’ll usually find that these coins are some of the cheapest around, typically on par with the silver Maple Leaf coins produced by the Royal Canadian Mint, and the Britannia coins produced by the Royal Mint in the UK.
If you’re looking to make a purchase of any of the coins produced by the United States Mint, then you can do so directly from the mint site. These tend to come at a slightly inflated price though and you should only really purchase from here if you’re looking for some unique commemorative sets or gift sets that are difficult to find elsewhere. A purchase from the mint itself is something that a collector might do, as opposed to an investor seeking to get the best price on their bullion. In either instance, it is also not advised for customers outside the US, especially here in the UK, as shipping charges and potential tax fees make it very expensive.