Did you know that coins are not officially coins while they are in the US Mint? While they are there, they are considered “products” and become coins when they arrive at the Federal Reserve.
I had the opportunity to watch a lot of “products” being made today on a field trip with my class. It was very fascinating. The metal that the coins are made out of comes in a 6,000 pound roll. It is spread out and the blank coins are punched into it. The “blanks” are moved on to the pressing process (and some other processes including a cleaning phase) where the design is stamped into it. I don’t remember the exact statistics, but this used to be done one coin at a time by hand during the 1700s. Now they do some million in just 30 minutes.
One of my favorite parts
is a little nerdy was seeing the die that was used to create at least 3 of the the Jefferson peace medals that Lewis and Clark took on their expedition. We read about this in a story in 5th grade, and I was amazed to see it in real life. Sadly, photography is not allowed in the Mint, so I just have a picture of it in my mind.
I really recommend this tour if you are in Philadelphia. It can be as quick or as long as you would like it to be. It is really great if you read all of the things there are to read. Sadly, so many of our students just ran through and looked down into the factory from the windows. They had no idea what they were looking at.
Maybe when they are older they will realize how great of an experience that was.
Total cost: $0 (It is free admission. So is Hershey Park’s Chocolate World, but unlike HPCW, there are no free samples at the end of this trip…)