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United States Mint

Where pocket change and commemorative coins are made

United States Mint

Front of the United States Mint in Philadelphia. Credit: J. Smith for GPTMC

Description

The Experience

Even though the U.S. capital moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., in 1800, the manufacture of coins and medals has stayed primarily in Philadelphia for the past two centuries. Though there are mints in Denver and San Francisco, at least half of the nation’s circulating coins and most of the commemorative medals are struck in this building; check the coins in your pocket for the trademark “P” that indicates its origin.

Visitors get to watch operations on the mint floor – from high above and behind protective glass, to be sure. Interactive displays depict the many presidential and honorary commemoratives designed and made here. You’ll also see early mint and coining equipment and rare and historic coins.

History

The first U.S. Mint opened in 1792 at 7th and Arch Streets, only two blocks from the current facility; it was the first new government structure in the new country. George Washington, who lived nearby, was said to have donated his own silver to make some of the first coins. The current building, opened in 1969, is the fourth Philadelphia Mint.

Other Information

PUBLIC TOURS RETURN!
The Mint reinstituted public tours in April 2005 (tours were suspended after 9/11). The hours for the free, self-guided tours are Mon-Fri, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. except on federal holidays.

Insider Tip

This is one place where the gift shop is as good as the museum, since it has its own displays of rare and interesting coins.

Great Kids’ Stuff

Before he died, that stuffed bird in the lobby was the mint’s adopted pet; he was allowed to fly among the coins for good luck.

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