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How coins are made at the U.S. Mint


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How coins are made at the U.S. Mint


Step #1 Blanking


The U.S. Mint uses strips of metal 13 inches wide and 1,500 feet long to produce nickels, dimes, quarters, half-dollars, and dollars. This strip is run through a punching press to create the blanks which is the round piece of metal that the coin is eventually struck on. The Mint buys ready made zinc coated copper blanks from private contractors.


(Errors in this process: Clips)


Step #2 Annealing, Washing and Drying


The blanks are then taken to a large furnace and heated to make them softer for striking. They then are thrown in a big vat to be chemically washed and then dried.


(Errors in this process: Improper Annealing)


Step #3 Upsetting


The blanks are then sent through an upsetting mill which adds the rims to the coin.



Step #4 Striking


The blanks are then fed into the press. This is the point that the blanks are made into coins. Three dies are involved in the printing of coins the hammer, the anvil, and the collar. The anvil die is the die used to make the reverse of the coin and does not move. The hammer die is a moving die that has the obverse of the coin on it. This die moves towards the blank and the anvil die much like a blacksmiths hammer and anvil. The collar is the die that holds the blank in place and also adds either the smooth edge or the reeding along the edge.


(Errors in this process: Off Centers, Broadstrikes, Multi Strikes, Strike Throughs, Die Caps, Fold Over Strikes, Die Cracks and Gouges, Double Dies, Repunched Mint Marks)



Step #5 Inspecting


The coins are then ran over a riddler which bounces the coins over a series of holes on a slope to take all the misshapen coins out. The remaining coins that have passed through the riddler are then inspected by mint employees. It is impossible to inspect every coin that is produced so some errors slip by.


Step #6 Counting, Bagging, and Shipping


The coins are then counted and placed into large ballistic bags which hold thousands and thousands of coins. These are then shipped to the various federal reserve banks and from there on to your local banks.





© 2005 Matt Dinger

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