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Clad coins doubled Philadelphia Mint price


I’m told that the introduction of the clad coins in 1965 doubled the cost of building the Philadelphia Mint. How could that have made a difference?

The switch more than doubled the estimated cost of building the Philadelphia Mint, jumping the estimate from $16.5 million to $37.7 million, principally due to the expensive technology needed to produce clad coinage strip.


Did the Carson City Mint strike coins after 1893?

It struck only medals. A dollar coin press, used at Denver during the 1960s coin shortage, was returned to Carson City and used in 1975 to strike the Nevada ARBC medals. The same reverse die used for the Nevada 1876 centennial medal was used to strike the 1976-dated medals in gold, silver, bronze and copper.

What can you tell me about a big robbery at the Philadelphia Mint?

It’s a nearly forgotten case of employee theft, rather than a robbery, that dates back to 1893. After moving the gold stored in the Mint vaults, it was discovered that $130,000 was missing. The Secret Service obtained a confession from Henry S. Cochran, the chief weighing clerk, who had worked there for 42 years.

Is the master die ever used to strike coins?

Under normal circumstances it would not be used, since the master die is intended as a model from which to make the working hubs and then the working dies. However, the master die often was used to make trial strikes to demonstrate what the proposed coin would look like. In world coinage there are instances where the master die has been used to strike coins in an emergency. The same thing has probably happened with U.S. coinage, but there is virtually no documentation of any such usage.

Wasn’t the original plan to have the first U.S. Mint in New York City?

The original bill in Congress would have placed the Mint in the capital city of the United States. Since New York was serving as the capital, that would have put the U.S. Mint there. However, after deciding to create the District of Columbia as the capital it was determined in 1790 that it would be several years before it would be ready, so Philadelphia was picked as the temporary capital and as a result got the U.S. Mint. At the time Philadelphia was the largest city in the U.S. (45,000 people), even larger than New York.

Address questions to Coin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 42-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to Answerman2@aol.com.

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