The $2.2 million big blue Graebener coining press is just about ready for its big job ahead – striking 5-ounce, 3-inch diameter .999 fine silver America the Beautiful bullion coins.
“We’re almost there,” said Sam MacEwan, who heads a crew of three working on the new press at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.
The new coin was scheduled for striking in the third quarter of the year – July, August, September, said Tom Jurkowsky, director of public affairs for the U.S. Mint.
“We’re extremely confident that we will be in that window,” he said. “We are happy with the way the strikes are going.”
Right now, the Mint is waiting for a supply of silver blanks from Sunshine Minting set for delivery in July.
Five coins will be struck in 2010, mirroring the quarter coins struck. Mintages have not yet been set.
During a June 22 visit to the Mint in Philadelphia, I got a look at the new press, and a chance to “push the buttons” to make a trial strike. With 238 tons of pressure hitting the die not once, but twice, it was a powerful feeling.
No photographs of the coin were allowed because it is still in the testing phase. But I got to see it and hold it, and all I can say is: Sweet!