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Coin Clinic: Did They Try to Get a Mint in Chicago?

In an answer, you mentioned that the Indian Head and Lincoln cents were struck at the same time in 1909. Weren’t the Buffalo nickels and Jefferson nickels both struck in 1938?

As nearly as I can find, the last Buffalo nickels were struck at Denver in early 1938, legally completing the 25-year requirement. Schlag’s design for the Jefferson nickel was not accepted until late July, so production would not have started until later in the year, meaning the two did not overlap. Philadelphia switched to the new Jefferson design, proofs and circulation strikes in 1938; Denver switched later in the year.

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. In the first year of the new clad coins, the Mint paid more than twice the previous total coin manufacturing cost just for the fabrication of the clad coins, which accounted for less than half of total coin production. The clad strip line was later removed from the Mint and the work contracted to private manufacturers.

Were there any coins minted at the Denver “mint” after it was purchased from Clark, Gruber and Company?

One of the original purposes of the purchase by the U.S. government was a face-saving method of putting Clark, Gruber out of business as a mint. The firm had minted $2.50, $5, $10 and $20 gold pieces, most of which were of finer gold than the U.S. Mint products.

You said that the Indian Head cent was the first minor coin struck at a branch mint. What about the 1851-O 3-cent silver?

Several readers questioned this answer, citing various coins. The half dime, dime, silver 3-cent and all other silver coins except the silver war nickels were classed as “subsidiary” coinage, while the copper-nickel 5-cent, 3-cent, the 2-cent and cent were all classed as “minor” coinage. The difference in language is what makes the statement that I used correct.

Did they try to get a mint at Chicago?

At least two concerted efforts were made to secure a mint for the Windy City. The first was made in 1896 but was unsuccessful. Representative Frank Annunzio introduced a Chicago Mint bill in 1972, but the remodeling of the San Francisco Mint scuttled the proposal.