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Go to the Philadelphia Mint

Thanks are owed to the U.S. Mint and to the American Numismatic Association for special arrangements made for public visits during convention week Aug. 7-11 in Philadelphia.

If you are planning to attend the ANA’s World’s Fair of Money, make sure you get over to the Philadelphia Mint to see this facility in action.

I know it is often hard to break away from whatever convention commitments you might have, but if you have never seen a real mint before, you owe it to yourself to take this opportunity.

If you have been there already, you owe it to yourself to go back to see what has changed following a major renovation to the public area.

The Mint thinks it is important enough for collectors to see for themselves how coins are made that it has extended regular visiting hours that week. Every day the convention is in session the Philadelphia Mint’s public hours will start at 9 a.m. and continue until 7 p.m. That’s an extra two and a half hours each day. Normally, the Mint closes to the public at 4:30 p.m.

There is no admission charge and visitors can take self-guided tours anytime during public hours. Adults will need photo identification to enter. The Mint can be found at 5th and Arch Streets on Independence Mall.

Every collector knows in his head that mints are factories, but it is important to flesh out this tidbit of knowledge with personal experience of the entire minting process. This kind of knowledge is particularly helpful when it comes to evaluating potential minting errors that you might come across.

It also helps to see presses in action to understand why every coin produced can’t be an MS-70 grade.

I could write that this will make you a better collector. It certainly will.

More simply, though, I think you will find a visit to be both interesting and fun.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."