This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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It was 1792 when our Founding Fathers decided it was time for the United States to mint its own coins.
With Philadelphia as its home, the first federal minting facility occupied three buildings built between 6th and 7th streets on Independence Mall and on the site of the current mint facility.
“Legend has it that Martha Washington donated the family silverware for melting to make the first coins,” said Tim Grant, exhibits and public services manager at the Philadelphia Mint.
In fact, the Mint displays an oil painting, “Inspecting the First Coins,” painted in the early 1900s depicting Martha Washington examining the first coins minted, Grant said. Those 1792 half dismes were actually produced in the celler of John Harper, a saw maker. The first Mint didn’t start coinage operations until 1793.
The current minting facility in Philadelphia is the fourth in that city.
“As the country grew and the demand for coinage increased, we basically outgrew our buildings, and we improved our technology,” Grant said.
The employees at the first mint worked 11 hours a day, six days a week. It took them three years to make our nation’s first 1 million coins.
“We now produce that here in about 30 minutes,” Grant said. “It’s amazing.”
2011 U.S. Coin Digest: Colonial America
Thiseasy-to-search downloadable pdf is purely focused on Colonial America coins, and your best reference for the latest details and values for these circulating and non-circulating coins.
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