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West Point Became a ‘Mint’ in 1988

The West Point Mint facility in New York. (Image courtesy United States Mint.)

The West Point Mint facility in New York. (Image courtesy United States Mint.)

Why was the name of the mint at West Point changed from “depository” to “mint?”

The West Point Bullion Depository was built in 1937. It later became known as the “Fort Knox of Silver” due to the amount of silver bullion stored there. (It also stored a large amount of gold bullion.) In 1983, the facility had the honor of striking the first legal tender gold coins for the United States issued since 1933, that being the $10 Los Angeles Olympic Games commemorative. In 1986, West Point struck gold American Eagle coins on which no mintmark appears. All this activity led to the depository becoming the West Point Mint on March 31, 1988.

When were official Presidential Inaugural medals first issued and are they issued by the U.S. Mint?

Presidential medals have been struck almost continuously throughout our country’s history, but the first official Presidential Inaugural medal was produced in 1901. The medals have been struck by various private mints including Franklin Mint, Hoffman Mint, Medallic Arts, Medalcraft and by the U.S. Mint.

Why aren’t all Official Presidential Inaugural medals struck by the U.S. Mint?

The Official Presidential Inaugural medals are produced by the official Inauguration Committee and are meant to be sold for a profit to help fund the inaugural celebration. For that reason, the medals are made under a contract with the Presidential Inaugural Committee. The U.S. Mint last struck this medal in 1949 for the inauguration of President Harry Truman. All inaugural medals have been struck by privately owned mints since 1953.

Was there an Official Inaugural medal struck for President Donald J. Trump?

Medalcraft Mint was chosen to strike the inaugural medal for President Trump. Trump, however, was unfortunately not satisfied with any of the proposed designs submitted for his approval for his 2017 inauguration. Medalcraft later issued a Trump Inaugural medal sponsored by the Ohio Republican Party. Yet another Medalcraft Inaugural medal has been offered through the website DonaldJTrump.com.

With all this confusion, how can I tell which medal should be considered the Official Inaugural medal for President Trump?

An Official Inaugural medal must be authorized and issued by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, not by the United States Mint, a candidate committee, or by a political organization. The medals celebrate a president and, for that reason, are meant to be apolitical in nature.

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