San Francisco Mint Coin Production Photos

by Mike Unser on May 3, 2013 · 7 comments

Welcome back to the seventh and last article in a series about the U.S. Mint at San Francisco.

Several Photos Inside of San Francisco Mint

Several photos inside of San Francisco Mint – See nearly 80 more below

Actually, this last piece really isn’t an article. It’s all of the San Francisco Mint photos presented in a larger format and in the order they were shown in the previous articles.

This page also offers me a final opportunity to say thank you for staying with the series — there were tens of thousands of readers per article. Another big thanks to those at the Mint as well. These folks are really dedicated to their work. Larry Eckerman, plant manager since 1999, has assembled an astounding crew and steered the SF Mint through a sea of change, literally. David Jacobs, production manager, and Paul Lewis, industrial manager, described how it used to take over 1,400 hours for an arriving blank to pass through all of the production stages to become a coin and ship out. That time has dropped to less than 100 hours. That’s impressive, and speaks volumes about technical advancements and employee commitment.

I forgot to thank Linda Wargo earlier. She showed me the SF Mint’s labyrinth of underground vaults, giving me access to anything I wanted to see. And a special thank you to Tom Jurkowsky, U.S. Mint Director of Public Affairs. Tom kindly flew in from Washington to join me, walking alongside me during the entire several-hour tour. I think we both got a little workout in the legs that day wearing those slip on, steel-tipped safety shoes.

Let’s get to those pictures…

Below are several dozen inside photos of U.S. Mint at San Francisco. These include photos of the below ground vaults, blank preparation process, die polishing process, laser engraving of dies, pressing of coins, placing proof coins in lenses, packaging proof sets and quality assurance methods. Captions appear under the photos but for much more detail, jump to the articles the photos were first in by clicking on the linked titles at the top of the different headlines.

Under the U.S. Mint at San Francisco

S.F. Mint Vault Door

The main vault door below the San Francisco Mint

San Francisco Mint Vaults

One of the floors of vaults under the SF Mint

Presidential and Native American Dollar Coin Blanks

Bins of dollar blanks that are used to create proof Presidential $1 Coins and proof Native American $1 Coins:

Bullion Blanks for American Silver Eagles

Pallets of silver blanks used for bullion American Silver Eagle coins

Silver Blanks for Half-Dollar

Silver blanks used for half-dollars

Pallets of Coin Blanks

Pallets used to transport coin blanks

Bins of Stored Coin Blanks

Metal crates used to transport coins and blanks

 

U.S. Mint at San Francisco, Preparing Coin Blanks

San Francisco Annealing Furnace

Large furnace used to anneal coinage blank material (Tom Jurkowsky in background)

SF Mint Annealing Furnace Blank Feeder

Annealing furnace blank feeder

Conveyor for Annealing Furnace at San Francisco Mint

Conveyor transporting blanks from furnace to bins

Old SF Mint Annealing Furnace

Old Annealing Furnace. Department of the Treasury. Bureau of the Mint. U.S. Mint, San Francisco, California. (1873 – 07/11/1962)

Upsetting Mill at San Francisco Mint

Upsetting mill which puts a rim effect around the blank

Planchets Spit Out of Upsetting Mill

From the Upset Mill blanks are conveyed to a bin

SF Mint Burnishing Mill and Pellets

Burnishing Mill used to clean, shine and prepare blanks

Burnishing Mill Process

Burnishing process

SF Mint Burnishing Mill, Bowl Tipping

The burnishing bowl drop its contents

Burnishing Mill, Blanks Transferred to Drying Belt

After burnishing, blanks are conveyed onto a drying belt

Long view of SF Mint Burnishing Mill

Along with the drying belt are drying towels placed on the path taken by the blanks to the collecting bin

Blank Bin for Burnishing Mill

Burnished and dried blanks are conveyed into a storage bin where they are later collected and racked

SF Mint Employees Racking Coin Blanks

Blanks are racked into racking trays Xie Deng (left) Li Han Chan (right)

U.S. Mint at San Francisco, Preparing Coin Dies

Proof Coin Dies at US Mint in San Francisco

Two obverse coin dies for 2013 Proof America the Beautiful Quarters and four reverse coin dies for 2013 Proof Presidential $1 Coins

Coin Dies and Die Polishing Tools at SF Mint

Various tools used in the die polishing process

SF Mint Employee Polishing Proof Die

Yin Lau polishing proof dies

Polishing Proof Die for ATB Quarter

Yin Lau polishing a proof America the Beautiful Quarter die

SF Mint Laser Frosting Machine

Laser engraving is used to apply frost to achieve cameo appearance on proof coins

SF Mint Employee and Laser Engraving Machine

Monte Bolmer operating laser engraving machine

Inside Laser Frosting Machine

Actual die being laser engraved

Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) Chamber at SF Mint

Robert Nyein preparing Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) Chamber in Clean Room. The PVD Chamber is an environmentally safe method to chrome plate dies which extends their usage. Before entering the area, you dawn disposable garments in a vented room to control contaminants.

Coin Dies Placed in Physical Vapor Deposition Chamber

Robert Nyein adds dies to PVD Chamber

SF Mint Employee Operating Physical Vapor Deposition Chamber

Nyein operating PVD Chamber

Inside Physical Vapor Deposition

Inside Physical Vapor Deposition Chamber

Several Coin Dies in PVD Chamber

Several coin dies in PVD Chamber

U.S. Mint at San Francisco, Coining Press Room

SF Mint Blank Wash Room

Herby Lam and Linda Lau in blank wash room

Sey Ting Yen towel buffing blanks

Sey Ting Yen towel buffing blanks

Michael Yu racking buffed blanks

Michael Yu racking buffed blanks

Linda Lu racking blanks for the press

Linda Lu racking blanks for the press

Blank staging area in Coining Press Room

Blank staging area in Coining Press Room. These are blanks in line to get pressed

Die Vault Storage Area at SF Mint

Die vault storage area at San Francisco Mint

Coin Dies from SF Mint

Coin dies from SF Mint

Die Tooling Kit

Die Tooling Kit

David Atienza assembling die tooling, photo 2

David Atienza assembling die tooling for obverse of an American Silver Eagle

2013-S Proof Woodrow Wilson Presidential $1 Coin Installed into Collar

2013-S Proof Woodrow Wilson Presidential $1 Coin Die (Obverse) Installed into Collar

2013-S Proof Presidential $1 Coin Die (Reverse) and Die Tooling Parts

2013-S Proof Presidential $1 Coin Die (Reverse) and Die Tooling Parts

SF Mint Employee Assembling Tooling for 2013-S Proof Presidential $1 Coin Reverse Die

SF Mint employee assembling tooling for reverse of Presidential $1 Coin die

2013-S Proof Presidential $1 Coin Die (Reverse) Installed

2013-S Proof Presidential $1 Coin Die (Reverse) Installed

Carlos Dumpit loading magazine for coin press feeding system

Carlos Dumpit loading magazine for coin press feeding system

Planchets for 2013-S Proof Native American $1 Coins

Planchets for 2013-S Proof Native American $1 Coins

Laser machine for die collar engraving

Laser machine for die collar engraving

Machine Shop at San Francisco Mint

Machine Shop at San Francisco Mint

San Francisco Mint Coin Presses and Operators

San Francisco Mint Coin Presses and Press Operators at work Frank Romero (background), Michael Yu (middle) and Michael Lu (front).

William Tan operating coin press

William Tan operating coin press

Internal view of Coining Press at SF Mint

Internal view of Coining Press at SF Mint. Notice the coin in the middle.

Another view of the internal components of a Coin Press. This one shows a coin in the center that has been struck.

Another view of the internal components of a Coin Press. This one shows a closer look at the pressing area by the coin.

2013-S Proof Native American $1 Coins produced on coin press at SF Mint

2013-S Proof Native American $1 Coins produced on coin press at SF Mint

2013 American Eagle silver bullion coins produced on coin press at SF Mint

2013 American Eagle silver bullion coins produced on coin press at SF Mint

Lynn Lobb inspecting bullion product

Lynn Lobb inspecting bullion product

Trays of 2013 American Eagle silver bullion coins

Trays of 2013 American Eagle silver bullion coins

Trays of 2013-S Proof Native American $1 Coins produced at SF Mint

Trays of 2013-S Proof Native American $1 Coins produced at SF Mint

Newly produced 2013-S Proof America the Beautiful Quarters

Newly produced 2013-S Proof America the Beautiful Quarters

U.S. Mint at San Francisco, Packaging Coins and QA

SF Mint employee operating packaging line 054

Don Bishop operating packaging line

Presidential lenses assembled at SF Mint

Presidential lenses being assembled on packaging line

52. Coins being inspected on packaging line

Coins being inspected on packaging line

Automated packaging line at SF Mint

Automated packaging line – up to 80,000 lenses per day can be produced

SF Mint employee operating packaging line

Robert Medrano operating packaging line

SF Mint employee at end of packaging line

Garfield Kincross colleting lenses at the end of the packaging line

Lenses awaiting final cartoning at SF Mint

Lenses awaiting final cartoning

Lenses with cartoning machine's robot arms in the back

Lenses with cartoning machine’s robot arms in the back

A portion of the cartoning line at SF Mint

A portion of the cartoning line – Primary Carton Assembly

Internal view of cartoning line at SF Mint

Internal view of cartoning line

Another section of the cartoning line at SF Mint

A portion of the cartoning line – Case Packer

Finished Proof Set Cartons at SF Mint

Finished Proof Set Cartons at SF Mint

Insertion of finished cartons into shipping container at SF Mint

Insertion of finished cartons into shipping container

US Mint Metallurgist

Micky Fernandes, U.S. Mint, Metallurgist

Exploded view of coin blank

Exploded view of a blank used by San Francisco Mint’s metallurgist

SF Mint employee performing a chemical analysis of silver

Jonathan Okorley performing a chemical analysis of silver

Quality Assurance Lab at SF Mint

Quality Assurance Lab showing chemical analysis equipment

No Longer Used Chemical Exhaust Hoods

Chemical Exhaust Hoods

Inspection station for measuring product

Inspection station for measuring product

Close-up of machine inspecting a lense

Close-up of machine used to measure product, in this case a lense

SF Mint employees operating inspection machine

LaTonia Johnson and Loretta Dickerson operating inspection machine

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

thePhelps May 3, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Thanks for the pictures! It looks like quite the tour and an awesome day. Jealous!

Stan May 3, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Thanks for a very interesting article!

JanetM May 3, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I loved the articles and photos. I’m jealous too!

Henry May 4, 2013 at 5:22 am

So jealous of your visit! Some years ago they had an open call for visitors and I missed out (I live in SF) …

Coin Monger May 4, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Great photos. A very sterile environment. Very automated with the latest technology for producing coins. I think mints generally have had leading edge equipment at their disposal.

Joe May 4, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Sorry to see it end.

ben October 2, 2013 at 3:14 am

I worked as a pressman at the San Francisco branch of the U.S. Mint back in 1974-75 for the Bicentennial Proof Set Program. It was a totally different process of pressing blanks into coins. Like the difference between a Volkswagen bug and a Porsche. Wow! Wish I could find some pictures of the presses we used back then.

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