Trip to West Point Mint Begins… Stay Tuned

by Mike Unser on July 20, 2014 · 4 comments

U.S. Mint at West Point

A photo of the West Point Mint taken in June 2013

This week my brother Darrin and I are visiting the U.S. Mint at West Point. This will be Darrin’s first visit and my second. I was there last year for a media event that shined spotlights on the history of the site and its 75th anniversary.

Two enticing moments then were seeing the vault of nearly 4,300 gold bars and the striking of reverse proof Gold Buffalos to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the coin’s designs.

One of the anticipated highlights for this latest trip is watching how 2014-W 50th Anniversary 24K Gold Kennedy half-dollars are made. The United States Mint plans to have 40,000 gold Kennedy halves ready for sale and shipping on the first day of release, Aug. 5. We hope to bring you news and photos of them as soon as possible.

In any event and to the point of this quick column, Darrin and I are the busiest writers for CoinNews.net. With our traveling to and from, and the visit itself, there will be 2 or 3 fewer articles this week but we’ll make up for it later with a series about the West Point Mint and the great group of people working there.

So, please stay tuned… In the meantime, here’s a list of last week’s top 5 articles from CoinNews:

  1. US Mint Sales Plans for 50th Anniversary Kennedy Halves – The U.S. Mint revealed its sales plans for the three products commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Half-Dollar. Details included initial inventory levels and ordering limits at Mint retail shops and the upcoming ANA convention.

  2. Free U.S. Currency Readers for Blind and Visually Impaired – Free currency readers are beginning to make their way to the blind and visually impaired thanks to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s U.S. Currency Reader Program.

  3. Canadian 2014 $200 Towering Forests Silver Coin for $200 – The Royal Canadian Mint is accepting orders for its limited-edition 2014 $200 Towering Forests Silver Coin, the first release from the Landscapes of the North series of $200 silver coins that sell at face value.

  4. US Mint 2015 24K Gold Ultra-High Relief Coin and Silver Medal? – The U.S. Mint announced that the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) will discuss a "potential 2015 24K Gold Ultra-High Relief Coin and accompanying silver medal."

  5. Perth Mint’s Battle of the Coral Sea Silver Bullion Coin Debuts – New this month from the Perth Mint of Australia is its 2014 Battle of the Coral Sea Silver Bullion Coin with each composed from one-half ounce of 99.9% pure silver.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

jim July 20, 2014 at 11:59 am

Can you ask them how many dies they use and how frequently they change dies or refinish them to keep their output sharp and clean? How long do they use a die before it’s retired or they repolish it? What happens to the dies when they’re no longer useful?
Thanks

Bob July 20, 2014 at 4:50 pm

How do I get to visit the WP mint?

Mike Unser July 23, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Jim, dies for the 2014-W Proof 24K Gold Kennedy Half-Dollar are lasting for 600 coins on average. The Mint is getting double that for dies striking the 2014-W Reverse Proof Silver Kennedy Half-Dollar. All working dies are kept for a period of time for quality assurance purposes. They are eventually destroyed by filing off their tops. The plant manager decides when that time is. They do permanently store the first and last coin struck by each die. We’ll talk more about this in upcoming articles.

Bob, the West Point Mint is closed to the public. It’s just not set up for public tours like the facilities in Denver and Philadelphia. And even those tours do not allow photos. Some news media have been fortunate to get inside if they pass a background and security check.

jim July 24, 2014 at 12:23 am

Mike –
Thanks for the info. Wow, they really do have a first strike coin, but they keep it themselves. Do they just put them in a vault and forget about them?
Looking forward to your future articles.
– jim

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