It was definitely an unforgettable experience, the Philadelphia Mint tours, per Mike and Darrin Unser of CoinNews.net. From the beginning to the end, there was something exciting happening, and the guys caught it on camera.
They dished about everything they could, enough so that they were able to publish seven unique articles that described their eye-witness account. Darrin and Mike offer some final thoughts, and then the photos they’ve taken follow.
Darrin: Recollecting on our tour of the Philadelphia Mint, I can honestly say that it was overwhelming. The massive size of the facility and the myriad of operations that occur within its walls left me in a sort of glazed state as we departed. That being said, the one thing that really keeps bubbling to the surface of my memory is the level of expertise, dedication and pride in their work portrayed by every individual we encountered throughout the day. These people are truly professionals in their respective fields and take ownership of their responsibilities. I am grateful we were allowed to witness the operations of the Mint, but was more personally rewarded with the interaction we made with those who work there. Thank you!
Mike: Ditto. Every U.S. Mint facility is unique, yet common to the three I’ve visited is the pride and dedication exemplified by Mint employees. It’s all very impressive, an enviable culture that is rare within a workplace.
In gathering all the photos into one article, I noticed we forgot to mention Paul Zwizanski, Numismatic Division Chief. The big coining press for the America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Coins was down for a break when we stopped by. Paul and crew were kind enough to jump in, show us the operation and strike some new five ouncers for us. Also, I’d like to thank Tom Jurkowsky, U.S. Mint Director of Public Affairs, and Tim Grant, Exhibits & Public Affairs, for all the help and making our trip possible.
Philadelphia Mint Photos
Immediately below are all of the Philadelphia Mint photos that we’ve presented in our prior articles. If one of the photos catches your attention and you want more information, I suggest clicking on the link to the article itself since they offer so much more. The photos are categorized with their section titles linking to the original articles.
Our first major article that is linked directly above talked about the Philadelphia Mint tour that is free and open to the public. It included some of our own tips. We went through the public tour twice, one time on our own and another time with U.S. Mint officials. The following photos show just a few of the highlights.
The very first thing we did in our private tour of the Philadelphia Mint was visit with United States Mint artists. They showed how they sculpt in clay and digitally. Click the link above for the entire article, here are some photos.
Out next article described and showed how the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia makes hubs and dies. To learn about how hubs and dies are used, we recommend reading the actual article that is linked directly above. Here are photos from the story.
Our next article in the series was about the production stages for minting circulating coins. This one covered the five lines of blanking, annealing and upsetting machines, and nine production lines of seven coining presses, and everything around them. Click the title above to view the in-depth article on making coins for circulation. Here are the photos.
Here, a series of photos and videos show the production process in detail. In the first photo is a monster rack containing coils of metal that will be used to make blanks for coinage. The rack can hold up to 300 coils at a maximum of 10,000 pounds each.
Our next articled described how the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia makes the three-inch America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Coins. The link above offers full details, here are photos with summary information.
In the coin pressing area, a heads or obverse die is anchored. The obverse die serves as the anvil or stationary die. In vertical alignment to the obverse die is the moving reverse hammer die. These dies have the negative designs so they can create the positive coin image. As a blank planchet is fed through and into a three-piece collar (with one of them including edge letterings), the reverse hammer die is driven down toward the obverse anvil die. The metal from the trapped planchet flows between the two dies and collar, transferring the designs, edge letters and creating the coin.
Out next article described how dies are manually polished to impart that cameo effect on proof coins. The dies are first sandblasted to achieve the frosted appearance. Then they are polished with three different grades of diamond dust. It is this process that ultimately results in the mirror-like affect on the backgrounds of proof coins.
The above methods are not applied on all coin dies. Varying levels of die technology come into play based on the intended use. For example, at the San Francisco Mint which produces tens of millions of proof coins each year, dies are placed in a machine for laser frosting after they polished.