Denver Gold and Silver Exchange
5475 Leetsdale Dr Suite 210
Denver, Colorado 80246
The Philadelphia Mint was created from the need to
establish a national identity and the needs of commerce in the United
States. This led the Founding Fathers of the United States to make
an establishment of a continental national mint a main priority
after the ratification of the Constitution of the United States.
The Coinage Act of 1792 was entered into law on April 2. Within,
it proclaimed the creation of the United States Mint. Philadelphia
at that time was the nation's capital; therefore the first mint
facility was to be built there. The Mint Act also instituted a decimal
system based on a dollar unit; specified weights, metallic composition
and fineness; and required each United States coin feature "an
impression emblematic of liberty".
First Building (1792-1833)
David Rittenhouse, a leading American scientist, was appointed the
first Director of the Mint by President George Washington. Two lots
were purchased by Rittenhouse on July 18, 1792, at Seventh Street
and 631 Filbert Street in Philadelphia for $4,266.67. The very next
day demolition of an abandoned whiskey distillery on the property
began. Foundation work began on July 31, and by September 7, the
first building was ready for installation of the smelting furnace.
The smelt house has gained the honors of being the very first public
building erected by the United States government.
File:Ye Olde Mint.png
A three-story brick structure facing Seventh Street was constructed
a few months later. Being the tallest and most visible structure
of the mint the words "Ye Olde Mint" were painted on.
Measuring nearly 37 feet (11 m) wide on the street, it only extended
back 33 feet (10 m). The gold and silver for the mint was contained
in basement vaults. The first floor housed deposit and weighing
rooms, along with the press room, where striking coins took place.
Mint official offices were on the second floor, and the assay office
was located on the third floor.
Between the smelt house and "Ye Olde Mint" a mill house
was built. Horses in the basement turned a rolling mill located
on the first floor.
January 1816 saw the destruction of the smelt and mill houses from
a fire. The smelt house was never repaired and all smelting was
done elsewhere. The mill house, which was completely destroyed,
was soon replaced with a large brick building. It included a new
steam engine in the basement to power the machinery above.
Until 1833, these three buildings dutifully provided America with
spendable hard currency to undertake the exploration and growth
of a nation. Operations moved to the second Philadelphia mint in
1833 and the land housing the first mint was sold. In the late 19th
or early 20th century, the property was sold to Frank Stewart, who
approached the city asking them to preserve or relocate the historic
buildings. With no governmental help "Ye Olde Mint" was
demolished between 1907 and 1911. A small plaque now is the only
thing memorializing the spot upon which the largest economy to date
Second Building (1833-1901)
On July 4, 1829, a cornerstone was laid at the intersection of Chestnut
and Juniper. It was designed by William Strickland. The second Philadelphia
Mint, the "Grecian Temple", was constructed of white marble
with classic Greek style columns on front and back. Measuring 150
feet (46 m) wide in front by 204 feet (62 m) deep, it was a huge
improvement over the first facility, in space as well as image.
Opening for business in January 1833, its production was constrained
by the outdated machinery salvaged from "Ye Olde Mint".
Franklin Peale was sent to Europe to study advanced coin making
technologies which were brought back and implemented, increasing
productivity and quality.
The second Philadelphia mint pounded out coins through the American
Civil War, three presidential assassinations, growth from sea to
sea, the telegraph and telephone, and the incandescent light bulb.
The nation exploded from 13 million people to 76 million by 1900,
and demand soon outpaced production.
In 1901, the third Philadelphia Mint was to begin coining operations.
Sold in 1902, the second mint was quickly demolished. The cornerstone
buried in 1833 was unearthed and contained a candy jar with a petrified
cork stoppering it. Inside, three coins, a couple of newspapers,
and a scroll with information on the first mint and the creation
of the second.
Third Building (1901-1969)
The third Philadelphia Mint was built at 1700 Spring Garden Street
and opened in 1901. It was designed by James Knox Taylor. It was
a block from the United States Smelting Company was at Broad and
Spring Garden Streets. In one year alone the mint produced 501,000,000
coins (5/7 of the the U.S. currency minted) as well as well 90,000,000
coins for foreign countries.
A massive structure nearly a full city block, it was an instant
landmark. Characterized by a Roman temple facade, visitors were
to marvel at seven themed glass mosaics designed by Louis C. Tiffany
in a gold backed vaulted ceiling. The mosaics depicted ancient Roman
coin making methods. This mint still stands intact with much of
the interior as well. It was acquired by the Community College of
Philadelphia in 1973.
Current Building (1969-Present)
A mere two blocks from the site of "Ye Olde Mint", the
fourth and current Philadelphia Mint opened its doors in 1969. It
was designed by Philadelphia architect Vincent G. Kling who would
also help design Five Penn Center, Centre Square and the Annenberg
Center for the Performing Arts.
It was the world's largest mint at the time.
Today's mint can coin one million coins in thirty minutes. It
took three years for the original mint to produce that many. This
mint also produces medals and awards for military, governmental
and civil services. Engraving of all dies and strikers only occurs
here. Uncirculated coins minted here have the "P" mint
mark, while circulated coins from before 1980 carried no mint mark
except the Jefferson nickels minted from 1942 - 1945 and the 1979
Susan B. Anthony dollar coins. Since 1980, all coins minted there
have the "P" mint mark except pennies.
Tours can be taken where all stages of minting are explained, along
with displays of past equipment.