Congress Shall Have The Power...To coin Money and regulate the value thereof."
United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8.
The United States Mint
The framers of the United States Constitution realized that
they needed a respected money system after they created the new government.
Soon after the signing of the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton, who was the Secretary of
the Treasury, made plans for the first national mint. On
April 2, 1792, Congress built a mint in Philadelphia, the nation's capitol. The mint
was the first federal building built under the Constitution. The first director of
the mint was David Rittenhouse, a leading American scientist. In 1793, the new
U.S. mint produced and delivered 11,178 copper cents which were its first circulating
coins. Soon afterwards, it began issuing gold and silver coins too. President
George Washington lived just a few blocks from the mint, and is said to have given his own
silver to be minted.
In 1792, a law was made that all American money was to be made
out of silver, gold, or copper. All ten dollar, five dollar, and two dollar
fifty-cent pieces were made of gold. During the Great Depression in 1933, the mint
stopped making gold coins. There was a silver crisis in 1965and they had to
replace the silver in quarters and dimes. They are now made of copper and nickel
alloy. From 1965-1970 the half dollar was made of 40% silver. Now, it is
also made of copper and nickel alloy. Pennies are made of copper-plated zinc,
which is less expensive for the mint to make.
United States Mint
The United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing
. The Bureau was established on August 29,1862,
in the basement of the main Treasury
building. There were only six employees then. Today there are about 2,500
employees who work in two buildings in Washington D.C. and a new building in Fort Worth
Texas. The Bureau produces our paper currency. There are only nine
engravers in the whole U.S. who work for the Bureau, and they engrave each printing plate by hand! They
produce over a billion federal reserve notes each year. The bureau uses a paper that is
composed of 25% linen and 75% cotton. Red and blue synthetic fibers are distributed
throughout the paper. Before World War I, the fibers in the paper were made of
silk. The Bureau also produces U.S. postage stamps and produce over 20
billion stamps per year. For 100 years they have been the largest supplier of
postage stamps. They also produce miscellaneous documents of security for other
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find out about the future of money!
U.S. Bureau of Printing and