The New Student's Reference Work/Mint (coining)

Mint, the place where money is coined by the government of a country, though in early times in England the bishops and barons had the privilege of coining. Until the middle of the 16th century coins were made from pieces of metal cut and hammered. In 1662 the use of the screw or mill became common in England. It was the invention of Antoine Brucher, a French engraver. The gold or silver to be coined is melted and has added to it the amount of copper needed to make it hard enough for use, and is formed into bars. In the United States the silver coins are one tenth copper and nine tenths silver, and in the gold coins one tenth is an alloy or mixture of silver and copper and nine tenths gold. The bars are then passed between rollers which flatten them into strips or ribbons of the right thickness. The gold bars are usually rolled ten times before they are thin enough and the bars of silver eight times. The strips are finally drawn between steel blocks to make them straight. The strips are then cut into pieces of the right size, or blanks, which in the gold coins are weighed by hand before being finished off. If top light, they are sent back to be melted again, and if too heavy the edges are filed off. This is usually done by women, as their delicacy of touch fits them for the work. The blanks are now passed through the milling machine, which finishes the rims of the coins, and then into the coining press, where they are stamped with the figures and letters of the different coins. After careful weighing and inspection and counting, they are put into bags and are ready for circulation. In the United States there are mints at Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, Carson City and Denver, and several assay offices where the metals are prepared for coinage. The mints are under the direction of a branch of the treasury department, called the bureau of the mint. The earliest money coined in the United States was copper cents in 1795, at Philadelphia, where the first mint was established.