Bits & Pieces... by David Sundman

Behind The Scenes at The U.S. Mints

[photo: Reverse die for the one-cent piece (left) prior to the tooling process where excess metal is removed to create a finished die (right)]

Reverse die for the one-cent piece (left) prior to the tooling process where excess metal is removed to create a finished die (right)

[photo: 2015-D (Denver) one-cent pieces after striking in a coin bin]

2015-D (Denver) one-cent pieces after striking in a coin bin

[photo: A finished die being examined by an expert die maker for any signs of imperfections]

A finished die being examined by an expert die maker for any signs of imperfections

[photo: I'm with Dennis Tucker, publisher of Whitman Publishing, next to bins of coin ballistic bags in the mint vault storage area.]

I'm with Dennis Tucker, publisher of Whitman Publishing, next to bins of coin ballistic bags in the mint vault storage area.

Earlier this year I was invited to participate in a special behind-the-scenes tour of the Denver, San Francisco and Philadelphia U.S. Mints with Dennis Tucker, the publisher of Whitman Publishing, and my friend Q. David Bowers. Needless to say, I accepted. From time to time I'll be sharing some images of the tour with you – for your education and enjoyment.

The operation of the Denver Mint is first class, from beginning (die-making) to end (coin production), and would compare favorably with any high-quality U.S. manufacturer. If you're ever in Denver, you'll enjoy taking the public tour, but you will not see the sign on the die-making press shown to the lower right.

Of course, as collectors we want to see more errors, but it's understandable that the government coining facilities do not want to create them! Improvements in the production process, including robots and computerized operations, have nearly eliminated coin errors – so those that do escape the mint and get into circulation have a greater value than ever before.

[photo: Shield reverse 2015-D (Denver) Lincoln cent]

Shield reverse 2015-D (Denver) Lincoln cent

[photo:2015-D (Denver) Eisenhower Presidential dollar and a coin press striking the 2015-D Presidential dollars]

2015-D (Denver) Eisenhower Presidential dollar and a coin press striking the 2015-D Presidential dollars