So many coins have been made in recent years that the Mint needed a better process for producing coins. The production has changed greatly over the years, and now is a very sophisticated and intricate process. Coins are manufactured under strict control and tight security and are under constant surveillance with quality checks conducted at all stages to ensure accountability and to minimize loss.
The modern minting process begins with coin design. An artist concept of a coin’s design is created. Once a design is approved, the process of reducing and refining it to coin size begins. Two dies (steel rods with a face that is the same size of the coin) are needed to strike coins; one will have the obverse design and the other will have the reverse design of the coin.
Once the coin design is set up in a computer, a machine will carve the design directly onto the face of a master hub. Master hubs are created with a computer numerical control milling machine that carves the design directly onto the face of the master hub.
After the master hub is created, it is tested on test dies that strike sample coins. This is done so that if there are any issues, they can be altered and a new master hub can be created. Once it is perfected, the master hub is used to make master dies. The master dies are then used to create working hubs, which will then be used to make working dies that will be used to strike coins.
After the coins are produced, the bagging and distribution process begins. To begin, an automatic counting machine counts the coins and drops them into large bags. Fork lifts then move the pallets of sealed bags to vaults for storage. That’s when the distribution process begins. Trucks take the new coins to the Federal Reserve Banks first, and then are counted and wrapped before being sent to the local banks. The Mint is constantly evolving their processes to ensure efficiency and timeliness.
As you can see, modern coin production is a very tedious task that takes great expertise to complete. The process has undoubtedly become more intricate over time, and will likely continue to do so. Check back on the InfoVault next week to learn about different “strike types” that result from the exact process and die finish used.
||Kelsey graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa with a B.A. in mass communications. She is new to the world of numismatics, but as the Marketing Specialist for MCM is dedicated to learning all there is to know.|