PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Here’s a true treasure trove in Old City: the United States Mint.
The Mint is celebrating its 225th anniversary. The building on Independence Mall East is a stone’s throw from many of the most historic buildings in the nation.
“This is the largest mint in the world and we make more coins here than any place else in the world,” said Tim Grant of the U.S. Mint.
Visitors can watch all this action from above. But thanks to Tim, we got to see a close look of how coins are churned out every day.
Let’s back up to where it really begins: the design. Phebe Hemphill is one of the sculptor-engraver artists who make a 2-dimensional picture into a tiny 3-dimensional sculpture, working with clay and plaster before touching up digitally.
“We on the inside, we get to sculpt all of the coins and medals,” Phebe said.
Joseph Menna is a sculptor as well. He works exclusively in digital. He showed us his work on a Reagan presidential dollar design.
“So my design is to recreate his 2-dimensional drawing with as much fidelity as possible in a 3D format,” Joseph said.
Once the digital design is perfect, it’s off to the production line to make the design into dies.
On the plant floor, machines cut blanks out of long sheets of metal that come rolled like carpet.
“Each one of those rolls weighs about 4 tons,” Grant said.
It only takes one strike, and the coins are complete.
“The hardworking and dedicated men and women here at the U.S. Mint make about 35 million coins here every single day, and we ship them out to Federal Reserve Banks around the country,” Grant said.
This is also where decades of commemorative coins and medals have come to life, giving people a little history on their shelves and in their pockets.
Find out more at: https://www.usmint.gov/mint_tours/index3159.html?action=philadelphia