How Money is Made

History of How Coins Are Made

The US Mint has a long history. Nine years after the Revolutionary War ended, Congress passed the Coinage Act creating the United States Mint in 1792. People in colonial days used a variety of foreign and colonial money. The new legislation called for a national mint located in the capital; at that time it was Philadelphia.

Coins are still minted at the United States Mint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However there are three other locations in our country and they are in San Francisco, California, West Point, New York, and Denver, Colorado. Every year, the mint makes between 14 and 28 million circulating coins. The coins start as coils—rolled-up strips of flat metal that are about a foot wide, 1,500 feet long, and weigh close to 6,000 pounds! That is the weight of a medium size elephant.

The mint makes seven coins—one cent (penny), five cents (nickel), ten cents (dime), twenty-five cents (quarter), fifty cents (half-dollar) and one dollar (Presidential and Native American dollars). Do you have all of those in your pocket or coin purse right now?

There are four phrases that must appear on all coins:

Penny Front - Engraving: In God We trust, Engraving: Liberty  
Penny Back - Engraving: United States of America, Engraving: E Pluribus Unum (Latin for 'Out of many, one')  

Roll over to see front and back  


To learn more about the steps in making a coin, visit the virtual tour on the U.S. Mint website.