The city of Denver was founded in 1859 as a result of the Colorado gold rush and after passage of an Act of Congress in 1862 a US Assay Office was opened in 1863 by purchasing for $25,000 the private mint Clark, Gruber and Company located at 16th and Market Streets.
Initially, no coins were produced by the facility and during the initial years of the Assay Office’s existence miners would bring in their gold nuggets and dust to be assayed, melted and cast into ingots. In fact, in 1895 almost $6 million in gold and silver was processed by the facility.
To meet growing demand in the country for coins Congress authorized the formal establishment of the Denver Mint in 1895. A site was purchased and construction began in 1897 but due to insufficient government appropriations the newly completed Mint only did assaying from 1904 until 1906 when the machinery to produce coins was finally installed.
In its first year the new Denver Mint produced over 167 million gold and silver coins worth $27 million. Today, however, the Denver Mint can produce over 50 million coins a day if it needs to.
The Mint produces every denomination of coin currently in circulation and makes working dies for itself as well as some of the dies used by the San Francisco Mint. It also produces the “D" mint marked uncirculated coin sets, some commemorative coins and stores some silver and gold bullion.
The Mint is one of the oldest institutions in Colorado and is renowned for its beautiful architectural style. Located at 320 West Colfax Avenue public tours similar to the Philadelphia Mint are available where you can see actual coins being produced.
Note that unlike the Philadelphia Mint reservations are required for tours of the Denver Mint and you can schedule them via the Internet by going to the US Mint website or you can make them at the Reservations Booth located in the Mint’s Visitor Center.
For more information about coin collecting visit us today at Coin Collectors where we have helpful information on collecting US State Quarters