The US Mint was officially launched in 1792 by Congress as part of the Coinage Act, but coins such as the fugio cent had been produced in America before that.
The US government built a coin mint in Philadelphia, and this - since its update in 1969 - is the largest of four refineries America has. The US Mint also has sites in Denver, San Francisco, and West Point, New York - also a military installation. Their final site is the world-famous bullion storage vault at Fort Knox in Kentucky.
The US Mint owns five sites, and each has a different purpose:
Philadelphia: As the oldest site, Philadelphia is also the central operating point for the US Mint. The die masters and design work is all done from this location. Like the Royal Mint, the Philadelphia mint offers a visitor experience to tour people around the refinery and explain the minting process and the history of the US Mint.
Denver: Founded in 1863, the Denver mint started life as an assay office for proofing gold. Due to its popularity the Denver site was upgraded to a mint in 1906, and is responsible primarily for circulation coinage.
San Francisco: The San Francisco mint was opened earlier than Denver, in 1854, in response to the California Gold Rush. Earthquakes and fires hindered the site, but rebuilds salvaged the mint each time. Today the US Mint uses San Francisco to produce its proof coinage.
New York (West Point): The most recent addition is the West Point mint in New York. A military stronghold and historical battleground, West Point operated as a bullion depository from 1938 and grew into a small-scale mint producing cent coins, before being granted full mint status in 1988. The site is still used as a bullion vault, but it is also responsible for production of all American Eagle coins.
Fort Knox: The famous Fort Knox in Kentucky is a gold and silver bullion depository. The site serves as a heavily guarded vault on behalf of the US government, and featured in the James Bond classic 'Goldfinger' as the target of the villain Auric Goldfinger for an audacious robbery. No such theft has occurred in real life however, with a sizeable military presence and complex security system making success from such an attempt virtually impossible.
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