The Mints of the United States

United States One Dollar Proof CoinIf you’ve ever looked at a coin, chances are you’ve been interested in what was on it. There’s the year it was stamped, various Latin sayings, some images of buildings or famous individuals from US history, and there usually is a random letter. You probably know that the letter corresponds to the Mint facility that produced the coin, but what letter stands for what? How Mint facilities are there? Where are they located?

The United States Mint is the agency in the United States Government responsible for the production of coins used in the US. It was created in 1792 by the Coinage Age of 1792 and put within the State Department. Later that year, the Mint opened its main branch in Philadelphia, PA and soon expanded to include several facilities across the United States. In 1799, with the Coinage Act of 1873, it was made an independent agency.

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 Personal Finance 

Most Valuable Regular U.S. Coin

Every time I get home, I pull out any change I have and throw it into a small container. As I was pulling out quarters to put in my car, I noticed a nickel that looked different from the one beside it. It was a 1941-P (it actually didn’t have a letter, which means it was minted in Philadelphia) and looked more gray than the 2001-P right next to it. Not being a numismatist, I searched online to see if there was anything special about it.

There wasn’t, it was just old and beat up. They wouldn’t be a little more special until mid-1942, until 1945) when “Wartime Nickels” were produced. Wartime nickels were made of 56% Copper, 35% Silver, and 9% Manganese rather than 75% Copper and 25% Nickel.

That led me to reading more about coins and learning about the most valuable regular U.S. coin. I wanted to find a coin you could conceivably have in your pocket or piggy bank and just not know. I wasn’t looking for the 1805 Silver Dollar, worth $10.1 million, or the 1933 Double Eagle, worth $8.5 million (more exceptionally valuable U.S. coins). If you have one of those, you know it.

No, I wanted a regular coin.
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Five Money Saving Bank Hacks

Bank Hacks In Your FavorBanks offer a lot of services and features. You probably know most of the popular ones. Heck, you probably know most of the not so popular ones. However, I am pretty certain that there is at least one thing on the follow list that you didn’t know about before. And if I’m wrong, I invite you to look at these 7 Unwritten and Often Forgotten Credit Card Secrets, and hopefully between the two you’ll learn something new that will save you some money in these difficult times.

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 Your Take 

Your Take: Drop the Penny & Nickel?

It currently costs more to make a penny and a nickel than they’re actually worth. So that begs, the question, should we really be expending resources arguing about how to reconstitute the coins (switching to cheaper metals) or should we just drop the coins all together?

What’s funny is that the fact that the coins are worth more for their metals than they are in stores isn’t even a big deal. There’s so much fiat money floating around that the Mint could always just print just a few more hundred dollar bills to compensate and the public would have no idea (other than inflation would tick a micro-fraction higher, but they play with that number anyway). The bigger issue is that we, as tax-payers, are paying for coins that many wouldn’t even pick up on the street!

What’s your take? Retire the penny and the nickel? Keep the little guys because we need something to stick in our piggy banks?

 Personal Finance 

50 Fun Facts About Cold Hard Cash

$100000 Woodrow Wilson Gold CertificateCash, cabbage, paper, scratch, scrizzle, dineros, dough, whatever you want to call it, it’s all means the same – it’s cold hard cash. There is plenty of useless and fun trivia about currency that is certainly fun to know and you guessed it, I’m going to give you at least fifty fun facts about currency, mostly US facts but a sprinkling of international ones near the end. The first bunch have to deal with US money history in general such as the creation of the Mint and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, then moves onto specifics about the bills and coins such as what they are made of. Then we move onto some of the interesting facts that deal with counterfeiting. The 50 facts end with a few facts on what you should do with damaged or mutilated currency and then a few international facts for those of you looking to get an edge in Trivial Pursuit. I hope you enjoy it!

Oh, and in keeping with the tradition of these 50 fun facts posts, I added a few bonus facts so there are a few more than 50 in the list. If you enjoy this list, you might enjoy 50 Fun Facts about Credit Cards and 50 Fun Facts about Banks.

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 Personal Finance 

No Official Colorized Coins

Have you ever flipped through the advertisements in the back of a magazine and seen regular old coins done up in their Sunday best? I’m talking about coins like quarters in full color (colorized, if you will). I have and I’ve wondered if those things were legitimate productions of the US Mint – they are not. The coins themselves are real but the introduction of color is strictly a third party creation. The Mint has never produced or sold colorized coins, according to their website, and businesses don’t need permission to paint up coins (unless the Mint has a copyright). Don’t confuse colorized coins with “bimetallic” coins. The US Mint does create “bimetallic” coins, that is a coin made of two different types of metals (like the 2000 Library of Congress Commemorative Bimetallic Ten Dollar Coin made of platinum and gold), it just doesn’t put color to coins.

Should you buy these coins as an investment? Who knows… but the fact that they’re being advertised in the back of a magazine probably tells you something. I know I wouldn’t.

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