United States Mint

If you’ve ever searched your couch for change after hearing the jingle of the ice cream truck down the street, chances are those coins were produced less than 1 mile away from the ART, a hotel at the United States Mint in Denver, one of six U.S. Mint facilities. The Denver Mint location, an Italian Renaissance-style building modeled after a Florentine palace, is the single largest producer of coins in the world, with millions of coins being made each day. When viewed from the street, the five-story building only looks like it is two stories tall.

A 45-minute guided tour

A free, guided tour will take you on a 45-minute journey to see coils of metal being transformed into billions of coins. Visitors can watch as blanks are punched from 13-inch coiled strips of metal – each about 1,500 feet long. In one day, the Denver Mint can produce more than 50 million coins. Talk about some spare change!

Punching is just the beginning of the process. After the metal has been stamped, the leftover webbing is chopped up to be recycled. Next, the blanks are heated in an annealing furnace to soften them, before being run through a washer and dryer.

After that, the good blanks go through an upsetting mill to raise a rim around the edges. Finally, the blanks are stamped with designs and inscriptions, making them genuine United States coins.

Inspect, count, seal and ship

Press operators use magnifying glasses to check each batch of newly struck coins. Once approved, the coins are put into an automatic counting machine that tallies the coins, dropping them into large sealed bags on pallets. These coins are taken away on fork lifts to vaults for storage until they’re transported to Federal Reserve Banks and onward to your local bank.

Coins produced at the Denver Mint bear a D mint mark. One cent pieces were first produced in Denver in 1911. Nickels followed in 1912.

Check your purse at the door

If you’re considering a trip the Denver Mint, there are a few things you’ll want to know. First, reservations are required, which you can obtain on the USMint.gov. You’ll receive a confirmation number that must be presented upon entering the tour. Space is limited (and fills up quickly), so be certain to secure your reservation.

There are a handful of other rules, too. Here are just a few:

  • Leave purses and backpacks in your hotel room. The Denver Mint only allows a palm-sized wallet or change purse, cameras, cell phones and medically necessary items. The United States Mint does not provide storage for any items.
  • All visitors must be at the tour entrance located on Cherokee Street 30 minutes prior to the start time. Late arrivals will not be admitted.
  • Please be aware that coin production schedules vary, and so there may be times when coins are not being produced during the time of your tour.

Rules aside, prepare to be amazed at the money Denver churns out of this historic building.

United States Mint
320 West Colfax Ave. | 303.405.4761