The Denver Mint is a branch of the United States Mint located in the capital of Colorado, Denver in the United States. It is currently operating and minting coins for circulation, as well as mint sets and commemorative coins. Coins produced here bear a D mint mark, which was formerly used by the Dahlonega Mint before it was closed. The Denver Mint is the single largest coin producer in the world.
The predecessor of the Denver Mint was the Clark, Gruber & Company. During the Gold Rush at Pikes Peak, they coined gold dust brought from the fields by the miners. From 1860 to 1861, gold coins were minted, and then ingots in 1862. During 1863, the company was formally purchased by the United States Treasury.
Created by an Act of Congress on April 21, 1862, the Denver Mint opened for business during late 1863 as a United States Assay Office. Operations of the mint began in the facilities of Clark, Gruber & Company, found at 16th and Market Streets and acquired by the government for $25,000.
Unlike its predecessor, the Denver plant performed no coinage of gold as it was first intended to do. A reason for the lack of coinage produced by the Denver Mint given by the director was "... the hostility of the Indian tribes along the routes, doubtless instigated by rebel emissaries (there being a Civil War) and bad white men."
Gold and gold nuggets were brought to the Denver Mint by miners from the area and were accepted by the Assay Office for melting, assaying, and stamping cast gold bars. These bars were then returned to the depositors as imparted bars stamped with the weight and fineness of gold. Most of this gold came from the beds of placer gold located in streams and first discovered during 1858, the same exact year that Denver was founded.
After the gold supply from streams depleted, lode mining was emphasized, uncovering veins of ore with high amounts of gold and silver. By 1869, the annual value of gold and silver deposited here reached over $5.6 million. During its early years as an Assay Office, it was the most substantial structure located in Denver.
The US Treasury did not expand its smelting and refining operations simultaneously as the discovery and production of gold. During 1872, a group of businessmen led by Hiram Bond, Joseph Miner, and the mayor of Denver, Joseph E. Bates established a firm Denver Smelting and Refining Works, which built an independent complementary plant which processed ore into ingots which were subsequently assayed, weighed, and stamped by the Denver Mint.
There was new hope for a branch mint status when the United States Congress provided money for establishing a mint at Denver for the production of gold and silver coins. On April 22, 1896, the site for the new mint at West Colfax and Delaware streets was purchased for approximately $60,000. Its construction began and ended in 1897.
Public funds to complete and equip the Denver Mint were not adequate, and the transfer of the assay operations to the new building were delayed up until September 1, 1904. Coinage operations at the mint finally began during February 1906, advancing its status to Branch Mint. In addition, before the machinery to be used for the Mint was installed for use, it was sent to the St. Louis Exposition of 1904 to be displayed. In 1906, silver coins were minted at the facility for the first time. During its first year of coin circulation, 167 million coins, including $20 gold (double eagle) coins, $10 gold (eagle) coins, $5 gold (half eagle) coins, and various denominations of silver coins.
|United States Mint|
|Active mints||Denver • Fort Knox • Philadelphia • San Francisco • West Point|
|Historical mints||Carson City • Charlotte • Dahlonega • Manila, Philippines • New Orleans|