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Check Your Numismatic Mint IQ

By Q. David Bowers, Founder

Author: Q. David Bowers / Wednesday, October 01, 2014 / Categories: From the Desk of Q. David Bowers

Check Your Numismatic Mint IQ


1.      The Philadelphia Mint on Independence Square is the fourth facility occupied by that institution. The first one was built in 1792.  Present at the cornerstone laying was this person, whose home was just a short walk away:

a.       James B. Longacre

b.      George Washington

c.       Alexander Hamilton

d.      None of the above


2.      The Carson City Mint, in operation from 1870 to 1893, is located about 15 miles from Virginia City, site of the fabulous Comstock Lode of silver (and also gold). Which one of these statements is true:

a.       The smallest silver coin made there was the half dime.

b.      The smallest gold coin made there was the gold dollar.

c.       Most Comstock Lode silver was shipped to distant San Francisco to be coined, instead of to Carson City.

d.      More silver trade dollars were made there than at any other mint.


3.      Which one of these mints never struck silver coins?

a.       Dahlonega

b.      New Orleans

c.       Denver

d.      Carson City


4.      After the great earthquake and fire of April 1906, the San Francisco Mint:

a.       Was shaken on its foundation and soon burned to the ground.

b.      Served as the regional headquarters for federal army troops.

c.       Was looted by rampaging crowds.

d.      Was the only building in its district that was not destroyed.


5.      In the 19th century proposals were made to erect mints at various places, including the following, but at which one was a new structure actually erected (trick question but true):

a.       Denver, Colorado

b.      St. Louis, Missouri

c.       New York City, New York

d.      The Dalles, Oregon


Answers: 1-d (a popular tale had George Washington there, but he was at Mount Vernon at the time, and there was no cornerstone—the laying was of a foundation wall); 2-c (through a combination of political reasons and illogical freight rates); 3-a; 4-d (the mint had its own well, and workers acted heroically to spray water on the roof, saving the building); 5-d (the Denver Mint was not built until the 20th century).