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Making Cents - All the news that's fit to mint! - What's news at the United States Mint!

Welcome to the spring 2001 issue of Making Cents, the online newsletter that tells you what's new and striking at the United States Mint.  Be sure to check back every 3 months for a new issue.


Have You Noticed Anything New?

Flip: Have You Noticed Anything New?

Just look at Flip as he greets you to the new site with a flip of his flipper!  We have been doing some major remodeling and even some rebuilding.  We hope you like our new look.  You will find it much easier to move around our site and find your favorite games, cartoons, coin news, and all that other good stuff.

In addition, you will notice something very "moving" about the new look.  The characters are a bit more animated in their actions as they flip coins, jump rope, and cook marshmallows over a fire.  See how many actions you can find on the new site.  You will be surprised at all the stuff they are up to.  And this is just the beginning.  Your favorite H.I.P. Pocket Change™ Pals are going to start getting a lot more active and will begin to "move" around the site regularly.  So keep your eyes peeled, you never know where they will turn up next.  But in the meantime, we hope you enjoy the new look, neater page layout, new content, new games, new features, new everything.  Make sure you tell all your friends to check us out, too!

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Categorize That Coin
What's What:  A Guide to All Kinds of Coins

Inspector Collector: Categorize That Coin.

There are many kinds of coins to collect.  Here's a quick and easy guide.

  • Circulating Coins—These are the kind you find in your pocket change.  They're everyday dimes, nickels, quarters, fifty-cent pieces, and Golden Dollars too.
  • Proof Coins— Highly polished and manufactured using a special process, these coins are called "proofs" because they were originally made to "prove" the design was correct.
  • Commemorative Coins—Issued to honor special people or events, these coins feature very interesting designs.  Two examples are the 1926 Oregon Trail Memorial Half-Dollar, made to honor the pioneers who moved west across America, and the 1946 Booker T. Washington Memorial Half-Dollar, struck to honor this famous African American teacher.  And although both of these coins were half-dollars, commemorative coins can be minted in a variety of denominations.
  • Bullion Coins—Produced by varying mints around the world, the value of these coins is directly related to the amount of silver, gold, or platinum they contain.  The United States Mint produces American Eagle Bullion Coins.

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Making Change
A Series On How A Coin is Made, From Start To Finish

Plinky: Making Change.

Installment One:  First things first...Congress Decides

Before any coin is made, there has to be a need for it.  Who decides if another penny or nickel is needed or if commemorative coins should be struck?  Congress.

As you know, Congress is the group of people from every state who work together in Washington, D.C., to make our laws.  And one of their more fun jobs is deciding who or what should be on a new coin.

A Medal for Peanuts!

Sometimes the Mint asks Congress for a new coin, like the Sacagawea Golden Dollar that just came out last year.  Sometimes, a congressman or congresswoman will request a new coin or medal.  One recent example of this is the medal that California representative Diane Feinstein just sponsored for her state's famous cartoonist, Charles Schulz (the father of the comic strip, "Peanuts").

Most New Coins Are For Commemorating

Most requests for new coins are for commemoratives coins, which are special coins struck to honor a particular person, place or event.  There are usually two commemorative coins struck a year.

The next two commemorative coins to be minted will be the American Buffalo Commemorative Coin and the 2002 Winter Olympic Gold and Silver Commemorative Coin.

The latest commemorative coin, the Capitol Visitor Center Commemorative Coins, honors the bicentennial of the first meeting of Congress at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. (available now).

What Will It Look Like?

As you know, Congress is the group of people who make our laws.  One of their jobs is deciding who or what should be on a new coin.  After Congress has decided which coins to make, the United States Mint develops designs.  Artists and sculptors that are trained to create designs for coinage are invited to send in their ideas.  At the end of the design process, the final design is approved by the Secretary of the Treasury.

Want to know how an artist designs a coin?
Look for the next installment:  The Coin Is Designed.

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50 State Quarters Program—What's New

50 State Quarters: What's New!

As you may already know, the United States Mint has been running a special program to honor every American state with its own special quarter!  About every 10 weeks, the Mint strikes a new coin—producing five of these new quarters each year.

The coins are being struck in the order in which the states entered the Union, beginning with Delaware (the first state to sign the Constitution) and ending with Hawaii (the last to join the Union).

The class of 2001 Coins include state quarters from:

  • New York, featuring the Statue of Liberty
  • North Carolina, honoring the first airplane flight in Kitty Hawk, NC
  • Rhode Island, showing a sailboat gliding through Narragansett Bay
  • Vermont, displaying a tree being tapped for Maple syrup
  • Kentucky, featuring a race horse in front of the stately Federal Mansion.

They're really cool coins.  So be sure to look for them in your change throughout the year and see how many you can find.  To learn more about this program, click here.

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