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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 2002 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.

CITC Contest Winners

United States Mint H.I.P. Pocket Change is excited to announce the winners of the "Coins in the Classroom" lesson plan contest!  The three top winners—Glenna Ainley from Washington, Carol Koplan from California, and Tracy Merritt from North Carolina—prove that there are very special teachers all over our great country.  All three teachers will receive American Eagle Gold Proof Coins of different values as their prizes.  The best prize of all, however, is that teachers from around the country will be able to read these truly winning plans and use them in their classrooms!  Thanks to all the teachers who entered this contest.
Goldie with lesson plans

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

Installment 4:  Striking the Blanks

We reported last month on how "blanks" are cut out of sheets of metal, heated, washed, and dried.  The next step is to give them a raised edge so that the design won't wear down as quickly.

Coin with a raised rim

Don't Get Upset

This sounds serious, but an "upsetting mill" doesn't bother the blanks much.  It just raises a rim on both sides of the blank.  Once it's been upset, the blank is ready to receive its design and become a real coin!

Coinage to "Die" For

The coin's design comes from a stamp called a "die," but in the die, the design is negative—the parts that stick out on the coin stick in on the die.

Jumbo bag being moved by a forklift

Mint workers attach the die to a coin press.  Then the blanks are fed into the press where they get stamped with the die, which creates the words and pictures on the coins.  In an instant, the blanks have been changed into change!

The brand-spanking-new coins then pass through other machines and the hands of inspectors, who check them to see that there and no mistakes on them, count them, and put them into jumbo bags.  Each bag holds the same number of each kind of coin so that they're easy to keep track of.

Coin Meets World

Well, that's just about the end of the story.  The coins go to Federal Reserve Banks where they can be stored until other banks order them for their customers.  When you get coins from a bank sometimes, they are all shiny and new, like babies just beginning their new life in circulation.  Then comes the magic moment of their first spending, when you pull one out of your pocket and drop it into a vending machine or give it to a cashier at a store.

If you missed any of the articles in this series on "Making Change," you can read them in the last few issues of Making Cents.  Just click on "Past Issues of Making Cents" at the bottom of this page.

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Young Collectors
A How-To Series on Coin Collecting

H.I.P. Pocket Change pals searching for coins

Installment 4:  Where to Get Coins

Once you've picked the kind of coin you like most to collect, find coins that are in the best condition you can find.  Some or all of these are places people find or buy coins.  Some are suitable only for adults.

  • Collector's own coins:  Collectors check their pockets, purse or wallet, desk drawers, and under their sofa cushions.
  • Home storage:  Older coins sometimes hide in old trunks and boxes in attics, closets, and basements.
  • Friends' and relatives' coins:  Collectors may ask friends and relatives to look in the same places in their homes for the kind of coins the collector is seeking.
  • Beaches:  Collectors may use a metal detector to find buried coins at the beach.
  • Banks:  Collectors may use paper money to buy rolls of coins from the bank, then search through them for the coins needed.  They may also purchase special (uncirculated) sets from certain banks as they're released.
  • Machines:  Collectors check their change from vending machines.
  • Trades:  When a collector gets more than one of the same coin, he or she may keep the best and use the extras to trade.  Coin clubs are a good way for collectors to meet other collectors to trade with.
  • Professionals:  Adult collectors might visit local coin shows to look for old and unusual coins from competing dealers; try to make wise purchases through auctions; or search the yellow pages, coin collecting magazines, and the Internet to find dealers who can sell them collectible coins.  Smart collectors who order by mail are careful to make sure the dealer has a good return policy.  Collectors enjoy looking for bargains at craft fairs, flea markets, and antique shows and stores, but there they may find high prices and problem coins more often.  Smart collectors are careful, but they keep searching.
Nero checking his change

Checking the Change

Your search should be steady so you can be sure you don't miss any important coins in your daily business.  Here's a tip on how to do that.

Have a separate pocket or purse compartment where you put new change.  At the end of the day, go through all the coins, keeping the ones you don't have and the ones that are in better condition than the ones you do have.  Upgrading an old coin is almost as much fun as finding a new one!

Coin Costs

Most young collectors don't have a lot to spend at first.  Later on, you'll find that some coins can be quite expensive.  Some are so hard to find that you can only find them in museums like the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, and the American Numismatic Association Museum in Colorado.  If you live near a museum like that, go by and check out the collection!

You're Off!

Well, you've got a good start on becoming a super collector.  This ends our "Young Collectors" series, but look for more information to come soon from Inspector Collector at Camp Coin.  If you want to read the earlier articles in the series, just click on "Past Issues of Making Cents" at the bottom of this page.  Happy coin hunting!

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Coins of the World

Get Your Free Virtual Trip Around the World!

Ever dream of faraway places, interesting people, and exotic food, art, music, and sports?  Okay, so we don't have the whole world yet...but we are excited to present France as the first country in our latest cartoon learning adventure, Coins of the World.

You adventurers will get a passport, some spending money converted into French money, and a chance to earn souvenirs by taking a "customs quiz" when you're ready to travel home.  Go to the "Cartoons" area, have some fun, and learn some French.  All the United States Mint H.I.P. Pocket Change™ Pals will meet you there!

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Flying High, Ohio!

2002 Ohio Quarter
Teacher Feature

Ohio's quarter has been flying high since it came out on March 18, from the first airplane to the first man on the moon.  Peter is just the eagle to handle this coin as the Coin of the Month for March.  You can also read about it under "The Coins Are Coming."

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Stepping Smart at West Point

2002 U.S. Military Academy Bicentennial Commemorative Coin Obverse
2002 U.S. Military Academy Bicentennial Commemorative Coin Reverse
Nero, at West Point Academy, gives a salute

Why do West Point cadets step so smart?  It's because they learn more than how to march in their four years at the Academy.  They also learn about subjects like math, science, and language.  They get training for their bodies and learn about what is good and bad.

Now, these smart-stepping cadets have a coin that honors their school:  the U.S. Military Academy Bicentennial commemorative coin, which came out in March 2002.  You can learn more about the coin—and the Academy—on our commemorative coins pages.

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Medals at the Mint

Big news at Camp Coin:  Inspector Collector is setting up a collection of medals for you to enjoy.  He'll show you their beautiful designs and tell you why the medals were awarded to the people who received them.  Be sure to stop by his first two exhibits.  Their themes are Black history and women's history.

Teacher Feature

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