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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 2009 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.


Hoop and Darts Game

A dart flying toward a hoop hanging from a tree; the words 'Hoop and Darts' at the top.

Have you ever wondered what games American Indians have played?  Well, in honor of the Native American $1 Coin Program, there's a new game in the Games section that shows you one.  We call it "Hoop and Darts."

Different Nations have different ways of playing this game and use different materials to make the game's pieces.  In this version, the hoop is made of corn husks.  Darts are made of a corn cob with feathers in back and a stick for a point in front.  The hoop is tied to a string and swung from a tree.  The goal is to throw a dart through the swinging hoop.

This is the first two-player game on H.I.P. Pocket Change.  (Since the players take turns, you can play against yourself if you can't find an opponent.)  Whoever wins a round gets one of the other player's darts.  You can win either by getting all the other player's darts in fewer than 10 rounds, or by throwing through the hoop in fewer tries than the other player more often.  The computer keeps score.

Getting the dart through the hoop is tricky, but with some practice, you can get quite good at it.  Try out the free online "Hoop and Darts" game on the Games page.


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Where's the Time Machine?

Old coin icons and an arrow pointing to the new coin icons.

Perhaps you've noticed that our purple coin icon no longer says "Time Machine," but now says "Coins and Medals."  Well, don't despair!  The Time Machine is still around for fun and adventure in days gone by.  It has just moved to a new place:  the "Cartoons" page, now renamed "Toons."

There have been a few other changes to the navigation at H.I.P. Pocket Change too.  Camp Coin is now called Collectors Club, the Teachers coin has been taken over by Mint History, and About Us is changed to About this Site.  The Teachers section hasn't gone away, but instead of a coin icon, it has a blackboard icon on the right side of the home page.

Also, the main page in each area has a new heading with a picture of the Pal who oversees that area.  Within the areas, some things have been moved around to fit the new titles.

You may be used to where everything was before, but you'll soon get used to the new organization.  The reason for all these changes is to make the titles clearer and the features easier to find.  We hope you'll find that this new system makes good sense.


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Lincoln's Silver Dollar

The bust of Lincoln from the coin behind the word Commemorative.

This year (2009) is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.  In honor of this occasion, the one-cent coin is being redesigned four times this year.  And not only will there be four new circulating pennies, but the United States Mint produced a special commemorative silver dollar that also honors our 16th president.

This dollar coin is like the penny in several ways.  In fact, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, is also closely related to these two coins.  If you want to know how, Peter will be glad to tell you.  The Lincoln commemorative dollar is April's Coin of the Month.

Plus, as always, you can find out more about commemoratives on the Commemorative Coins pages, now updated with stories and pictures on both of the 2009 commemorative coins.


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Quarter of the Quarter:  Puerto Rico

Nero and part of the Puerto Rico quarter.

The quarter that honors the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States, was released in April.  Puerto Rico, like most of the current US territories, is an island nation...in this case, a commonwealth.

Since the island was ruled by Spain for centuries, Spanish is the main language there.  The Spanish motto printed on the coin, "Isla del Encanto," reflects that fact.  The motto means "Island of Enchantment."  Since English and Spanish both have Latin roots, you can see similarities between "Isla" and "Island" and between "Encanto" and "Enchantment."

You can read more about this coin on the District of Columbia and United States Territories Quarters page.  As other nations tried to invade the island, it became necessary to build walls around the main city.  Get the story from Nero, who presented the Puerto Rico quarter as March's Coin of the Month.


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Spring 2009 Word Scramble Puzzle

We hope you've enjoyed this issue of Making Cents.  Click to see and print out the word scramble puzzle.  All the words in the puzzle are used in this issue, so you should already have a clue!

Check your answers with the answer key.

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