For the second commemorative coin program of 2006, the United States Mint is paying tribute to the San Francisco Old Mint, celebrating the instrumental role it played in the recovery and rebuilding of a great American city.
President George W. Bush on June 15, 2006 authorized the production and release of two commemorative coins to honor the history and legacy of the building that became known as the “Granite Lady,” in this, the 100th anniversary of the terrible tragedy which befell San Francisco in the spring of 1906.
In 1852 President Millard Fillmore approved an Act of Congress establishing a branch of the United States Mint in San Francisco to convert miners’ gold from the California gold rush into coins. The San Francisco Old Mint building, the second building in San Francisco to house the United States Mint there, was designed by architect A.B. Mullett who also designed the United States Department of the Treasury building and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The solid construction of the “Granite Lady” enabled it to survive the 1906 earthquake and fire, making it the only financial institution able to operate immediately after the earthquake as the Treasury for disaster relief funds for the city of San Francisco.
Both coins are available with proof and uncirculated finishes. A proof coin has a brilliant mirror-like finish. The term “proof” refers to a specialized minting process, which begins by manually feeding burnished coin planchets into presses fitted with specially polished dies. An uncirculated coin has a high quality, satin finish and is produced with special care.