Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson are appointed by the Continental Congress to work on creating a device for the seal of the United States of America. The first of three committees assigned to the task which will take six more years and the contributions of 14 men to complete.
April 19: Congress appointed a Committee “to examine and ascertain the value of the several species of gold and silver coins and the proportions they ought to bear to the Spanish milled dollar.”
September 02: Thomas Jefferson submits a report to Congress on the value of various coins, by decimal unit in dollars and parts of a dollar. (Believed to be the first attempt to use a decimal method for the Nation’s monetary system.)
February 20: A Congressional committee recommends that a Mint be established. The Treasury Board is tasked to plan and regulate the Mint and its devices to be stamped on the coins. No follow-up action taken at this time. (Earliest known record of Congressional interest to establish a mint.)
July 09: The Articles of Confederation give States the authority to strike their own coins.
September 26: A Committee is selected to design the Treasury Seal (found on U.S. money). Much of the original design is still used today and is part of the Mint Seal.
April 30: Alexander Hamilton sends Robert Morris, Superintendent of Finance, his proposed articles of incorporation for a National Bank. Article 10 included “…the power of coining to the amount of half its stock, the quantity of alloy &c. being determined by Congress…”
January 15: Robert Morris reports to Congress, requesting authority to establish a mint. He recommends that the coining costs be paid by the people using its services.
April 26: Thomas Jefferson reviews Morris’s 1782 report, responding with “Notes on Coinage,” drafted in March and April. He agrees on the “decimal proportions” but feels the unit is too small for daily transactions and recommends the Spanish dollar as the monetary unit. It’s already in use and is a “convenient size” of measurement for “monetary arithmetic.”
May 28: The Continental Congress authorizes 3 Commissioners for the Board of Treasury.
May 13: The Grand Committee of the Continental Congress decides that the unit of American money will be the silver dollar, with all coins in a decimal ratio to each other.
April 12: A Report of the Board of Treasury Relative to the Establishment of a Mint is submitted to the Continental Congress. (Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, Vol. 31, p. 160)
September 21: Board of Treasury submits its Ordinance for the Establishment of the Mint of the United States of America to the Continental Congress. (Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, Vol. 31, p.682)
October 16: The Continental Congress authorizes the establishment of a mint for the coinage of gold, silver, and copper. The Treasury Board describes the duties of top Mint Officers.
October 17: Congress resolved that the Assay Master shall be allowed a salary of $600 a year and the Master Coiner, $1,000. (Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, Vol. 31, p.882)
April 20: The Congressional Committee reports it prefers to produce coinage “by contract”, rather than “a public expense”, and chooses a proposal submitted by James Jarvis. (Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, Vol. 32, p.221)
April 21: Congress passes the Report on Copper Coinage, authorizing the Board of Treasury to contract for 300 tons of copper coin of Federal standard from James Jarvis. The coins will be struck at the expense of the contractor, with all monies from the contract to be applied to reducing the domestic debt and the premium to pay off interest on the foreign debt. (Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, Vol. 32, p.225)
September 17: Constitution is signed by members of the Constitutional Convention. Constitution granted Congress the power to coin money, regulate its value, and provide for punishment of counterfeiting. States were explicitly prohibited from coining money.
September 02: The Treasury Department is established. It is the second oldest department in the Federal Government.
September 11: Alexander Hamilton of New York is nominated by President Washington and confirmed by the Senate as the first Secretary of the Treasury (1789-1795). He is the first of several Secretaries nominated and confirmed on the same day, and the first of seven foreign-born Secretaries of the Treasury.
January 08: Washington encourages Congress to develop a uniform currency for the nation.
January 28: Alexander Hamilton submits his Report on the Subject of A Mint to Congress, and the results of the U.S. Government’s first financial review on the silver content of the Spanish dollar.
March 03: Congress authorizes a Mint in a resolution.
April 02: Congressional legislation creates a national mint “at the seat of the government of the United States,” and regulates coinage. It authorizes the Mint to make coins of gold (Eagles, Half Eagles and Quarter Eagles), silver (Dollars, Half Dollars, Quarter Dollars, Dimes, and Half Dimes), and copper (Cents and Half Cents).
April 02: The Act also authorizes the President to construct buildings in Philadelphia. (The Mint was the first Federal building erected under the Constitution).The Director’s annual salary is set at $2,000. Annual salaries for the assayer and chief coiner will be $1,500; for the engraver and treasurer—$1,200; for clerks—$500; and “customary and reasonable” wages for workmen and servants according to their “respective stations and occupations”.
April 13: David Rittenhouse of Pennsylvania is appointed 1st Director of the Mint by President Washington.
May 08: Congressional legislation authorizes the Director of the Mint to “contract for and purchase a quantity of copper, not exceeding one hundred and fifty tons… to be coined at the Mint into cents and half cents.”
The first coins struck are “half dimes”, believed to be made from silverware provided by George and Martha Washington.
The first circulating coins are copper cents.
Jefferson resigns as Secretary of State.
January 06: A “Dog for the Yard” is purchased for $3 by the Mint as protection.
January 28: President Washington appoints Henry Voigt as Chief Coiner.
March 03: The first circulating coins–11,178 copper coins – are delivered.
April 03: President Washington appoints Henry William DeSaussure of South Carolina 2nd Director of the Mint. He serves the second shortest term, resigning in less than four months.
April 03: President Washington nominates Albion Cox as first Assayer for the Mint. (Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate, Vol. I, p.149)