Timeline of the United States Mint: 1800s

1700s | 1800s | 1900s | 2000s | 2010s


  • Following a tradition started by France and Great Britain, the new United States begins making large silver and bronze medals to present as signs of peace to American Indian chiefs and warriors. Lewis and Clark use these medals in their travels across the nation with the Corps of Discovery. The medals are produced at the Mint in Philadelphia, under the orders of the Secretary of War. Initially called “Indian Peace Medals,” today they are produced as the “Presidential Medal Series.”
  • January 20: The Treasury Department Building is damaged by fire. John Adams joins the bucket brigade.
  • March 03: Congressional legislation directs the Mint to remain in Philadelphia until March 1803. (Note: Mint Officials were not in favor of relocating the facility to the newly established Federal City in Washington, and addressed their concerns many times. Legislation extending the Mint’s stay in Philadelphia appears throughout the early 1800’s. Most extensions were for five years. At some point Congress seems to have tired of these extensions. The Act of May 19, 1828, leaves the facility in Philadelphia “until otherwise provided by law.”)


  • The Philadelphia Mint closes in the summer and autumn due to yellow fever outbreaks.


  • January 17: President Jefferson appoints Robert Patterson, LL.D., of Pennsylvania, 4th Director of the Mint. He serves the 2nd second longest term: 18 ½ years.

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  • April 01: Extends the authority of the Mint to remain at Philadelphia for a “…further term of five years…”


  • August 24: The Treasury Department is burned by the British.


  • July 15: President Monroe appoints Samuel Moore, M.D., of Pennsylvania, 5th Director of the Mint. He serves the 4th longest term: 11 years.

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  • July 04: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both die on this date (Jefferson dies first), 50 years from the day they both signed the Declaration of Independence.


  • May 19: Congressional legislation “…continues the Mint at Philadelphia until otherwise provided by law…”


  • July 04: Cornerstone is laid for a new Mint building at the corner of Juniper and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia.
    New building is finally occupied in 1833.

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  • March 31: Treasury Building is burned to the ground by arsonists. Congress demands a fire-proof building. Result is current Treasury Building of Greek design built by architects Robert Mills, Ammi Young, and Alfred B. Mullett between 1836 and 1869.


  • March 03: Congressional legislation establishes branch Mints at New Orleans, Louisiana; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Dahlonega, Georgia. Their mint marks are: New Orleans (“O”), Charlotte (“C”), and Dahlonega (“D”). They are placed “under the control and regulation” of the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury. This is the first time Congress gives the Treasury Department supervisory authority over the Mint.
  • May 26: President Jackson appoints Robert Maskell Patterson, M.D., of Pennsylvania, 6th Director of the Mint. He is the son of the 4th Mint Director, Robert Patterson, M.D., and serves the 3rd longest term. 16 years.


  • March 23: The first steam press is put in place, increasing the speed of coin production.

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  • January 18: Congressional legislation revises some Mint functions and the regulation of coins. Specifies Mint officer: “a Director, a treasurer, an assayer, a melter and a refiner, a chief coiner and an engraver, …appointed by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.” The Director reports to the President of the United States on an annual basis, and to the Secretary of the Treasury from time to time. (This is the first piece of major legislation for the Mint since its creation in 1792.)


  • April 02: Congressional legislation “…Prescribes the manner in which oaths may be taken by officers of the branch mint.”


  • March 03: Congressional legislation authorizes the coinage of gold dollars and double eagles.

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  • Over 40 women are hired at the Philadelphia Mint by Mint Director Robert Maskell.


  • July 01: President Fillmore appoints George N. Eckfeldt, M.D., of Pennsylvania, 7th Director of the Mint.


  • July 03: Congressional legislation establishes a branch mint in California. The Treasury secretary is authorized to choose the location.

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  • March 03: Act of Congress establishes an Assay Office in New York City. Mint locates office on Wall Street.
  • April 04: President Pierce appoints Thomas M. Pettit of Pennsylvania 8th Director of the Mint. He serves the shortest term: 2 months.
  • June 03: President Pierce appoints Hon. James Ross Snowden, LL.D., of Pennsylvania, 9th Director of the Mint.
  • June 30: L.A. Birdsall becomes first Superintendent of the United States branch mint in San Francisco.


  • February 21: Legal Tender properties of foreign coins in the United States are withdrawn. Treasury Department increases control over the Mint; the Director is now required to submit some of his regulations to the Secretary of the Treasury for review and approval.

1860 – 1862

  • Clark, Gruber & Co., John Parsons & Co., and John Conway & Co., who manufacture $5 and $10 gold pieces, are the major companies producing territorial “coinage” in the Denver area.

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  • Confederate forces seize the branch mints at Charlotte, North Carolina; Dahlonega, Georgia; and New Orleans, Louisiana. Coining operations continue for about a month.
  • President Lincoln appoints James Pollock, A.M., LL.D., of Pennsylvania, 10th Director of the Mint, and that facility’s First Superintendent. He serves during the Civil War.
  • May 21: Confederate troops occupy the Charlotte Mint and use it for their headquarters during the Civil War.
  • May 31: The Confederate Government closes the branch mints at New Orleans, Louisiana; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Dahlonega, Georgia.


  • April 21: Congressional legislation establishes a branch mint at Denver “exclusively for the coinage of gold”, the sum of $75,000 is appropriated to meet the expenses for fiscal year 1863.
  • November 25: Congressional committee makes a formal offer of $25,000 for the Clark, Gruber & Co. plant, through the Treasury Secretary. The offer is accepted.


  • March 03: Congressional legislation establishes a branch mint at Carson City, Nevada. The mint mark is: “CC”.
  • Title to the property for a Denver branch mint is obtained.
  • The Denver Branch Mint opens. Operations are confined to the melting, refining, assaying, and stamping of bullion, and the return of the same to depositors in “unparted bars, stamped with the weight and fineness.”

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  • April 22: Congress authorizes coinage of the two-cent piece. The Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, places the motto In God We Trust on the bronze 2-cent piece. This is the first time the motto appeared on a coin.
  • July 02: Congress appropriates $300,000 to purchase a site and construct buildings for the Branch Mint at San Francisco.
  • July 04: Congressional legislation establishes a branch mint at Dalles City, Oregon. Mint is short-lived; Congress donates building to state for educational purposes in March 1875.


  • March 03: Congressional legislation authorizes coinage of the three-cent coin.


  • January 01: The motto In God We Trust appears on gold and silver coins, with the exception of the dime, which is too small.
  • April 07: Congressional legislation states that only a deceased person may appear in portraits on bank notes and other paper money. (Coins are not mentioned in the legislation.)
  • May 16: The nickel five-cent coin is authorized by Congress, to replace the smaller silver five-cent coin.
  • President Andrew Johnson appoints William Millward of Pennsylvania, 11th Director of the Mint. He serves the 3rd shortest term: 6 months.

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  • April 04: President Johnson appoints Henry Richard Linderman, M.D., of Pennsylvania, 12th Director of the Mint.


  • February 19: Act of Congress establishes an Assay Office at Boise in the Territory of Idaho.
  • President Grant re-appoints James Pollock, A.M., L.L.D, of Pennsylvania, 13th Director of the Mint.
    He is the first of three Mint Directors to serve two non-consecutive terms.


  • Abraham Curry becomes first Superintendent of the U.S. Mint in Carson City, Nevada.

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  • February 12: Legislation establishes the Mint as a bureau of the Treasury Department, moving the Director’s Office from Philadelphia to the Treasury Building in Washington, DC. The Superintendent becomes the senior Mint officer at the Philadelphia Mint. (Second major piece of legislation for the Mint since it was established in 1792.)
  • President Grant appoints outgoing Mint Director James Pollock 1st Superintendent of the Philadelphia Mint.
  • President Grant re-appoints Henry Richard Linderman of Pennsylvania 14th Director of the Mint.
    He is the second of three Mint Directors to serve two non-consecutive terms.


  • January 29: Legislation authorizes the Mint to produce coins for any foreign nation, as long as it does not interfere with coinage production required for the United States. Fees charged for this activity must include labor, materials, and use of the equipment.
  • May 12: Act of Congress establishes an assay office at Helena, in the Territory of Montana. Funds are approved to construct a building and to purchase machinery.
  • November 05: Completed San Francisco Mint, designed by Treasury Supervising Architect Alfred B. Mullett, is turn over to Superintendent A. H. LaGrange.
  • December 04: King Kalakaua I of Hawaii visits the San Francisco Mint.


  • The first foreign coinage order is executed and completed for the Government of Venezuela within the fiscal year ending June 30, 1876.

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  • March 03: Congress appropriates $500 for “fitting up an assay laboratory in the office of the Director of the Mint.” Laboratory is established by 1885 on the top floor of the Treasury Building where coins were tested for 90 years.


  • February 28: The Bland-Allison Act authorizes the coinage of the silver dollar.


  • President Hayes appoints Col. A. Loudon Snowden, nephew of former Mint Director James Ross Snowden, 2nd Superintendent of the Philadelphia Mint.
  • President Hayes appoints Horatio C. Burchard of Illinois 15th Director of the Mint.

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  • February 01: Act of Congress establishes an assay Office at St. Louis.


  • President Cleveland appoints James P. Kimball of Pennsylvania 16th Director of the Mint. He is the first metallurgist to be named Director of the Mint.


  • November 04: Dr. M. F. Bonzano, melter and refiner at the New Orleans Mint, in 1861, submits a letter to Mint Director James Kimball telling him that no Confederate coins were produced at the New Orleans Mint and the United States dies of 1860 and 1861 were defaced in front of him and other mint officers.

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  • President Harrison appoints Edward O. Leech of Washington, DC 17th Director of the Mint. He is the first of only two appointees from the Nation’s Capital.


  • July 14: The Sherman Silver Purchase Act is approved.
  • September 26: The Act of September 26, 1890, amends Revised Statute 3510, by authorizing a procedure for new coin designs generally known today as “the 25-year law”. A portion of the legislation states that “no change in the design or die of any coin shall be made oftener that once in twenty-five years from and including the year of the first adoption of the design, model, die, or hub for the same coin.” Another legislative Act, approved the same day, discontinues the three dollar gold, one-dollar gold, and three-cent nickel coins.


  • August 05: Public Law No. 203, 52nd Congress, authorizes first commemorative coin produced by the Mint, a 50-cent piece, known as the Columbia half dollar, for the World Columbian Exposition.

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  • President Grover Cleveland appoints Robert E. Preston of Washington, DC as 18th Director of the Mint. Second of only two appointees from the Nation’s Capital.


  • February 20: The Denver Mint is authorized by Congressional legislation to coin gold and silver.
  • March 02: Congressional legislation provides for “a mint building at Denver” at a cost of $100,000.


  • April 30: A site for the Denver Mint is purchased at a cost of $60,261.71.
  • June 11: Act of Congress establishes an assay office at Deadwood, South Dakota.

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  • August 01: Frank A. Leach begins a ten-year career (1897-1907) as Superintendent of the U.S. Mint in San Francisco. He is Superintendent at the time of the April 1906 earthquake.


  • President McKinley appoints (and Theodore Roosevelt re-appoints in 1903) George E. Roberts of Iowa 19th Director of the Mint. He serves the 8th longest term: 9 years and 5 months.
  • May 21: Act of Congress establishes an assay office at Seattle, Washington.


  • March 03: Public Law No. 188, 55th Congress, authorizes the coinage of silver dollars, to commemorate the erection of a monument to General Lafayette, in the city of Paris, France. (It is the first time George Washington appears on a U.S. coin, and the first commemorative coin produced as a dollar denomination.)

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