Fun Facts

You might have little round sandwiches in your pocket... Most of our coins are metal sandwiches. The outside layers are three-quarters copper and one-quarter nickel, and the "filling" is solid copper. Pennies are made of zinc coated with copper. Only nickels are one solid material—that same 75% copper/25% nickel alloy. Would you like fries with that?
We’re the Mint that makes the most!... The United States Mint makes more coins and medals by far than any other mint in the world. We have made not only our own coins, but coins for some other countries as well.
Lady Liberty saved a Civil War sea captain!... Lt. George Dixon's sweetheart gave him a $20 gold coin for luck before he left to fight in the Civil War. It seems that the coin saved his life when a bullet hit the image of Lady Liberty in his pants pocket instead of wounding his leg. He carried the coin with him until he died years later in a submarine battle. The bent coin, found recently in the sunken sub, helped to identify Lt. Dixon's nearby body.
Heads, it’s Washington; tails, it’s Washington... The New Jersey quarter is not the first coin to have the same president (Washington) on both sides. Do you know the other coin and president? The answer is in another Fun Fact.
Why Lady Liberty doesn’t get around much anymore... Just before 1909, there was an image of Lady Liberty on almost every circulating American coin. But over the following 38 years, she was gradually replaced on all of them, mostly by former presidents. Although Lady Liberty doesn't circulate anymore, she still appears on some special coins.
Lady Liberty was on her feet for 42 years... The imaginary woman who stood for liberty on our coins was always shown standing (unless only her head was shown) since she first appeared in 1794. But she took a seat in 1836 when the "Seated Liberty" silver dollars came out and showed her sitting on a rock. She probably needed the rest!
If you’re worth 25 cents, why not say so?... The quarter dollar made in 1804 was the first silver coin in the United States Mint's history to have a value on it! Yes, up until then, all silver and gold American coins were non-denominated. People had to know by their size how much they were worth. Only copper coins were required to show their denominations.
How much is an eagle worth?... The Act that created the Mint called for an "eagle" in gold, worth $10. The coin showed an eagle, of course, on the back. The Act also called for a half eagle worth $5 and even a quarter eagle worth $2.50...but the whole bird still appeared on the coins. With 1849's gold rush in California came a $20 gold coin, which quickly became known as a double eagle...with one bird on it. (The United States Mint still makes gold coins, but people usually buy them as an investment rather than for spending.)
People used to count coins without numbers... The Mint's first gold and silver coins had no denominations on them. Since their designs were the same, the only way to tell them apart was by their size. People must have been really careful when they counted their change!
This penny is almost as big as a half dollar... America's first one-cent piece, called the "large cent," was first struck in 1793, one year after the Mint opened. It was so big that it was hard to use, but it wasn't replaced by a smaller penny until 1857, more than 50 years later.