This year marks the 150th anniversary of BEP and the 220th anniversary of the United States Mint. As the Nation's producers of currency and coins, and two of the last manufacturing organizations in the federal government, BEP and the United States Mint have made American history by connecting Americans through coins and currency for a collective 370 years.
To commemorate their anniversaries, the bureaus are offering a 2012 Making American History Coin and Currency Set. This anniversary set includes one 2012 American Eagle Silver Proof Coin and one Series 2009 $5 note. The 2012 American Eagle Silver Proof Coin bears the "S" mint mark and honors the artistry and design of the Nation's coins and the heritage of coin production at the United States Mint at San Francisco. The Series 2009 $5 note commemorates the BEP's century-and a-half of service with a serial number beginning with "150."
Distributed by American Collectors Mint, LLC.
The United States Mint began the American Eagle coin program in 1986. American Eagles are struck each year in silver, gold, and, since 1997, platinum bullion. The Silver Eagle is only available in a $1 denomination. As genuine legal tender, it is the only silver bullion coin whose weight and purity are guaranteed by the United States Government. Each silver coin contains a minimum of one troy ounce of 99.9% pure silver. The Gold Eagle comes in $5, $10, $25, and $50 denominations with the values representing 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 ounce of gold, respectively. The Platinum Eagle is struck in denominations of $10, $25, $50, and $100 with values representing 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 ounce of platinum, respectively. American Eagles are available in both Proof and Uncirculated strikes.
The Silver Eagle obverse features Adolph Weinman's classic "Liberty Walking" design which shows Lady Liberty mid-step, draped in the American flag with her right arm extended toward the sun and olive branches cradled in her left arm. The Gold Eagle obverse offers a design inspired by the 1907 $20 gold piece created by Augustus Saint-Gaudens with Lady Liberty standing at the center in front of the sun, holding a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left hand. The Platinum Eagle obverse shows the head and crown of the Statue of Liberty. The reverse design for regular strikes of the Platinum Eagle is a bald eagle flying in front of the sun. The reverse design for Proof strikes varies by year, but each includes a representation of an eagle somewhere in the image.Mints & Mint Marks
The United States' first mint was opened in Philadelphia in 1793. Cents and half-cents were its first coins struck for circulation. Dies were cut by hand and each cutter added their own touch to the coin. Horses and strong men were the "machines" that operated the presses that made the coins. Mints were located in Philadelphia (PA), Denver (CO), West Point (NY), San Francisco (CA), Carson City (NV), New Orleans (LA), Charlotte (NC) and Dahlonega (GA). Only four of these mints currently exist: Philadelphia, Denver, West Point and San Francisco. The other four were closed soon after the Civil War.
A mint mark is a small letter struck on an open area of a coin to represent the mint location where it was made. While mint marks began in ancient Greece and Rome, the first mint marks to appear on coins in the United States were in 1838. Mint marks were usually struck on the reverse side of the coins. In 1968, however, mint director Eva Adams changed the striking to the obverse of the coin in order to gain uniformity.
Mint marks are quite important to collectors because they help to determine a coin's value. A coin may have been struck in mass quantities at one mint, yet struck in smaller quantities at another. The coin struck in smaller quantities may be worth more than the one produced at a larger count. Mint marks are also important to collectors who gather the same coin from every mint it was struck.
The Philadelphia Mint has always been the main U.S. Mint location, yet the majority of coins struck there did not have mint marks until 1980. It carried the title of the world's largest mint until 2009. All coins from Philadelphia carry the letter "P". Pennies, however, are the exception, as they do not carry mint marks.
The Denver Mint opened in 1906 due to the gold and silver discoveries in Colorado. Coins produced there are marked with the letter "C". The West Point Mint opened in 1988 and coins produced there are marked with the letter "W". The San Francisco Mint opened in 1854, thanks to the gold rush in California. Coins produced there are marked with an "S".
The grade of a coin is an essential element of information when it comes to coin collecting. The grade explains what physical condition the coin is in, therefore is important in determining a particular coin's value. Below explains the different coin grades given by most certification companies, from flawless to poor condition.
Coin Certification Companies