Sunday, July 31, 2011

Denver: The Denver Mint

Heyes and Kid were right to disregard Harry Wagoner’s plan for blowing up the Denver Mint, as mentioned in How to Rob a Bank in One Hard Lesson: Although there have been several attempts, the Denver Mint (see photo at right) has never been successfully robbed. It would have been much more feasible for the Devil’s Hole Gang to rob a train bringing a shipment of gold to the Denver Mint, as Harry Briscoe expected would happen in Wrong Train to Brimstone.

Free guided tours of the Denver Mint (see photo below), which last about thirty minutes, explain the history and process of creating coins and paper money. After passing through metal detectors, visitors enter an exhibition room that explains the history of money around the world. Ascending to the second floor, a short video is shown. After that, the tour guide, accompanied by security guards, explains how coins are minted and visitors can observe the process on the machines on the floor below. There are also exhibits visitors can look at that describe the tools and materials used to make money. The building where this part of the tour occurs does not date from the nineteenth century, even though a mint in Denver was authorized by Congress in 1863. In fact, the oldest part of the building currently housing the Denver Mint is only from the early part of the twentieth century.

According to the tour guide, paper money has never been made at the Denver Mint, only coins. However, gold bullion is currently stored there, somewhere—the tour guide said he wasn’t privy to where; hence the need for heavy security. The tour ends at what originally was the main entrance to the Denver Mint (see photo at right). Souvenirs can be purchased at the gift shop but I was disappointed that there was no book specifically about the history of the Denver Mint.

Slideshow about how coins are made by the U.S. Mint:

Webpage for information about tours of the Denver Mint: