The E-Sylum:  Volume 8, Number 42, October 2, 2005, Article 14


For those of you who can't get enough of Mint minutia, now
available on the Internet is detailed information for companies
wishing to bid on the business of providing blank planchets
to the U.S. Mint. This article is from the September 28, 2005
issue of "The Fabricator", a publication for manufacturers:

"The U.S. Mint is looking for stamping companies to bid on
providing ready-to-coin blanks or planchets.

The Mint is engaged in a Public-Private Competition under a
deviation granted by the Office of Management and Budget
(OMB) to compare the cost of purchasing the blanks or planchets.
The competition requires the mint to get pricing and participation
from two domestic commercial suppliers for providing 3 to 4
billion blanks annually to the Mint. The government is making
existing equipment in Denver and Philadelphia available for the

The competition is expected to end January 2006."
Full Story

The following text is from the bid specifications:
".. the United States Mint is seeking two (2) geographically
separate independent domestic commercial suppliers (CS) to
produce and deliver planchets (ready-to-strike coin blanks) in
5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢ and $1.00 denominations to its production
facilities in Philadelphia, PA and Denver, CO. In a typical year,
the United States Mint produces 6-7 billion clad coins (5¢
through $1.00). Historically (1998 – 2004), annual production
requirements have fluctuated from 5 to 14 billion clad coins.
Each CS shall also have the capacity to produce and deliver
uncirculated (UNC) quality planchets to Philadelphia and Denver,
and proof quality cut blanks to the United States Mint production
facility in San Francisco, CA.

Each CS shall also have the capacity to convert the United States
Mint’s current supply of Golden Dollar coinage strip into planchets.
The United States Mint currently holds an inventory of Golden
Dollar coinage strip. To meet Dollar planchet requirements, each
CS shall be responsible for converting Mint supplied strip into
Golden Dollar planchets until that inventory is exhausted. Once
the Mint’s inventory of Dollar strip is exhausted, the CS will be
required to provide all materials necessary to produce and deliver
Dollar planchets.

The United States Mint will make available all equipment
associated with the current blanking, annealing, and upsetting
operations in Philadelphia, PA and Denver, CO.

Bid specifics and contact information can be found here:.
Bidding Specifics.

[This "Public-Private Competition" is a way to make sure
the Mint itself is operating efficiently. If an outside company
can do the job more cheaply, then this whole operation could
be outsourced to private industry. It will be interesting to
learn the outcome of this bidding process.

It's also interesting to see the "Golden Dollar" term used in the
proposal, which is itself an interesting parallel to the purchase
of copper blanks from England in the early days of the U.S.
Mint. I wonder what that Request for Proposal looked like?
It probably took the form of a simple letter. One last question:
Why aren't cent planchets included? I asked Dick Johnson,
and his reply follows. -Editor]

Dick Johnson writes: "The suppliers for cent blanks are already
in place. This requires a highly specialized metalworking
operation. Zinc strip must be rolled to precise gauge, copper
plated in exacting thickness, then blanked and upset. So far
only two plants in the United States have been such a supplier
of cent blanks and to be able to meet the Mint's required
standards on a sustained basis.

Interestingly, the skeleton scrap generated from the U.S. cent
blanking operation of this composition can easily be melted
and reformulated into -- brass! -- So such a plant would also
have to have an outlet for the high quantity of brass as well as
supply the cent blanks. The U.S. Mint's decision to use this
composition for cents was brilliant -- repeat, brilliant! -- for
this maximum utilization of the scrap technology to its greatest

I am unaware of the scrap technology required for the
copper-nickel clad coinage. But the bidders for suppling
copper-nickel clad or even silver-clad coinage blanks would
also have to take this scrap process into consideration before
they can bid for any of the Mint's coin blank requirements."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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