In response to my request in the July 1st issue of The E-Sylum, Ben Gastfriend submitted this report on the newly reopened exhibit and tour at the Philadelphia mint. Thanks!
I visited the Philadelphia Mint on Saturday. After passing through the security checkpoint, the self-guided tour began at the bottom of an escalator, with a display of both present and historic gold coins, bullion coins, and commemoratives.
After ascending two escalators, and walking down a long corridor, I reached the famous hallway overlooking the production floor. It was immediately clear that this area had been revamped.
Colorful placards positioned along the hallway between the large windows showed the various stages of the coin-production process: Art, Die Making, Blanking, Annealing & Upsetting, Striking, Inspecting, and Bagging.
Though there was not much activity on the production floor because it was the weekend, the exhibit material interspersed throughout the tour made up for it.
In the center of the hallway was a giant spool of coining metal that was partially unrolled and formed into a railing of sorts. Mounted on the walls were master hubs (engraved and blank), obverse and reverse dies (examples that had and had not been struck), collars (with and without reeds), blanks, planchets, and finished coins.
All these materials were mounted in a way that encouraged visitors to touch them and observe closely. The electronic touch-screens (all but one were operational) allowed visitors to explore the production floor in detail.
After the circulating coin exhibit came the exhibit on the production of medals and commemorative coins. As I gazed into the dark medal-production room, a cart of about 500 3-inch medals with a handwritten sign “Annealed and ready for second strike” caught my eye. There was also a nice display of Indian Peace Medals and Presidential Medals.
Back down one escalator into an area labeled the “Mezzanine” was a selection of artifacts: historic coins, medals, hobo nickels, old coining presses, iron gates from the 1901 Philadelphia mint, and Peter, the stuffed U.S. Mint eagle.
Suffice it to say, as someone who is reasonably familiar with the coining process, and someone who has been to the mint in the past, I still enjoyed the tour. Children and adults who were unfamiliar with the process were notably excited.
The designers of the new tour did a good job. It is much better than the former; the process is presented in an intuitive and hands-on fashion, and the number, scope, and presentation of artifacts has been improved. If you are in the area, or within a reasonable distance, you probably would enjoy a visit.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
REVAMPED PHILADELPHIA MINT EXHIBIT AND TOUR OPENS
Wayne Homren, Editor
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