A local television station filmed a report from inside the West Point Mint. Check it out. -Editor
About an hour and a half's drive north from New York City lies a treasure -- the gold kind. But it's not one that you can go and
In fact, you can't get anywhere near it. Because this treasure belongs to the United States Treasury.
Nearly a quarter of the U.S. government's gold sits beneath a windowless building on the campus at West Point.
"We've got approximately 54 million ounces here that we store, which is about 22% of the nation's gold," Ellen McCollum says
from her office.
McCollum is the Superintendent of the West Point Mint; a facility built the same year as Fort Knox and originally housed the nation's
Most of that silver was sold off and now, the latest treasury department numbers show West Point is second only to Fort Knox in the amount of
government gold in its vaults.
FOX 5 NY was granted rare access -- supervised of course -- to one of their highly secure vaults.
In that one vault, there are 2,600 bars of gold bullion. At today's market value, each bar is worth about $500,000. That means that in that
one vault, there is about $1.3 billion worth of gold, and that's not counting the silver.
Collectibles are really the bread and butter of the West Point Mint. They strike coins and bullion made of precious metals (hence all the
gold) and what's known as numismatic, or rare and collectible coins.
Coins like the American Buffalo, 24 Karat, one-ounce pure gold proof coin; on sale for about $1600. Asked if the $50 mark on the coin makes it
legal tender, production manager Jennifer Butkus jokes, "It is legal tender. You'd be a fool, but yes."
West Point is also striking the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Gold Coin. Approved by Congress, it's only the second time the Mint has ever
produced a curved coin. On the front (or obverse in mint lingo) is man's footprint on the lunar surface.
On the back (or reverse) is an homage to that famous photo taken by Neil Armstrong on the surface of the moon. Buzz Aldrin's shadow reflected
off his visor, the lunar module and Armstrong himself. Already iconic, it's now immortalized.
"To me, we're making history," production supervisor Jeff Odom says, "This is something we can show our grandkids and say
'hey, we were a part of this.'"
To read the complete article (and watch the video), see:
A rare look inside the West Point Mint's massive gold vaults and coin
Wayne Homren, Editor
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