The Denver Mint, a United States Mint branch, was established on February 1, 1906. It is the first mint to issue coins. The mint is still in operation and produces coins for circulation as well as mint sets, commemorative coins, and other items. The D mint mark is used to identify coins produced by the Denver Mint. This mark is not to be confused with that of the Dahlonega Mint. The Denver Mint is the largest global producer of coins.
The men of Clark, Gruber, and Company were the predecessors to the Denver Mint. They created gold dust from the gold mines during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. Emanuel Henry Gruber, Milton E. Clark, Austin M. Clark, and Milton E. Clark founded a brokerage company in Leavenworth, Kansas in 1858. They then opened a Denver office at the start of the Colorado Gold Rush. The private mint was established by the firm in order to cut shipping and insurance costs for shipping gold back east. The mint opened in a brick building with two stories at Market and 16th Streets on 25 July 1860. It produced $10 gold pieces at a rate of "fifteen to twenty coins per minute". "The face depicts the peak with its base enclosed by a forest and 'Pikes Peak Gold. Below the base of the American Eagle is the word "Denver" and below it, 'Ten D. The American Eagle is encircled by the name and date of the firm Clark, Gruber & Co.'. ": 26-27
When Congress authorized the establishment of a Denver mint for silver and gold coin production, there was renewed hope for branch mint status. The location for the new mint at West Colfax, Delaware streets was purchased by Congress on April 22, 1896 for $60,000. Construction began in 1897.
The plant was not fully funded and as such, the transfer of the assay operations to the new facility was delayed until September 1, 1904. The Denver facility was upgraded to Branch Mint when coinage operations began on February 1, 1906. The Mint's new machinery was also installed, but it was not ready for use. It was sent first to the St. Louis Exposition in 1904 for display. In 1906, silver coins were first minted in Denver. In 1906, Denver was the first city to mint silver coins.
Lode mining was established when the streams of gold ran out. This allowed for the discovery of veins of ore containing a high proportion of gold and silver. The Assay Office had a total annual value of $5.6 million in gold and silver by 1859. The Denver plant was the city's largest structure during its early years as an Assay Office.
The United States Treasury didn't expand its smelting or refining operations at the same pace as the discovery and production gold. A group of businessmen, led by Judge Hiram Bates (formerly one the largest brokers on New York's Gold Exchange), Joseph Miner and Denver Mayor Joseph E. Bates, established Denver Smelting and Refining Works. This plant processed ore into ingots that were then weighed and stamped at the Denver Mint.Denver CO Skyline Park
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