As we continue our Numismatic Summer Road Trip we head this week to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where there is an ultimate coin-related attraction, the United States Mint at Philadelphia. While this may be an obvious choice to numismatists, maybe you need to convince family members that it’s a great place to visit. So, according to Philadelphia Magazine, here are the top five reasons you should take a tour of the United States Mint — excerpted and with some comments from me. (For the entire article visit: http://www.phillymag.com/ticket/2015/03/19/5-reasons-you-should-take-a-tour-of-the-united-states-mint/)
1. It’s So Convenient to Major Heritage Attractions
These include the National Constitution Center, the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
2. Admission to the U.S. Mint is Free!
You won’t need to pay a dime to get into the U.S. Mint (but you might get to see one being made — see next item).
3. Watch Money Get Made Right Before Your Very Eyes
It’s pretty cool to see thousands of brand new coins roll off the presses and march off to circulation. However, there are no free samples at the Mint.
4. Meet Peter the Mint Eagle
Peter was a bald eagle who lived at the old Philadelphia Mint during the 1830s. He became something of a local celebrity. The Mint’s staff would let him out of the building to fly over the city during the day. While you can still see Peter, he hasn’t flown anywhere for a while.
5. The Philadelphia Mint is One of the Largest Coining Facilities in the World
In fact, until January 2009, the Philadelphia Mint was the largest coining facility in the world. The Philly Mint covers some five acres of land and produces an average of 1 million coins every 30 minutes. Sound like a lot of coins? It was in the old days, that’s for sure—it would have taken the original Philadelphia Mint three years to strike that many coins.
The Philadelphia Mint offers free, self-guided tours that take about 45 minutes. The facility is open for visitors from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. It is also open the same hours on Saturdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day (but the above article notes that on weekends you might not see any staff working the coining machines). There are also coins on display in the David Rittenhouse Room gallery.
Additional attractions near Philadelphia
Once again, it could be a nearly endless list here, especially for people with an interest in our nation’s history. But in keeping with the "free" theme, check out this link to visitphilly.com, listing the top 10 free attractions in the city — one of which you already know.