Big Things Happened at the United States Mint in the Month of May

By CoinWeek …..
 

Summer gets underway in May and for some Americans, this is a period of rest and relaxation. Not so for the United States Mint. Throughout its history, May has marked a month of important beginnings and endings. We see the establishment of the Nova Constellatio coinage, the opening of new Mint facilities and with that the first strikings of new coinages. In 1936, May was the month when the dam broke on commemorative half dollars, forcing the federal government to take action to severely restrict the program. The resumption of dollar coinage also took place across multiple decades in the month of May.

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May 1, 1806: President Jefferson suspends the production of silver dollars. Madison informs the Mint with a letter dated May 1, 1806.

May 2, 1878: Twenty cent denomination abolished by Congress.

May 2, 1994: Launch ceremony held at the Philadelphia Mint to mark the release of the 1995 Special Olympics Commemorative Coin Program.

May 3, 1935: Congress authorizes the striking of the California-Pacific International Exposition (San Diego) half dollar.

May 4, 1869: Oliver Bosbyshell begins work as register of deposits at the Philadelphia Mint.

May 4, 1921: The Denver Mint begins production of silver dollars.

May 4, 1936: Gettysburg half dollar authorization bill passes the House.

May 4, 2018: Treasury Department responds to Coin World’s April 5, 2018 FOIA request, acknowledging that it holds 4,686,358 foreign gold coins, weighing 991,855.139 fine troy ounces of gold at the West Point Mint.

May 5, 1783: May 5: Philadelphia Silversmith Abraham DuBois is paid $72 to sink and harden four pairs of dies which are used to create the Nova Constellatio pattern coinage.

May 5, 1936: President Roosevelt signs into law legislation authorizing the production of the Cleveland half dollar (Law 552) and New Rochelle half dollar (Law 556).

May 6, 1913: Mint receives order to implement the Type II Buffalo nickel design.

May 6, 1936: Re-coinage of the California-Pacific International Exposition commemorative half dollar authorized.

May 6, 1991: First strike ceremony held for the Korean War Memorial commemorative dollar. Treasurer of the United States Catalina Vasquez Villalpando introduced the coin.

May 7, 1849: United States Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre finishes dies for the gold dollar.

May 7, 1936: Elgin half dollar authorization bill passes the House.

May 8, 1838: New Orleans Mint strikes 30 dimes, the first coins struck at the facility. Shortly thereafter, presses break down and coinage does not resume until May 22.

May 8, 1849: First gold dollars struck. About six Proofs and 1,000 business strikes.

May 8, 1972: The United States devalues the dollar from 1/35 to 1/38 of a fine troy ounce of gold, pursuant to measures authorized in Public Law 92-268, the Par Value Modification Act.

May 9, 1921: The San Francisco Mint begins production of silver dollars. It is likely that the 1921-S Zerbe Proofs are struck on this day.

May 9, 1921: Congressman Albert Henry Vestal (R-Indiana), Chairman of the House Committee on Coinage, introduces Peace Dollar legislation.

May 9, 1934: President Roosevelt signs bill authorizing the production of the Maryland Tercentenary Commemorative half dollar.

May 9, 1961: U.S. Senate confirms Fern V. Miller to the position of Superintendent of the Denver Mint. Miller is sworn into office on May 19.

May 10, 1837: Major run on a New York bank leads to the suspension of specie payments, resulting in financial Hard Times across the country.

May 10, 1913: Mint begins production of Type II Buffalo nickel.

May 13 – May 24, 1965: 322,394 1964-D Peace dollars were struck at the Denver Mint. The entirety of this mintage was reportedly culled with no examples released into circulation. Rumors of a few examples escaping the Mint have persisted for decades.

May 13: Production of the .9999 fine gold 2016-W Standing Liberty quarter dollar coins begins at West Point.

May 14, 1947: Chief Engraver John Sinnock dies.

May 16, 1795: 39,312 half dollars delivered.

May 16, 1866: Congress authorizes the production of nickel five cents coins.

May 16, 1861: Treasurer of the Confederacy C.G. Memminger orders the seized Dahlonega Mint to close.

May 18, 1893: President Grover Cleveland nominated John Daggett to serve as San Francisco Mint Superintendent.

May 18, 2020: Weir National Historic Site quarter goes on sale.

May 19, 1839: New Orleans Melter/Refiner James Maxwell has Treasurer’s Clerk Dimitry arrested on suspicions of theft.

May 19, 1933: United States Mint ceases production of gold coins. Between May 8-19, the Philadelphia Mint had struck 145,000 double eagles. The last striking is delivered to the Cashier of the United States Mint. No 1933 double eagles were paid out, 500 put aside for assay.

May 19, 1961: Fern V. Miller sworn in as Superintendent of the Denver Mint.

May 20, 1911: The Denver Mint strikes its first Lincoln cent.

May 21, 1936: Arkansas half dollar (change of design) passes the Senate.

May 22, 1838: An emission of approximately 20,000 coins is struck at New Orleans before the presses break down again towards the end of May. Facility does not produce further coinage until Mid-July.

May 23, 1799: Bank of the United States deposits $44,022.98 in French crowns for coining into silver dollars. Paid out June 28.

May 23, 1800: Mint delivers 2,537 gold eagles, warrant 160. The Mint would deliver 2,021 more gold eagles on May 24, 339 more in May 26, and 471 additional pieces on May 29. Numismatist Walter Breen believes that all of these coins were dated 1799.

May 23, 1916: Herman A. MacNeil’s Standing Liberty quarter design is approved by the Treasury.

May 24, 1850: Senator Thomas Hart Benton adds an amendment to Senate legislation authorizing the establishment of a Mint in New York that would also authorize the establishment of a Mint in San Francisco. The bill passes the Senate but stalls in the House.

May 24, 1968: Congress authorizes the production of a Congressional Gold Medal to honor animation pioneer and philanthropist Walt Disney.

May 25, 1857: Flying eagle cent released into circulation. 300,000 paid out.

May 25, 1961: President Kennedy signs into law an act authorizing the production of a Congressional gold medal for poet Robert Frost.

May 26, 1870: San Francisco Mint superintendent General O.H. LaGrange returns 1870-dated dies to Philadelphia as it was discovered that several dies were shipped without the S mintmark. Before this, coiner J.B. Harmstead had hand-cut S mintmark on a three-dollar die that was used to strike the mysterious and unique 1870-S three-dollar gold coin.

May 26, 1979: Congressional gold medal honoring Hollywood actor John Wayne is approved. Wayne’s public persona of a horse-riding cowboy and tough-guy soldier was far removed from his real life. Wayne allegedly hated horses and received a 3-A deferment that got him out of serving during World War 2.

May 26, 1995: United States Mint issues official statement opposing H.R. 534, a bill that, if passed, would require the Treasury Department to mint a new $1 coin.

May 27, 1796: 1,435 dimes delivered.

May 27, 1816: Mint Director Patterson ordered new rolling machines from English firm Belles & Harrold. King George III had to approve the sale.

May 27, 1935: Bill introduced into the House to authorize the striking of the Elgin Centennial half dollar.

May 27, 1936: Charles P. Steinmetz half dollar bill introduced in House. This proposed commemorative coin legislation did not get signed into law. 

May 28, 1856: Mint Director Snowden has meeting with Dr. J.T. Barclay concerning Barclay’s recommendations relating to the use of new designs and alloys to reduce wear of U.S. coins.

May 28, 1879: 150 additional Stella coins delivered to Congress.

May 30, 1853: Mint Director Thomas Pettit dies.

Also in May

May 1792: Congress passes law authorizing the Mint to purchase 150 tons of copper (sufficient for the production of approximately 8 million cents). Population at the time was approximately 400,000 families- so 20 cents per family.

May 1815: Judge Joseph Hopkinson is appointed to oversee the production of Congressional Medals recognizing the valor of military commanders exhibited throughout the War of 1812.

May 1854: Mint strikes patterns of a larger diameter gold dollar using thinner planchets.

May 1861: Treasurer of the Confederacy C.G. Memminger orders the seized New Orleans Mint to close.

May 1862: Mint ramps up cent coinage to keep minor coins in circulation as the Civil War drags on.

May 1873: Henry Rice resigns as Superintendent of the Carson City Mint. Replaced by Frank Hetrich.

May 1875: Twenty-Cent pieces enter production at Philadelphia. Soon thereafter, San Francisco and Carson City.

May 1926: Oregon Trail commemorative half dollar authorization signed into law. The coin would be struck periodically through 1939.

May 1935: Mint strikes 10,000 Arkansas half dollars.

May 1937: New San Francisco Mint facility opens for business

Late May 1938: Mint orders changes to Felix Schlag’s Monticello design, requesting a straight on view of the edifice and the inclusion of the word “Monticello”. Schlag submits his edits in July.

May 1948: All three Mints strike 20,005 Booker T. Washington half dollars. Less than half of the total output would be sold to the public.


 

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