Coin Trivia

Interesting coin facts and coin trivia that will both suprise and amaze you. Organized by major subject in Q & A Format!

 General Coin Trivia

Q - What does E Pluribus Unum, the motto found on U.S. Coinage mean?

A - "Out of many, one."

Q - How many sides does a coin have?

A - Three. The obverse (top), the reverse (back) and the edge.

Q - How do you determine the obverse or top side of a coin?

A - The obverse is typically the side that bears the name of the country of origin.

Q - What was the first state to issue official state coinage after the Revolution?

A - Vermont was the first state to issue an official state coinage even though it did not yet have official "state status" under the Articles of Confederation at the time.

Q - What are "proof" coins or sets?

A - The term "proof" actually refers to the method of manufacturing a coin, not to its condition. Proof coins and sets are produced primarily for sale to serious coin collectors.

Q - What is the difference between a "proof set" and a "mint set"?

A - A proof set is berally a very high quality set of specially manufactured coins with a brillant finish, high relief and exquisite detail. A mint set is an uncirculated set of coins issued yearly by the U.S. Mint.

Q - Is is true that the first real person on a U.S. coin was a foreigner?

A - The first identifiable person to appear on a regular issue coin was the famous Italian navigator, Christopher Columbus, who was generally credited with discovering America. The coin was the 1892 Columbian Exposition commemorative half-dollar.

Q - Is there a Federal law against altering a coin?

A - Federal law prohibits the possession or sale of any coin that has been altered for the purpose of increasing its value.

Q - What was the first building erected by authority of the Federal Government?

A - The original mint in Philadelphia.

Q - What was the basis for having a lettered edge on a coin?

A - Lettering and reeding an edge of a coin was first done to prevent people from shaving or filing a few grains of gold and silver from the edge.

 United State Mint(s)

Q - How many U.S. Mints are there today?

A - There are only four United States mints as of 2012: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and West Point. However, the bullion depository at Fort Knox is part of the Mint system but not seen as a official mint since it does not produce coins.

Q - Where was the first mint and when was it authorized and opened?

A - Philadelphia which was authorized by Congress in April 1792 and started operation in October 1792.

Q - What is the largest mint in the world and how many coins can they produce?

A - The Philadephia Mint which can produce up to 13.5 billion coins every year or 32 million coins per day.

Q - In what year did mint marks first appear on U.S. coins?

A - The first mint marks first appeared collectively in 1838 the establishment of branch mints at New Orleans (O), Dahlonega (D) and Charlotte (C).

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