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PHYSICAL REPOSITORY CHARACTERISTICS
Currency notes and coins in the United States (U.S.) are all produced by the Treasury Department. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) produces currency notes, and the U.S. Mint is responsible for producing coins. The Treasury Department must produce currency and coins in quantities sufficient to fill the needs of the public.
The BEP has approximately 2,500 employees who work out of two buildings in Washington, D.C., and a facility located in Fort Worth, Texas. BEP functions include the following:
• Designing and manufacturing U.S. currency;
• Designing and manufacturing many postage stamps, customs stamps, and revenue stamps;
• Designing, engraving, and printing Treasury bills, notes and bonds, and other U.S. securities; and
• Designing, engraving, and printing commissions, permits, and certificates of awards.
The U.S. Mint in Philadelphia was the first federal building erected under the Constitution. The number of coins minted today is astounding. Denver and Philadelphia alone produce 65 to 80 million coins each day. The following paragraphs provide short descriptions of these and other facilities belonging to the U.S. Mint and the activities and responsibilities undertaken at each facility.
U.S. Mint Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
Functions performed at the U.S. Mint Headquarters include policy formulation and central agency administration, program management, research and development, marketing operations, customer services and order processing, operation of the Union Station sales center, business unit management, and all www.usmint.gov Web site services. Philadelphia Mint, Pennsylvania The nation’s first mint provides a wide array of coin and manufacturing services. The Philadelphia Mint houses operations for engraving of U.S. coins and medals, production of medal and coin dies, production of coins of all denominations for general circulation, production of the Philadelphia “P” mint mark portion of the annual uncirculated coin sets and commemorative coins authorized by Congress, production of medals, public tours, and maintenance of the facility’s sales center. The Philadelphia Mint is currently the only facility that engraves the designs of the U.S. coins and medals.
Denver Mint, Colorado
Functions at the Denver Mint include production of coins of all denominations for general circulation, production of coin dies, production of the Denver “D” mint mark portion of the annual uncirculated coin sets and commemorative coins authorized by the U. S. Congress, public tours, maintenance of the facility’s sales center, and storage of gold and silver bullion.
In 1858, when gold was discovered in Colorado, hundreds of merchants, miners, and settlers moved in for their stake. A year later, the city of Denver was founded; in 1863, the U.S. government established a mint facility there. Today, the Denver Mint’s output can exceed 50 million coins a day.
San Francisco Mint, California
The San Francisco Mint plays an important role in our nation’s coinage. Although it does not currently produce circulating coins, it is the exclusive manufacturer of regular proof and silver proof coin sets that set the standard for numismatic excellence with their brilliant artistry, fine craftsmanship, and enduring quality.
West Point Mint, New York
The West Point Mint produces all uncirculated and proof one-ounce silver bullion coins; all sizes of the uncirculated and proof American Eagle gold bullion and platinum bullion coins; and all silver, gold, platinum, and bi-metallic commemorative coins authorized by Congress. The West Point Mint, located near the U.S. Military Academy in the State of New York, also stores silver, gold, and platinum bullion.
U.S. Bullion Depository, Fort Knox, Kentucky
The Fort Knox Depository stores U.S. gold bullion and is located within the boundaries of the Fort Knox Military Reservation, about 30 miles southwest of Louisville, Kentucky. The two-story Depository building is constructed of granite, steel, and concrete. The bullion is contained in a two-level steel and concrete vault with numerous compartments. Opening the 20-ton vault door requires several staff members, each of whom is entrusted with part of the set of combinations for the locking system. The vault casing, including the roof, is constructed of steel plates, I-beams, and cylinders laced with hoop bands encased in concrete.
The vault is surrounded by a corridor, and offices and storerooms line the outer wall of the Depository. The building walls are constructed of granite lined with concrete. Four guard boxes are connected to the corners of the Depository building. There are sentry boxes at the entry gate in the steel fence, and a driveway circles the Depository building. The building is equipped with its own backup power and water systems.
Federal Reserve Banks
Federal Reserve Banks are the operating arms of the Central Bank. They serve banks, the U.S. Treasury and, indirectly, the public. A Reserve Bank is often called a “banker’s bank,” storing currency and coin and processing checks and electronic payments. Reserve Banks also supervise commercial banks in their regions. As the bank for the U.S. government, Reserve Banks handle the Treasury’s payments, sell government securities, and assist with the Treasury’s cash management and investment activities. A network of 12 Federal Reserve Banks and 25 branches make up the Federal Reserve System under the general oversight of the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C.
Each year, the currency departments at each of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks make recommendations as to future currency needs. The banks then place orders with the Comptroller of the Currency. The Comptroller reviews the requests and forwards them to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The BEP then produces the appropriate denominations of currency notes bearing the seal of the Federal Reserve Bank placing the order. These Federal Reserve notes are claims on the assets of the issuing Federal Reserve Bank and liabilities of the U.S. Government.
The law requires that each Federal Reserve Bank hold collateral that equals at least 100% of the value of the currency it issues. Most of that collateral is in U.S. Government securities owned by the Federal Reserve System. Collateral also includes gold certificates, special drawing rights, or other “eligible” paper, including bills of exchange or promissory notes and some foreign government or agency securities obtained by the Federal Reserve.