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Have you ever wanted to see how coins are made?
If so, then you might want to take a free tour of the United States Mint.
The U.S. Mint in Philadelphia is the main mint location where coins are made.
While Philadelphia is the site of the first official United States Mint, there are a total of 4 operating mint branch locations in the nation.
A visit to the U.S. Mint Philadelphia means getting to see the process of turning a blank piece of metal into a finished coin ready for circulation.
However, don’t think a trip to the mint means getting any free samples! Souvenirs must be bought at the mint’s gift shop.
Here are some fun facts before you tour the Philadelphia Mint…
Philadelphia Mint Tours
The U.S. Mint Philadelphia tour is a free, self-guided tour of the facility.
It takes you through a walkway with windows that allow you to look at the numerous machines and processes required to make a coin in the U.S.
There are audio and visual aids throughout the tour which explain and illustrate the parts of the minting process as you are viewing them.
My Visit To The Philadelphia Mint
My family and I took a tour of the U.S. Mint Philadelphia when I was a teenager. We had to park our vehicle in a parking garage a couple blocks away. Once we passed security and got into the mint, we walked along the windowed corridors which overlook the minting process.
It was early November and there were very few other tourists at the Philadelphia Mint, which was nice — no waiting! Nor did we have to squeeze between people to catch a glimpse at the action going on inside the mint.
I was particularly interested at how large the operations were. Thousands of coins were being minted every minute!
There was an audio track which explained the stage in the minting process that was occurring wherever we were throughout the self-guided tour. That was nice, because I would not have known what I was looking at, were it not for the audio track. Honestly, all the minting machines at the Philadelphia Mint looked the same to me at the time.
I stopped by the gift shop afterwards. I got to push a button that struck an image onto a piece of bronze medal. The bronze medal cost $2.
For $4, I picked up a souvenir set of coins. This is a set of 6 pieces:
- 1 example of each of the 5 denominations struck for circulation at the Philadelphia Mint that year
- and 1 bronze medal honoring the Philadelphia U.S. Mint facility
Souvenir sets, however, are no longer being made.
Planning Your U.S. Mint Philadelphia Tour
Try to allow a good couple hours for your visit of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. You will need time to pass security inspections, wait in line, take the tour, and then perhaps spend a few coins of your own at the Philadelphia Mint’s gift shop afterward.
Be sure you realize that the security laws may get in the way if you are hoping to take photos of the minting process.
While the security guards didn’t stop me from taking my cameras in with me, no photos are allowed inside the building, hence why there are no photos of the factory floor. Given the tight security at the mint, I would expect that this would be strictly enforced and would definitely not recommend trying to sneak a photo or two. Source
The U.S. Mint, like most governmental agencies, is going to great lengths to ensure the protection and safety of both, facilities and people. To do this, the U.S. Mint restricts what you may bring along with you on a tour of the facility.
U.S. Mint Philadelphia tour hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The facility is closed on Federal holidays.
The Philadelphia Mint does not offer any parking on its property, but there are several parking lots and parking garages within a walking distance from the U.S. Mint Philadelphia. There are also public transportation services throughout downtown Philly.
Take A Virtual Tour Inside The U.S. Mint Philadelphia
If you can’t get a chance to stop by the Philadelphia Mint, then take a virtual tour of the U.S. Mint Philadelphia online!
These videos will give you a good idea of what it’s like on a U.S. Mint Philadelphia tour:
Here is the official Handbook To The Self-Guided U.S. Mint Philadelphia Tour.
The Bottom Line
Going to Philadelphia to watch the United States Mint make coins is one of the most fascinating things a coin collector can do.
The U.S. Mint turns out tens of millions of coins a month.
At the lightning-fast speeds of the U.S. Mint machines, it can be dizzying to watch the action as you see thousands of blank pieces of metal turn into legal tender right before your eyes.
If you live in Philly or plan to be anywhere in the area of New Jersey, Delaware, or Pennsylvania for vacation, be sure to take a swing by the United States Mint in Philadelphia.
The tour is free and the experience is something you’ll never forget!
More About The Philadelphia U.S. Mint
- Establishment Of The U.S. Mint Philadelphia
- Historical And Fun Facts About The U.S. Mint
- 5 Reasons To Take A U.S. Mint Philadelphia Tour
- U.S. Treasury FAQ About Coins
- History Of The Philadelphia Mint
- U.S. Treasury Facts About The Philadelphia Mint
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!