Okay, the list of dos and don’t bring into the US Mint isn’t as wide as I was led to believe. Still very security conscious though, but surely not bothersome as the TSA is at airports.
Interesting fact: The U.S. Mint is the one federal government agency turning a profit. (Well, an honest profit, anyway if you take the IRS into account)
They make the coins and sell them for face value, as well as the many collectable / investment coins that they produce. But it’s still a government agency. The penny and nickel both cost more that face value to produce. The tour guide told us this fact, but responded to the suggestion that the penny be phased out by saying that it would put a good chunk of Mint employees out of work. (Geez, couldn’t we take the paper dollar out of circulation and increase the dollar coin production?)
The penny in fact makes for over half of the Denver Mint’s output.
But by the same token, the mint used to produce coins for foreign countries as well (as was shown in the tour). Apparently they haven’t done so since the mid 80’s, if this was to accommodate the demand for pennies, maybe the mint could get back into that business. I know, entrepreneurial thinking is alien to government agencies.
During the walk over to the mint I had the opportunity to flex my geek muscles a bit by talking comics and comic book movies with a fellow delegate who stopped reading comics about the time that Superman died in the early 90’s.