The Denver Mint Tours gives you an inside look at this coin production facility. The tours are free and last around 45 minutes long. Tickets are now only available at the gift shop the day of the tour, so make sure to arrive early to get your spot for the day.
This Mint was completed in 1904 and started producing US coins in 1906. During its first year in operation, it produced more than 2 million coins. The value of these coins at the time was almost $18 million dollars.
One year later, in 1907, it started producing foreign coins in addition to US coins. The first coins it produced were for Mexico. Over the years, they expanded their operations to produce coins for a variety of countries.
Today, the US Mint in Denver focuses on just US coins. They produce new coins to replace those that have been removed from circulation. Coins are removed as they are lost in couches, chairs, and on the ground. They are also removed when people store them in jars at home. The coins made here will replace those and allow the economy to continue to function properly. They also remove them as they become worn out and returned to banks, which then send them back to the Mint.
Your Denver Mint tour starts with a visit inside two small rooms that include a variety of information about money over the years. You will see early coins and other monetary tools used over the last few thousand years including early US money.
These two rooms also include rare pieces of currency that you won’t see anywhere else. It’s a great lesson of the evolution of monetary exchange in the US including up until today.
I’m going to give away a little secret here but you will also receive a small present. It includes both a minted and non-minted penny. It’s a great intro to the production facility.
You will wait in these two small rooms on the first level until your entire group has entered the building.
You will then proceed up the stairs to start the official tour. It starts with a video about the decisions to create money specific to the US. It takes you through the history of the first Mint operations and gives you more information about today’s Mints.
The Denver Mint tour continues with a view at their production facility. Here you will see and learn more about how coins are made. During our visit to this room, they were working on creating pennies.
You will spend about 15 minutes in this section so don’t feel as if you need to rush to see everything. Take your time and check it out.
You will then enter another room that shows some of the specialty coins that have been produced over the years. In addition, this room has several large rooms that allow you to watch more of the coin production. On this side of the production facility, they were producing dimes.
You will also find out more about the only person ever caught stealing gold bars at the US Mint in Denver’s early days. Just like the previous room, you can take your time as you will spend about 15 minutes here.
The tour then takes you to the older portion of the Mint. This is where you will get to see some of this building’s beautiful Gothic Renaissance architecture. Make sure to pay special attention to the gorgeous green and gold chandeliers and the murals near the exit.
The Denver Mint tour concludes with a brief discussion of the entire monetary system around the world.
You will notice the two doors that you exit through as they are made of brass with interesting details. They are awe-inspiring to say the least!
The guides are also warm and welcoming. They are open to answering your question or will point you in the right direction to find the answer.
The entire tour is around 45 minutes long.
You must pick up your free tickets to the Denver Mint tour the morning you would like to visit. They offer tours on Monday – Thursday.
They hand out all of the tickets for the day starting at 7am. Because this tour is so popular, they often have a line and hand out all tickets immediately when they open. There is a limit to 5 tickets per person and they do not offer advance tickets.
The gift shop is located on Cherokee Street. You will find it about half way between West Colfax Avenue and West 14th Avenue.
The guidelines for the Denver Mint tour are very strict. As I mentioned above, you can only get tickets the morning of the tour at the gift shop. They do not allow walk-ins, even if people don’t show up for the tour.
You are also required to be there no later than 30 minutes before your tour. If you arrive late, you will not be allowed to enter for your tour.
The following items are NOT allowed:
They do not offer storage, so you must leave these items at home or at your hotel.
They are very strict about these regulations and you will be checked thoroughly before you enter. Their screening system is similar to the airport screening system except you don’t have to take your shoes off. However, their metal detectors are even more sensitive than the ones at the airports!
What can you bring? Basically, anything small that will fit into your pockets. For our tour, we brought our license (required to get in), some money, and our keys. We also brought our sunglasses and my fiance had his hat and cell phone. We left everything else at home. Everyone else did about the same.
While they say you are allowed to bring a camera or a cell phone, you are strictly forbidden from taking any photos during the tour. They will only allow you to enter their security area once these devices are turned off. If they happen to catch you sneaking in a picture, you will be escorted from the building.
You are only allowed to bring along a few items and these are two that you must not forget for your tour.
All tours start on the eastern side of the building. Their address is 320 West Colfax. However, the Denver Mint tour entrance is on Cherokee Street directly across from the City and County Building. There is a green sign that says “U.S. Mint Visitor Entrance.” This is where you will queue before you enter. It’s also just north of the gift shop where you picked up your tickets that morning.
Overall, we really enjoyed our tour of the US Mint in Denver and I’m sure you will do. As a reminder, make sure to try to get to the gift shop as early as you can in the morning as the tickets go quickly. You can also visit the Mint’s gift shop before or after your tour. You don’t even need a tour to visit it as it is open to the public during the week.