Yesterday I wrote about Day 1 of my numismatic trip through eastern Colorado. My son and I spent that first day travelling and visiting the American Numismatic Association’s Money Museum in Colorado Springs.
Day 2 started out with a visit to the Denver Mint. I’ve been wanting to take my son to the Mint for years now. This year presented the perfect opportunity since, in school, he’s studying early American economics and the government’s role in our money system. One of the beauties of home schooling is that it’s easy to re-arrange schedules and just go when an opportunity arises.
While learning about touring the Mint, I discovered that getting tickets can be a bit of a competitive sport. Tickets for the tours are free but they’re available on a first-come-first-served basis. The ticket window opens at 7:00 am so at the very least you want to arrive by then to try and secure entry. Certain times of the year can be extra busy. We weren’t going during one of the posted “busy” times but there was a large coin expo starting that day and I didn’t know if that would bring in more people for the tour or not.
Well, I wasn’t about to take a chance on missing the tour after driving as far as we had. So at 5:00 am we were up and getting ready. At 5:30 we left the hotel and drove to downtown Denver. We got there by 6:00 and drove past the ticket window to see if any crazy people were freezing in line yet. Nobody was. It looked like we were the only crazy ones. Ok, Ok, I was the only crazy one. My son didn’t have a choice.
Anyway, we parked on the street less than a block away and waited. Every 10 minutes or so we would hop out and go around the corner to see if anyone was there. Finally, about 6:30 I looked and saw two people in line!
Since we were already there I figured we might as well wait in line too. You never know when the hordes will come. So for about 25 minutes we shivered and waited. But we definitely got our tickets! And sure enough, the hordes eventually came but they had slept in.
We took the first tour of the day at 8:00am. Since you have to be at the door 30 minutes early for security measures, we had less than half an hour to wait back in the car. At 7:30 we were back out shivering until being invited through the metal detectors and into a small museum.
Tourist are given about 20 minutes to mill about and look at the coins on the wall. After the Money Museum the day before, this collection wasn’t overly impressive but there were still some interesting things to see. I was more enthralled with the bathroom in the museum since I hadn’t had access to one for 2 ½ hours but had needed one for 2 hours. Rest assured, there’s one there.
The tour itself took about 45 minutes. The tour guide looked just like Brian Cranston but was a lot nicer than Walter White. Unfortunately, the most you get to see of the money making process is a bunch of pennies going by in little white trays. You can’t expect much though since this is an industrial manufacturing plant. But it would have been more exciting if the workers down on the floor were wearing hazmat suits or were dressed like Oompa Loompas or something.
The tour is more a guided museum walk with historic displays and the guide telling stories. You do get to peek in a little vault and see a few gold bars (part of the much larger store they keep there) and at the end of the tour see the original entrance and lobby which are amazing.
After the tour we went through the gift shop and bought four, uncirculated, 2018 state quarters for the rock bottom price of $1.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Mint and my son had a pretty good time too. But after the tour, our numismatic day wasn’t over. We had one more event to attend to make it a trifecta. But that will have to wait until tomorrow’s post.