Who Makes U.S. Currency?

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The U.S. Treasury Department is responsible for overseeing production of paper currency and coins. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces paper money, while the U.S. Mint generates the nation’s coins.

The U.S. Mint

The texture of money changes periodically to help prevent counterfeiting.
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Before the U.S. Mint was established, business transactions were conducted via barter system, trading for produce, livestock and native American shell beads known as wampum. On April 2, 1792, the U.S. Mint was created in Philadelphia. The first coins were copper cent pieces, placed in circulation in March, 1793, according to the U.S. Mint's website.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing

In 1861, paper money production depended on workers, who signed, trimmed and separated individual sheets of currency. Eventually the procedure became more mechanized. On August 29, 1862, a note processing workshop was created in the Treasury building basement. This operation eventually assumed the duties of engraving and printing entrusted to the Treasury, thus establishing the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, according to the U.S. Treasury website.

Production today

In 1909, the Lincoln penny was created as a special, commemorative coin.
pile of pennies image by Allen Pinkall from Fotolia.com

The U.S. Mint can produce more than 65 million coins a day at only two of its facilities. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has produced up to 38 million notes a day, with a face value of $750 million.


About the Author

Dylan Michaels started writing in 2000, specializing in health and wellness issues. Michaels' previous work was in the form of educational and marketing copy for nonprofit organizations, independent health-care providers and small-business owners. Michaels is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and a minor in English at California State University.

Photo Credits

  • Department of Treasury Building image by dwight9592 from Fotolia.com