US Coins

U.S. Mint closes two facilities amid coronavirus crisis

The March 18 indefinite closure of the San Francisco Mint amid the coronavirus crisis has interrupted production of a number of numismatic products, including the 2020-S Enhanced Uncirculated Basketball Hall of Fame half dollar.

Coin images courtesy of the U.S. Mint: San Francisco Mint image by Seth Golub.

Two United States Mint production facilities closed, one for a few days and the other indefinitely, as officials react to the coronavirus pandemic.

Coinage production at the West Point Mint was interrupted March 28 after an employee tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. It reopened March 31.

The West Point interruption came two weeks after U.S. Mint officials indefinitely shuttered the San Francisco Mint March 18, disrupting production for a number of numismatic products.

Also, many members of the U.S. Mint’s headquarters staff are working from home after the mayor of Washington, D.C., Muriel Bowser, issued a stay at home directive to the populace March 30.

Coin World queried U.S. Mint officials March 30 about concerns spread within the numismatic community that the U.S. Mint was shutting down.

U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White provided Coin World with the following statement:

“The United States Mint is not shut down. On Saturday, March 28, a West Point Mint employee tested positive for COVID-19. Out of an abundance of caution, the West Point Mint paused production. During this temporary shutdown, we performed a thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the potentially impacted areas of the facility. The reopening plan for the West Point Mint calls for operations to restart at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 31. All production shifts at the West Point Mint will operate on Wednesday, April 1. The United States Mint continues to produce and distribute circulating coinage at the Denver Mint and Philadelphia Mint.”

Todd Martin, the U.S. Mint’s acting director of corporate communications, provided additional details to Coin World March 31 on the production lapse at the West Point Mint.

“Out of an abundance of caution, all West Point production lines were temporarily shut down Saturday night when notification of the COVID-19 positive test was received,” Martin said via email. “West Point has resumed operations this morning. The COVID-19 positive individual did not enter any production areas.

“Common areas and areas where the infected individual trafficked were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.”

The West Point Mint produces American Eagle bullion coins in all metals, American Buffalo gold coins and all gold commemorative coins.

The facility is also producing Proof, Reverse Proof and Uncirculated Mint set finish 2020-W Lincoln cents struck for inclusion as bonus coins for each Proof, Silver Proof and Uncirculated Mint set ordered. It also strikes 2020-W America the Beautiful quarter dollars for circulation.

The San Francisco Mint shut down on March 18 with no date for reopening announced. The Philadelphia Mint and Denver Mint are continuing in their production of circulating coins.

San Francisco shutdown

The indefinite shuttering March 18 of the San Francisco Mint is disrupting production and release for a number of numismatic products, including the limited edition 2020 Basketball Kids set containing an Enhanced Uncirculated 2020-S Basketball half dollar, the Proof 2020-S Basketball half dollar and Proof coins for annual sets.

Martin said in an emailed statement March 30, “As the global impacts of COVID-19 continue to evolve, United States Mint leadership’s top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of the Mint workforce. As part of the Federal Government, the Mint has and will continue to follow all guidance provided to the Federal Government, to include the information provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“As we do this, decisions made will undoubtedly impact the on sale dates, availability, and delivery of some of our numismatic products.

“One decision made recently is the temporary shutdown of the Mint facility in San Francisco.

“Mint facilities in Denver and Philadelphia continue to produce circulating coinage to facilitate commerce, and we continue to meet Fed demand. I encourage you to use the United States Mint catalog site as your primary source of the most current information on product and service status.”

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