US Coins

West Point Mint storing pre 1930 US gold coins

Not only is the West Point Mint holding 4,686,358 foreign gold coins, mainly British sovereigns, in sealed bags in its vaults, but the facility is housing nearly 2,000 pre-1930 United States gold coins as well.

The website posted 74 pages of documents received June 21 pursuant to a May 21 Freedom of Information Act request. The documentation was posted online July 16 here.

The documents include a complete breakdown of all the foreign gold coins being stored that were originally intended to have been melted into gold bars in the 1940s.

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Also included is a listing of 1,836 U.S. gold coins from 19th and 20th century production that are defined only by denomination and year range.

Coin World has requested a complete breakdown of the U.S. gold coin holdings and has asked why the U.S. Mint is still holding the coins.

Of the total 1,836 U.S. coins, 1,749 are dated between 1850 and 1929: three are gold dollars, 53 are $2.50 quarter eagles, 188 are $5 half eagles, 117 are $10 eagles, and 1,291 are $20 double eagles, while 97 coins are listed simply as “Various Types.”

The Mint facility holds a total of 87 coins listed in the date range of 1856 to 1916 — one $3 coin, 18 half eagles, 18 eagles, and 50 double eagles.

Narratives in the FOIA-released documents recount some details of how the gold coins came to be in U.S. Mint possession.

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In one instance, a shipment of gold coins bound for a Polish bank in April 1944 from Dakar, South Africa, was received by a U.S. naval vessel. The Treasury Department received the coins and compensated Bank Polski with 351 gold bars in July 1949. The coins initially sat in Treasury vaults in New York before eventually being transferred decades later to West Point.

“It had been decided that the coins should not be melted and that they be acquired by the [Treasury] Secretary’s special account,” according to the documents auditing the gold stored at West Point.

In 1962, the coins were purchased by the Treasury general fund and deposited at the New York Assay Office under the account “Federal Reserve Bank of New York as Fiscal Agent of the United States.”

Also in 1962, 3,712 bags of foreign gold coins, purchased in 1947 and 1948 from Argentina and Greece respectively, were transferred from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and deposited at the New York Assay Office in New York City in the Treasury Secretary’s Special Account.

In 1964, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York withdrew 25 bags of gold coins from the 1962 shipment, leaving 3,687 bags from that shipment at the New York Assay Office.

The foreign gold coin storage at the New York Assay Office at the time totaled 4,141 bags.

Those 4,141 bags of the foreign gold coins containing 991,833.645 fine troy ounces of gold were physically transferred from the New York Assay Office vaults in 1982 to West Point, then known as the West Point Bullion Depository.

Full Mint status was granted to the West Point Mint in 1988, the same year the San Francisco Assay Office had its status reinstated to a full Mint of the United States. 

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