Out of the fervor of the gold rush came many things. Not the least among them was the San Francisco Mint. It was affectionately known as “The Granite Lady” and even survived the great earthquake of 1906. It remained active until 1937 when the present Mint was opened.
The first year of operation saw $4 million in gold bullion turned into coins. The next building, which was the second was built in 1874 and had a Greek flair to it’s design. In the courtyard of the second building, there was a well which is credited for saving the building during the fire of 1906. At the time of the 1906 fire, the Mint was believed to have been holding about a third of the US gold reserves. Due to quick thinking and heroic efforts by the Mint Superintendent, Frank Leach, the bullion that backed the nation’s currency was saved. This building was declared a landmark in 1961.
The newest Mint opened in 1937 and took over most proof coinage production from the Philadelphia Mint in 1968. From 1955-1968 circulating coinage was suspended from San Francisco Mint. The San Francisco mint has dealt mainly in proof coinage except for the minting of the Susan B. Anthony dollar and a portion of the minting of cents in the early 1980’s. Coins minted in San Francisco are marked with an “S” to distinguish them from the Philadelphia minting.
The Current building is located at 155 Hermann Street in San Francisco but does not allow any visitors.