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This Rapid City Journal article from March 26, 2017 profiles Denver Mint superintendent Nora Walsh Hussey -Editor

Nora Walsh Hussey In 1981, Nora Walsh Hussey was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be superintendent of the Denver Mint.

Hussey, who lived in Sturgis at the time, appeared in front of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee in Washington to answer questions.

“They weren’t difficult,” she said. “It was short and sweet.”

Hussey was unanimously confirmed and moved to Denver, becoming the first non-Coloradan to be superintendent of the Denver Mint, which began striking coins in 1906.

Hussey, who now lives in Spearfish, will turn 102 today. She recalled her days at the mint and earlier involvement in local politics in a recent interview.

During Hussey’s seven years at the mint, “We made billions of pennies. They were by far ordered the most,” she said.

In early 1982, all mint facilities stopped producing the mostly copper-alloy penny and moved to a copper-plated zinc. “We had the last backlog of copper in the country, so it wasn’t until fall that we changed the penny like they had already done at the rest of the facilities,” she said.

Using a patented electroplating process, the new metal-composition strips were struck by dies sent from Philadelphia. Over 6 billion pennies were minted in 1982 at the Denver Mint.

Hussey said that the new zinc-covered pennies were not that much different side by side, but she felt that the older, more copper coins, were “just prettier when new.”

The modified dies for the new metal mix pennies were not sent right away, so the old dies with larger date numbers were used in production for a short time. Those particular pennies and other die variations from 1982 are considered quite desirable to some collectors today.

Hussey supervised the entire Denver Mint operation until 1987. Since then, her public service has been recognized by Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who proclaimed March 17, 2012, Nora Walsh Hussey Day, commending her “for her dedicated and outstanding service to this state and country.”

Hussey said she is thankful for her the time she spent at the mint. “I made many friends there,” she said. “It was a fun place to work that I enjoyed immensely.”

To read the complete article, see:
Spearfish woman made her mark at Denver Mint (

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