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NNP Blog

Mar 23 2023

Pete Smith Writes U.S. Mint Coin Bag Guide

While most of us have seen a U.S. Mint coin bag here or there, no one has attempted a wider treatment of the subject, until now. Pete Smith’s The Incomplete Guide to United States Mint Coin Bags (92 pp.) represents the first best attempt to restore order to the chaos of cloth banks utilized by the various Mints. Using online sources, as well as his own experience in the bullion trading business, Smith identifies the major categories of bags and creates a framework for collectors and future researchers. 

Bags surely existed in massive quantities but are infrequently seen today. Smith notes that 56,470 bags would have been required for the 1940-S cent coinage and by extension asks, “where are they now?” Today, the most prized bags are those used to transport gold or Carson City coinage, and nearly all bags identified date to the 20th century.

Newman Portal has digitized some of the late 19th century Mint correspondence relating to coin bags. P. J. Kornder of Brooklyn complained to the Mint Director in 1891: “I would like to call your attention to the enclosed bag which I got from the Mechanics Bank Brooklyn with $10 in Pennies, it is the poorest bag I ever saw and so small that they cannot be properly tied. I spilled them all over the street in carrying. I send you this merely to draw your attention to them, perhaps they are being furnished inferior to the required kind &c.”

Link to The Incomplete Guide to United States Mint Coin Bags on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/624852
Link to Mint bag correspondence, 1879-1895: https://archive.org/details/newmannumismatic?query=bag&sort=&and[]=creator%3A%22u.s.+mint%22
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