* Special thanks to "Google Images", (all photos represent a close resemblance of the actual processes involved), "The New Yorker", and the "usmint.com"
by Felicity Blaze Noodleman
Los Angeles, CA
Much has been written down through the years about our subject this week, money, as we begin this Friday the thirteenth. Expressions such as one of the oldest; "The love of money is the root of all evil' (The Bible). Many other quotes are much harder to trace, such as "Money can't but happiness or love". "Money talks"! "A fool and his money are soon parted". "Money doesn't grow on trees"; the list is almost endless. Songs have also been written about the stuff! "Money" (That's what I want) (Jr. Walker & the All Stars), Money,Money, Money (Abba), "Money Changes Everything" (Cyndi Lauper) and again the list is too long to continue. Recording artists have even used money in their last names such as Eddie Money and Johnny Cash!
Our article this week looks at the United States Treasury Department and will discover the process involved in printing our money and the making of our coins. Since we are spending so much money at this time of year, did you ever wonder how it’s done? Before starting this article we had a basic knowledge about the process involved, but we were highly impressed with the latest innovations implemented by the Treasury Department which is using the highest and most sophisticated techniques made possible by the latest state of the art equipment available today.
For the production of US coins, which is the very old trade know as metal fabrication and the printing of the paper notes we use for folding cash; we will explore some of the modern specialized printing equipment, the process for both forms of money is highly labor intensive. Money production involves many steps to create the finished product. The US Treasury combines both art and technology to produce currency that is very difficult to forge by counterfeiters and helps protect our economy keeping it safe from economic collapse by hostile foreign governments who have tried in the past to flood the economy with unauthorized currency.
Most of this article will be supplied by the Treasury Department which we will supplement with photography found from “Google Images” to illustrate the information. First however we will begin with an article written in August of this year from the “New Yorker” which reported a $30 Million dollar mistake in the production of the newly designed $100 dollar bill discovered by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to spark your interest! This article will give you a glimpse into some of the new security features being incorporated on today's money and how art and technology now meet with the new precautions to safeguard money and the economy.
"The New Yorker"
A Blunder at the Money Factory
Posted by David Wolman
August 13, 2013
Photograph by Mark Wilson/Getty.
The cause of the latest blunder is something known as “mashing,” according to Darlene Anderson, a spokeswoman for the bureau. When too much ink is applied to the paper, the lines of the artwork aren’t as crisp as they should be, like when a kid tries to carefully color inside the lines—using watercolors and a fat paintbrush.
Anderson said this happens “infrequently.” Still, this foul-up is only the latest embarrassment for the bureau. The redesigned hundred-dollar bill was meant to be released in early 2011, but has been delayed for the past two years because of a massive printing error, separate from the recent mashing problem, in which some notes were left with a blank spot.
This time, recent batches of cash from the Washington, D.C., plant contained “clearly unacceptable” bills intermixed with passable ones, according to a July memo to employees from Larry Felix, the bureau’s director. So the Fed is returning more than thirty million hundred-dollar notes and demanding its money back, Felix wrote. Another thirty billion dollars’ worth of paper sits in limbo awaiting examination, and Fed officials have informed the bureau that they will not accept any hundred-dollar notes made at the Washington, D.C., facility until further notice.
Felix’s letter says internal quality-control measures should have prevented the bureau “from delivering defective work,” and that those responsible would be held accountable. The bureau now has to race to meet an October 8th deadline for delivering the year’s cash orders and to finally get the new hundred-dollar bill into circulation as promised. To that end, Felix has ordered the country’s other money factory, in Fort Worth, Texas, to accelerate its efforts. “There are dire consequences involved here because BEP sells Federal Reserve notes to the Board to finance our entire operation,” he wrote in the memo. “If the BEP does not meet the order, the BEP does not get paid.”
The financial toll from the recent bungle is tough to know: the Treasury and the Fed have little interest in calculating it, let alone being transparent about it. Still, the direct cost probably isn’t greater than the sum of what the bureau pumps out in a few days. “Central banks are a bit like other businesses,” said Ben Mazzotta, a researcher at the Fletcher School’s Institute for Business in the Global Context who focusses on the costs of different forms of money. “They can draw down inventories or order additional product.”
There are other costs, though. Taxpayers will have to pay to inspect, correct, produce, transport, and secure all the additional money that will replace the botched notes. Disposing of the bad bills? That’s on taxpayers, too, as are the additional hours spent making up for the mistake by employees of the bureau.
A possible greater cost of these scrip shenanigans is diminished confidence in the greenback. The situation is akin to a magician getting caught unloading a crate of bunnies from the back of his truck. It threatens to injure the aura—the almightiness—of the dollar that enables most people to go about their business without ever stopping to examine the bills in their hand or to contemplate what gives them value. The only thing conferring value on those dollars, of course, is trust in other people’s trust in them, which is both weird and magnificent.
David Wolman is a contributing editor at Wired. His latest book, “The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers—and the Coming Cashless Society,” is out this month in paperback.
"The New Yorker"
Photo Walkthrough of U.S. Mint at Philadelphia
by RHONDA KAY on OCTOBER 7, 2013
THE MINTING PROCESS REVEALED
Here, Earl Sandt, Tool Maker, Digital Process & Development Division, operates the OGP Flash 500 optical microscope to scan tooling dimension information. This data is shared with the S-21 CNC machine (shown further below). Later, a cylindrical grinder is used to automatically shape hubs and three-inch dies.
Step 1: Blanking
All coins start as a sheet of metal. The United States Mint buys metal strips that are about 13 inches wide and 1,500 feet long. These strips are wound into giant coils, which are easier to move.Each coil is fed through a blanking press, which punches out round disks called blanks. The strip of metal that's left over is called webbing. It's shredded and recycled—usually into another sheet of metal.
The Mint doesn't make blanks for pennies—it buys them. However, the Mint supplies fabricators with the copper and zinc that are used to make the penny blanks.
This photo shows how the metal discs look after running through an upsetting mill. They now have edges and are called planchets.
Step 2: Annealing, Washing, and Drying
Because nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollars are all different sizes, so are their blanks. They're even a mix of different metals. But all blanks need to be prepared before they can be minted.
First, the blanks are heated in an annealing furnace to soften the metal. Then, they are run through a washer and dryer. This makes the blanks nice and shiny!
Step 3: Upsetting
It's not the bad blanks but the good ones that are upset. Why is that? Because upsetting is the next step in the process. A machine, called an upsetting mill, raises a rim around the edge of the blank. If you run your fingers around a coin, you can feel this tiny raised edge!
Step 4: Striking
At this point, the round piece of metal is still a blank. This makes sense—it doesn't yet have the design and lettering that make it a coin.The process of adding these items is called striking. The upset blanks go through the coining press. All at once, this machine strikes the pictures, amount, and mottoes onto both sides of the blank. Now it's a genuine United States coin!
A new Perry’s Victory coin is about to drop down a chute and on a tray while, at the same time, a fresh planchet is fed for striking.
Kennedy Half-Dollar Hub (top left) –
Obverse Kennedy Half-Dollar Hub (top right) – Reverse
2014 Kennedy Half-Dollar Dies (bottom left) (Top View)
2014 Kennedy Half-Dollar Dies - Side View (bottom right)
Step 5: Inspecting
Not all coins are ready to circulate. Some need to be remade. That's why after they're struck, coins must be inspected before they can leave the Mint.
First, the press operator uses a magnifying glass to spot-check a new batch, making sure that the designs and inscriptions came out right. Then, the coins are put through a coin sizer. This machine screens out any misshapen or dented coins.
Step 6: Counting and Bagging
Now the coins are ready to leave the Mint!First, an automatic counting machine drops coins into large canvas bags. As it does this, it keeps track of the number of coins it drops. The bags are sewn shut and loaded onto pallets. Then forklifts move the pallets to storage vaults.
When a Federal Reserve Bank needs more coins, the Mint ships them in an armored truck. Your local bank gets all new coins from the nearest Federal Reserve Bank. Then as the bank gives out change, the new coins make their way to you!
The holding box of a coining press. A batch of new coins stay in the box until one of them is inspected.
If the coin has an error, all of them in the box are condemned. They later go through waffler machines to destroy the designs. This photo shows some resulting waffles.
In conclusion; there are several good documentaries on the production of money available. PBS's "Nova" program entitled "Secrets of making Money" The other we recommend is by the History Channel program entitled "The Making of US Currency", if you would like to learn more. National Geographic has also produced "America's Money Vault", which is a very fine documentary. Another area of interest is the hobby of currency collecting known as "Numismatics"; this is an avocation which covers a wide encyclopedia of information regarding everything ever made or printed by the US Mint.
Our interests in covering this subject are to varied to be mentioned. This subject is highly stimulating! We will mention the "Trillion Dollar Deficit" and try to imagine that much money! This has been Felicity writing for the "Noodleman Group".
Obama, Biden and Bernanke
Wait until Americans realize that most states in the US are broke and radical changes are immediately ahead at these levels never mind what the federal government has to eventually cut. If it is any consolation, Europe is in the same fix. Is it any surprise then that nations want to commandeer pensions, as Argentina, Hungry and France have already done.
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