Precious coins honor Old Mint

Gold, silver commemorative currency sales to defray cost of preserving ‘Granite Lady’

The U.S. Mint unveiled a new commemorative coin honoring The City’s Old Mint with the proceeds from the sale of the coin funding refurbishment of the “Granite Lady” as a city museum and an American coin and Gold Rush museum.

The Old Mint on Fifth Street near Market Street survived both the earthquake and fire of 1906, making the “Granite Lady’’ the only financial institution in San Francisco operable as the treasury for disaster relief funds.

U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi joined fellow San Francisco Democrat, Sen. DianneFeinstein, and members of the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society were honorary guests Friday to ceremonially strike silver dollars that will be sold to raise money for restoration.

“The Old Mint is a key part of San Francisco’s history, and along with history comes a sacred responsibility to preserve and protect it for future generations,’’ Pelosi said. “Just as the Old Mint’s protected millions of dollars in government gold, these commemorative coins will help preserve our Granite Lady.’’

Pelosi and Feinstein both sponsored the commemorative coin legislation in Congress.

“California has a special relationship to coins because it became a state mainly as a result of the Gold Rush, and the Old Mint in San Francisco was built by the federal government in 1874 to coin gold from the Gold Rush,’’ Feinstein said.

Feinstein added that approximately $35 million has been secured toward refurbishing the Old Mint as a coin and Gold Rush museum, and that the sale of the coins will ensure that San Francisco will have a museum to honor everything that it represents.

The gold and silver coins will feature images of the Old Mint modeled on the original architectural rendering by A.B. Mullett, according to San Francisco Museum and Historical Society Executive Director Erik Christofferson.

The $5 gold coin has a mintage limit of 100,000, while the $1 silver coin has a mintage limit of 500,000.

“The Old Mint is endangered no more,’’ Pelosi said.

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