United States Coin Mint in Denver
On the Morgan silver dollar stage, the Denver Mint plays but a bit part, producing coins only for part of 1921 and at no other time. However, the single Denver Mint product, the 1921-D dollar, each with a very small D mintmark, is significant.
In 1862 the federal government purchased the private mint operated by Clark, Gruber & Company, bankers who had come to Denver from Leavenworth, Kansas, and who had struck gold coins there in 1860 and 1861, of the denominations of $2.50, $5, $10, and $20, the two largest values being distinguished by each having a view of Pikes Peak, not at all what the actual mountain looked like, but symbolic, nonetheless.
The intention of the government was to operate the facility as the Denver Mint, and in Treasury records from that point onward, including the Annual Report of the Director of the Mint, it was consistently referred to as the Denver Mint. However, no coins were ever struck there under federal auspices.
Beginning in 1904 a new mint was erected on a different site, and in 1906 it was opened for business. At the time it was the most modern facility in America, a state of the art facility. At first, silver and gold coins were struck there, each with a D mintmark, then beginning in 1911, Lincoln cents, and in 1912, nickel five-cent pieces.
The Denver Mint earned high accolades for efficiency of production, and quantities of other coins struck there tended to be large, although not necessarily higher than that of the other operating mints during a given year.
Today, the same Denver Mint building is still used and is a vital part of coin production. The facility is somewhat larger, having undergone expansion in 1937.