The US Government and Challenge Coin Production
There is a common myth that the US Mint and all other government mints are part of the Hero Industries sector of the economy. This myth is usually started by folks who have never seen a US Mint emblem in action. The truth, however, is that the US Mint is very different from the fairy tales and hero movies we have all grown up with. In fact, the Mint is very much an arm of the government, and it does operate as a business.
When you think of the word “mint”, what comes to mind? For most people, it is probably a gold and silver mine or the national banks of various nations. However, the Mint is actually a retailer of coin products and it sells many different types of coins. Some of these products are challenge coins. Challenge coins are produced by many different US Government mints, including the US Mint.
The US Mint is the third largest maker of coins in the world. In fact, it is almost as large as the minting industry it oversees. When you think about how many coins are produced annually and then how few consumers there are that buy them, the industry does indeed produce quite a bit. The question then becomes, why is the Mint involved in producing these coins? The answer lies in the role of hero coins and the role the US Government plays in the industry.
Hero coins are one way that the US Government gets directly involved in supporting the industry. Many of the smallest mints in the world depend on government support to keep their doors open. Smaller mints also rely heavily on foreign sources for their raw materials. If those sources dried up, the small business would fail. Hero coins are a great example of a foreign source being used to help keep the small businesses in business.
What types of materials are used to make these coins? The United States Mint uses both silver and gold in the production of these challenge coins. The gold is generally minted with a bullion design, and then the design is stamped on to the coin with a special adhesive. It is important to note that these coins do not always have to be American coins. There have been a lot of three-and-three sets which feature coins from all over the world.
The coins are not just for the US mint alone. There are also coins that feature images from all around the world. These include Greek, French, Russian, Native American, and Chinese coins. The US Mint also has a wide variety of commemorative mugs that feature these same coins.