A Glimpse Inside the Vault of the West Point Mint

Screen grab from the Mint's B-roll footage inside the West Point Mint, posted on YouTube November 25, 2016.

Screen grab from the Mint’s B-roll footage inside the West Point Mint, posted on YouTube November 25, 2016. The signatures on the wall are from past visitors (one being then–Mint Director Edmund Moy, who’s pictured in the vault in part 3 of MNB’s series “Mint in Crisis”).

A few weeks ago, the Mint posted on its YouTube channel a bit of B-roll footage shot inside the West Point Mint’s vaults. While the video isn’t particularly newsworthy, just a few miscellaneous shots (such being the nature of B-rolls), the sight of those stacks of gold and silver is always a little breathtaking—like walking into a dragon’s lair.

Around the 50-second mark, a Mint employee weighs a gold bar that comes in at 400.096 troy ounces. At a price of $1,125 per ounce, that bar’s value is $451,080.

(Video courtesy of the United States Mint)

The West Point facility was built in 1937 to store silver bullion, but began striking one-cent coins in 1973. In 1980, the facility began to strike gold medallions, and soon afterward, its vaults were made home to $20 billion in U.S. Mint gold. On March 31, 1988, it was officially made a branch of the United States Mint; although it still serves as a storage facility, the West Point Mint produces all Proof and Uncirculated silver, gold, and platinum American Eagle bullion coins; the 1-ounce American Buffalo gold bullion coin; and commemorative coinage as authorized by Congress.

In 2000, the West Point Mint struck the first-ever gold and platinum bimetallic coin: the Library of Congress Bicentennial $10 gold coins, both Uncirculated and Proof. (The companion Uncirculated and Proof silver dollars were struck at Philadelphia.) While commemorative and circulating bimetallic coinage have caught on in other countries, the United States has so far not embraced the format, and the Library of Congress gold/platinum coin remains the country’s first and only bimetallic issue.

2000-W Library of Congress Bicentennial gold and platinum bimetallic Proof coin. (Photo courtesy of APMEX)

2000-W Library of Congress Bicentennial gold and platinum Proof coin. (Photo courtesy of APMEX)

Security at the West Point Mint prohibits public tours, and only special visitors are admitted. The rest of us will have to be content with Mint footage and photos, or visitor images like those from former Mint Director Edmund Moy, who included snapshots of his visit to the vault in his American Gold and Platinum Eagles (Whitman, 2014).  ❑






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Comments

  1. says

    Dusty…I agree you should stay involved here.

    I do disagree that gold will under $1000 in Q2 next year, nor as some think that silver, will be $12

    After all, I saw a commercial on TV with Richard Petty saying gold was going to $5000…well, I thought that was funny.

    Hang in there Dusty, as I have been along with you on this blog for many years.

  2. Tinto says

    I spent about a grand this year but only because I really liked Mark Twain and NPS and the designs (gold) weren’t that bad, the TR puck and I wanted to complete my Prez C&C set. Otherwise I would have just bought the NA $1 C&C set (5 ea) and be done with it. 2017’s gonna be just the NA $1 C&C set unless the Mint comes out with an RP or EU coin/set (aside from the NA $1)

  3. earthling says

    IMHO those that say they are Atheist are just trying to put sticks in everyones eyes. I say , OK, so what else is new wit you? Nothing worth getting upset over.

    When I met Heather, my young Druggie that just went to Jail about 6 weeks ago, she was being kicked out onto the streets. I really felt sorry for her and soon we moved into an Apartment together. At first Heather would tell me she was the Devil or that she was a Devil Worshipper. I thought to myself , alright that’s cool, what else you got? She seemed to just be trying to shock me in some way but I don’t shock easily. Soon enough, she changed her tune and started saying she was God. Yawn. OK cool, I thought, seeing right through her. Anyway, I soon learned that Heather had lived a less than ideal life. But way down inside I knew she was really OK just as most people are. I went through hell with Heather in 6 years. She is finally out of my life but at least she is safe in Jail. The Dealers can’t touch her. The cold Michigan Winter can’t freeze her. But mostly she can no longer destroy my life. I miss her and at the same time I’m overjoyed that finally I’m rid of her.

    So what’s the point of my story. Hmmmmmm….. maybe that we should’t be upset when someone voices their nasty little opinions. Maybe we should allow them to get it out and maybe move on down the road. At some point maybe their beliefs will change to something a little better. We’re all on this big ship together and like it or not we’re all heading in the same general direction.

    Stick around everyone. If nothing else maybe we all learn to allow others to voice an opinion. Maybe at some point we become better for having done that.

    Man I’m really missing Heather right now. She had a bad Drug problem. Hopefully by the time she gets free she will have found the help she needs. And hopefully I can find the help I need to deal with a crazy wacko Brother. One down, one to go.

  4. Just Another Dave In Pa says

    I spent way too much this year on coins. ATB bullion and P pucks, NPS sets and the 100 year tribute coins, mint sets, rolls and flows of angel hair and that’s just US coins.

    I’m not much into numbers as numbers add up to nothin’. My interest in coins is a lot more intangible. Art, beauty, the design and pm content all weigh heavily in my mind on what to buy. These are mostly subjective aspects but I’m pretty sure we all go through these kinds of deliberations. The buy what you like strategy is pretty much the only advice I’ve ever heeded when collecting anything.

    I like almost all the ATB designs and National Parks are awesome so I have quite a collection now including US stamp sets and National Park Passport stamps, the America the Beautiful passes and other memorabilia from National Parks.

    This year is Canada’s 150th anniversary and they’re giving away free National Park passes to commemorate the occasion. I plan on seeing Banff NP this year and others as well. If you don’t have one yet they’re still available here;

    http://www.commandesparcs-parksorders.ca/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?urlRequestType=Base&catalogId=53407&categoryId=216870&productId=524527&errorViewName=ProductDisplayErrorView&urlLangId=-1&langId=-1&top_category=216870&parent_category_rn=216870&storeId=22953

    I’ll only add that I wish our coinage and currency were as secular as that of Canada and most other countries. The Loon, the beaver, the caribou, the maple leaf. These are all beautiful designs for coins. The ATB quarters are a step in the right direction and the Native American designs are usually nice. I’d like to see an inscription on them like the Lenape saying for We Are All Related.

  5. So Krates says

    OT – Not even sworn in yet and Copper Face wants to expand our nuclear capability. Terrestrial annihilation is not sufficient. Perhaps the Irish can lend us more money so we can make the sand glow on the Moon and Mars. Rough seas ahead.

  6. cagcrisp says

    Here are the predictions that I have currently. IF you want to make a prediction, make it easy to discern from other commentary…

    Predictions…
    • cagcrisp says
    December 22, 2016 at 7:57 am
    Here’s some predictions for 2017…
    1. The Mint Raised the price on the 2016 proof ASE. The Mint will not lower the price on the 2017 proof ASE.
    2. The Mint will change the pricing matrix for Gold…Upwards
    3. People will still chase Low Mintage Wonders…in vain
    4. The Mint will continue to lose customers
    5. The Mint will hold another summit to address the loss of customers

    • KCSO says
    December 22, 2016 at 11:42 am
    cagcrisp says
    DECEMBER 22, 2016 AT 7:57 AM – Here’s some predictions for 2017…
    Just can’t pass on an opportunity to throw down on some eduumakatid predictions for 2017 –
    6. SLQ & WLH –
    Will sell out after the New Year as folks go back to pick up additional units for a lack of any other worthwhile gold offerings in the 1st Quater.
    7. AtB ‘P’ Pucks –
    Whereas 2015 ‘P’ saw some mintages in and around 17,500, a couple of the ’17 P’s will end up in the 16,500 to 17,000 range, lowering the average low water mark.
    8. Liberty High Relief –
    Initial opening weekend sales will be respectable and on par with the RP Buff, then peter off severly ending with sales in the 27,000 to 29,000 range for the $1,590+ coin.
    9. Boy Town $5 Proof – mintage 7,500 to 8,500
    10. Boys Town $5 UNC – sales of 1,800 for most of the year with an end-of-year run up to 3,500 to 3,700
    11. Lions Club $1 Proof –
    Surprise of the year, the Reverse will comprise various layers of laser frosting which will make the lion devices pop and lead to strong sales of 75,000+
    12. APE –
    Disappointment of the year, mintage ~7,000
    13. Pallidium Proof –
    We might see one this year 😃

    • Dustyroads says
    December 22, 2016 at 6:42 pm
    My 2017 prediction is that gold will break below $1,000.00 by the end of Q2.

    • Buzz Killington says
    December 22, 2016 at 7:26 pm
    I agree with your pessimism about the price of gold. A year hence, it will be under $1,000/oz.

    • Steve says
    December 22, 2016 at 10:54 pm
    I do disagree that gold will under $1000 in Q2 next year, nor as some think that silver, will be $12

  7. says

    Cag – Oops, you missed one,

    SoKraut just predicted ‘terrestrial annihilation’ – guess that would fall within CY’17(?)

    Here’s a prediction, give a year or two and he’ll be pinning the outcome of that lame duck Iranian Nuclear deal on ole Copperface.

    LMAO, you just can’t make this stuff up.

  8. The Real "Cool" Brad says

    14. Coin production will lower by end of year as metal will be needed for the war effort (China)

  9. says

    According to a CoinWorld article here, the U.S. Mint seems very unexcited about an upcoming Jan 6 Netflix movie titled Coin Heist. A Mint spokesman said:

    1) The Mint did not cooperate with the production of this film.
    2) No Mint production facilities were used.
    3) The Mint provided no footage of coin production.

  10. says

    2016 will go down as a very good year for Mint products for me, let’s see, almost a hundred pucks( full set sp70 Mercanti and full set ms69dmpl Mercanti), full set AGE proofs, APE proof and BU, sealed box of liberty medals, 2 sets centennial gold and a bunch of 2016 ASE (rolls, ms70, pr70, sp70). Product fatigue? Hardly.

    Happy Saturnalia

  11. cagcrisp says

    American Eagle 2016 One-Tenth Ounce Gold Proof Coin

    25 in stock.

    Not a buyer. Just passing on information…

  12. cagcrisp says

    For those looking a $1,000 Gold, it is entirely possible IF Trump gets all portions (proposes) of his corporate tax reform. Currently spot Gold would only have to drop 12% to reach $1,000 and IF he gets his 20% tax on imports, pundits suggest the USD would strengthen by at Least 10%.

    1. I DO think the USD will continue to strengthen. Not to the extent we will get $1,000 Gold
    2. I DON’T think Trump will get his 20% import tax
    3. IF he does, then Yep, we could see $1,000 Gold

  13. So Krates says

    Keep Calm and Squeak On says, “SoKraut just predicted ‘terrestrial annihilation’ – guess that would fall within CY’17(?)

    LMAO, you just can’t make this stuff up”

    What’s so funny? Your own joke? A renewal of an arms race? An agreement instead of an attack? I’m unclear as to why your ass fell off from laughing so hard?

    I was commenting on capacity for destruction. The prediction I made was for rough seas ahead. Anyone with their eyes to the sky can see the storm clouds gathering.

  14. Just Another Dave In Pa says

    I predict that most predictions will fall flat.

    Markets aren’t known for reacting in a way that follows a linear logic and anyone claiming any insight into the future needs a reality check.

    Like most charlatans, the key to deception is to keep it open-ended.

    Time (The Revelator) is a beautiful song by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, just because …. relax and let it unfold.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdYG-Nh_AxU

  15. So Krates says

    @ DR – IMO Your “O” is far from “H”, but I take your point. It’s not the mockery I mind, just couldn’t find much humor there. I often LOL (literally) after reading you ridicule our favorite posters, but unlike this case, that derision is laced with wit. I enjoy reading your comments of all types/topics and am pleased to see you’ve been apparently let out of detention.

  16. Louis Golino, Author says

    I’m not big on predictions, but I do predict the Lions Club coin will be more popular than most recent issues because the reverse is nicely done, and most people like coins with animals on them.

    I also predict opinions on this blog will continue to be sharply divided in 2017 about everything from gold to Trump and that over the course of the year we will be reminded of the folly of chasing low mintage coins by several people and that there will be sharp criticism of the USM here. Can’t go wrong with those!

  17. Just Another Dave In Pa says

    I find it hard to separate the US Mint — a part of the Treasury Dept — from politics. If that isn’t a political institution then what is?

    The US Mint introduces religion by putting In God We Trust on every coin so again I fail to see why that makes it a taboo subject.

    Jefferson included Hindoos and infidels of every denomination in his comments on the protections afforded by the 1rst amendment and it’s pretty clear that our country was meant to be secular in nature despite efforts to portray this as a Christian nation.

    Even Teddy Roosevelt considered the IGWT inscription to be sacrilege. It isn’t just an atheist objection to the phrase.

    IGWT goes against the grain of the Founders intentions and the very religious teachings it allegedly supports.

  18. Ryan says

    By 2020 Gold will be above current all time highs, that’s my prediction. Short term price action is really hard to nail down but if the all in sustaining costs are $800-$1300 depending on the mining company then we’re at the price of production right now. That means there’s no fear premium or safe haven premium being put on gold right now. IMO the ONLY way for not just the United States but the entire world to get out of the massive debt and unfunded liabilities problems they have is to either raise taxes, have massive inflation or a mixture of the two. In either scenario gold should do well and I’m betting that by 2020 or before they will have either run out of creative ways to keep the game of musical chairs going or we will finally see this fake 7+ year bull market end and collapse into a very large recession/depression. I might be crazy but this seems like history repeating with the 1920 recession followed by the 1929 depression and it will be 2008 recession followed by the 2017..2018..2019..2020???? Depression

  19. Ryan says

    I think this will all happen during Trumps first term and it will all be blamed on him and capitalism. We then will slip even further into socialism and the world will be a dark and terrible place for a very long time. Just a little ray of sunshine from me to you for the Christmas break lol!

  20. data dave says

    My Predictions for 2017 –
    1. People will continue with their posts unrelated to coins.
    2. Getting rid of the Presidential dollars and first spouse coins will be good for sales of other coins.
    3. Gold price will depend on US dollar. I think the dollar will gain strength next year so that means gold will drop. I think it will see a new 5 year low and then bounce around that level for a while.
    4. I will continue to broaden my horizons in the search for nice coins.

  21. Ryan says

    Sorry guys, I just put gold/coins/precious metals and investing all together in my mind. In the future I’ll try and separate the coins and precious metals from the investing.

  22. cagcrisp says

    Predictions…
    • cagcrisp says
    December 22, 2016 at 7:57 am
    Here’s some predictions for 2017…
    1. The Mint Raised the price on the 2016 proof ASE. The Mint will not lower the price on the 2017 proof ASE.
    2. The Mint will change the pricing matrix for Gold…Upwards
    3. People will still chase Low Mintage Wonders…in vain
    4. The Mint will continue to lose customers
    5. The Mint will hold another summit to address the loss of customers

    • KCSO says
    December 22, 2016 at 11:42 am
    cagcrisp says
    DECEMBER 22, 2016 AT 7:57 AM – Here’s some predictions for 2017…
    Just can’t pass on an opportunity to throw down on some eduumakatid predictions for 2017 –
    6. SLQ & WLH –
    Will sell out after the New Year as folks go back to pick up additional units for a lack of any other worthwhile gold offerings in the 1st Quater.
    7. AtB ‘P’ Pucks –
    Whereas 2015 ‘P’ saw some mintages in and around 17,500, a couple of the ’17 P’s will end up in the 16,500 to 17,000 range, lowering the average low water mark.
    8. Liberty High Relief –
    Initial opening weekend sales will be respectable and on par with the RP Buff, then peter off severly ending with sales in the 27,000 to 29,000 range for the $1,590+ coin.
    9. Boy Town $5 Proof – mintage 7,500 to 8,500
    10. Boys Town $5 UNC – sales of 1,800 for most of the year with an end-of-year run up to 3,500 to 3,700
    11. Lions Club $1 Proof –
    Surprise of the year, the Reverse will comprise various layers of laser frosting which will make the lion devices pop and lead to strong sales of 75,000+
    12. APE –
    Disappointment of the year, mintage ~7,000
    13. Pallidium Proof –
    We might see one this year 😃

    • Dustyroads says
    December 22, 2016 at 6:42 pm
    My 2017 prediction is that gold will break below $1,000.00 by the end of Q2.

    • Buzz Killington says
    December 22, 2016 at 7:26 pm
    I agree with your pessimism about the price of gold. A year hence, it will be under $1,000/oz.

    • Steve says
    December 22, 2016 at 10:54 pm
    I do disagree that gold will under $1000 in Q2 next year, nor as some think that silver, will be $12

    • The Real “Cool” Brad says
    December 23, 2016 at 9:40 am
    14. Coin production will lower by end of year as metal will be needed for the war effort (China)

    • cagcrisp says
    December 23, 2016 at 12:13 pm
    For those looking a $1,000 Gold, it is entirely possible IF Trump gets all portions (proposes) of his corporate tax reform. Currently spot Gold would only have to drop 12% to reach $1,000 and IF he gets his 20% tax on imports, pundits suggest the USD would strengthen by at Least 10%.
    1. I DO think the USD will continue to strengthen. Not to the extent we will get $1,000 Gold
    2. I DON’T think Trump will get his 20% import tax
    3. IF he does, then Yep, we could see $1,000 Gold

    • Louis Golino, Author says
    December 23, 2016 at 1:46 pm
    I’m not big on predictions, but I do predict the Lions Club coin will be more popular than most recent issues because the reverse is nicely done, and most people like coins with animals on them.
    I also predict opinions on this blog will continue to be sharply divided in 2017 about everything from gold to Trump and that over the course of the year we will be reminded of the folly of chasing low mintage coins by several people and that there will be sharp criticism of the USM here. Can’t go wrong with those!

    • data dave says
    December 23, 2016 at 2:46 pm
    My Predictions for 2017 –
    1. People will continue with their posts unrelated to coins.
    2. Getting rid of the Presidential dollars and first spouse coins will be good for sales of other coins.
    3. Gold price will depend on US dollar. I think the dollar will gain strength next year so that means gold will drop. I think it will see a new 5 year low and then bounce around that level for a while.
    4. I will continue to broaden my horizons in the search for nice coins.

  23. Dustyroads says

    earthling, You haven’t kept us up on the missing AGE lately. Could it have been possible for the OD specialist who was in your care at the time to slip one of the coins out of the box before you could send them back to the Mint? By the way you describe this woman, she sounds completely capable of theft.

  24. Dustyroads says

    I should also predict that DJ Trump will say mystifying things which will make the Chinese furious, and the first half of 2017 will be vastly different from the second.

  25. says

    I expect in 2025 (sounds like a Zager & Evans 60s song title) that there will be coins minted for circulation, from $1 up to $20. However, paper Federal Reserve notes will no longer be created by then, in order to “persuade” most people to have bank accounts which can be monitored.

  26. Louis Golino, Author says

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with discussing the use of the motto, IGWT, on our coins here, and it has been a topic in coin magazines, etc. going back 150 years. But when the discussion veers more specifically into religion and politics with no direct connection to coins, as sometimes happens, I don’t see the point of covering it here. And I think it alienates people.
    But keep in mind IGWT was not added because the Mint wanted it. It was done because the politicians wanted it, and because many people asked for it during the Civil War and wrote to the Treasury Sec asking him to put it on our coins. It would be interesting to know what % of people think it should still be there today.

  27. So Krates says

    “…will slip even further into socialism and the world will be a dark and terrible place…”

    Spoken like someone who hasn’t traveled much. Ever been to Japan? Sweden or Denmark? Not always all doom and gloom, they rank higher on many important measurements and are by all accounts good places to live.

  28. So Krates says

    Louis, I agree. An informal poll here on IGWT would be more informative than a compilation of predictions.

  29. gary says

    “In God WeTrust”, “E Pluribus Unum” and “Liberty” are important mottoes and cherished by many Americans. Instead of a reeded edge, I would like to see them all on the coin edge. This would make for new circulating coin designs ($1, $2, $5, $10 & $20) that could have only “United States of America” and the date on the face of the coins and allow artists’ greater creative freedom to develop highly distinguished & artistic designs.

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to ALL! 🙂

  30. says

    Louis Golino, Author said on
    DECEMBER 23, 2016 AT 3:58 PM
    … But keep in mind IGWT was not added because the Mint wanted it. It was done because the politicians wanted it, …

    The list of powers reserved to Congress, as enumerated by the U.S. Constitution, is remarkably short but one of them, according to Section 8, is the power “To coin Money.” Therefore, I believe the Founders intended for Congress (and not the States, People, Courts, President) to possess the power and the right to decide upon the insignia and mottoes which ought to appear on coins.

  31. Just Another Dave In Pa says

    I say just say NO to IGWT.

    It’s ironic that ike (above) says no to IGWT when it was Eisenhower that enshrined IGWT as the National Motto.

    I also wonder if the name D Rittenhouse is an intentional reference to David Rittenhouse, the first director of the US Mint in Philly. He’s probably not well known outside of Philly but he’s an important figure in the city’s history. Rittenhouse Square is a popular neighborhood/park.

  32. cagcrisp says

    American Eagle 2016 One-Tenth Ounce Gold Proof Coin

    13 in stock.

    These Might not make it through the Night…

  33. gary says

    “In God We Trust” fits better on a coin rather than, say, “In Some Omnipotent, Celestial, Spiritual, Higher Power We Trust”.
    Get over it, it does not speak to any one religion or “religion” for that matter.
    For me, the motto is inspirational.
    We as a society need inspiration and it is needed more than ever RIGHT NOW!

    Again, a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and a healthy Happy New Year to all!

  34. DaveB says

    I have found that a large percentage of those that want IGWT on money, tend to treat money as their god. Happy Holidays to all!

  35. earthling says

    “it have been possible for the OD specialist who was in your care at the time to slip one of the coins out of the box before you could send them back to the Mint?”

    @Dusty

    No it couldn’t have been Heather, my personal little “Red Demon in residence”. I actually packed up my 3 Coins I returned that Day, at the local Library. Heather wasn’t there at the time. It could have been someone in the US Postal System. The thing that gets me is that everyone at the Mint Returns place were tag teaming me and giving me illogical BS instead of actually doing anything to help me. It’s like they knew I could do nothing if they didn’t do anything but spin me around in circles. If they had flat out stated” there were only 2 Coins in the box” I could have filed an Insurance Claim. Instead they acted like dumb ghetto thieves and just talked like stupid ghetto thieves. After having this go on for a month I finally was at wits end and just gave up in extreme frustration.

    The thing I’ve come to realize is that everyone in this country is looking to beat you at every turn. In that case I got beat out of around $1,500 for a 1 oz BU AGE. The IRS has failed to get me my recent $2500 Tax Return. The Car Dealer overcharged me for a $600 Extended Warranty they were supposed to have removed from the contract.

    I like the words of President Bush in reference to the Soviets, “Trust but Verify”. Everyone is a potential crook these days. You need to watch everyone and everything. OMG, a guy just got in the White House by promising to ” make America great again”. Clearly a lot of Americans want things to return to the way it used to be. It used to be that everyone wasn’t looking to beat you at every turn. It would be great if those days could return.

  36. DaveB says

    Earthling, the biggest problem with your logic is that the guy who wants to make America great again is the same guy who is “looking to beat you at every turn”. The fox is now in charge of the hen house. I hope he changes his ways, bu I’m not holding my breath.

    It still sucks that you lost the coin. Hope you get a break and it miraculously turns up.

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