Sunday, August 25, 2013

The San Francisco Mint

Regular blog readers and those who know me know all about my interest in San Francisco Mint 5 oz class ingots. Julie and I were planning a trip this summer to San Francisco for her family reunion and I could hardly wait to visit the historical site of Old United States Mint. The facility opened in 1874 as the second location of the San Francisco Mint.

One of the few buildings surviving the 1906 earthquake, it served  until 1937. I always pictured this facility as the birthplace of many of the ingots in my collection.

Before we left for San Francisco I joined the San Francisco Mint Museum and Historical Society and read all about the complete restoration of the Granite Lady as the building is known to locals. Pictures in the Society's publications were amazing and I could hardly wait to experience the grandeur and relive the history.

The  Mint was within walking distance of our hotel so off we went for the experience of a lifetime. I could not believe that I would be visiting the place of origin of the most prized examples in my silver ingot collection. A few blocks later, there was the sign up ahead, we must be close.
And look, there was a familiar picture, exactly what I was looking for. But where was it?
Right in front of us, but a far cry from any of the pictures. Julie had to wait for a few guys that were just waking up to move off of the steps before taking the picture. What a surprise; windows and doors boarded up, what appeared to be numerous people living on and around it, and not one bit of the grandeur I had anxiously anticipated.
We braved it and walked around the building, me still convinced that at least my Museum Society membership would gain us access. Another familiar picture in the window, but nothing anywhere else that came close to that look or the picture in my mind.
Clearly, there is a plan for restoration but at least from the outside, not much has yet occurred. From what we could see looking into doors and windows, there was nothing inside that came close to the interior pictures I had seen either. A massive structure, taking up most of a city block, I cannot even imagine the restoration undertaking given the obvious deterioration but hopefully someday it will be restored to its original grandeur and we will return.
Disappointed with that adventure for sure but in San Francisco it is easy to find something else to do. Julie on the famous cable cars below.

Silver Ingots


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  2. My book club is reading ""recollections of a Mint Director" by Q David Bowers so I'm looking at his recollections.