The San Francisco Mint was born out of the need for a Western Frontier Mint when in January of 1848, gold flakes were discovered at Sutter's Mill triggering one of the most important chapters in U.S. History the California Gold Rush!
Within a few years, the gold mines out West produced an abundance of gold bullion, gold nuggets, and gold dust. Yet, there was an acute shortage of circulating legal tender gold coins in the Wild West Frontier. To relieve the problem, Congress authorized the establishment of the San Francisco Mint, a branch US Mint in the California Territory, to strike the much needed gold coins and silver dollars.
The San Francisco Mint Opens in 1854.
San Francisco was chosen as the site of the new branch of the U.S. Mint. Due to its proximity to the Gold Rush district, it was easy to move gold and silver to the mint. The San Francisco Mint began operation in 1854.
San Francisco Mint Survives 1906 Earthquake.
The San Francisco Mint production was halted temporarily during the devastating San Francisco earthquake of 1906. The solid construction withheld the earthquake and firestorm that followed. It was the only financial institution that was able to operate immediately after the earthquake and became the treasury for the disaster relief funds. Banking services were also conducted there during this time. The San Francisco Mint continued coining until 1937 when it outgrew its original facility and moved to a new, more modern one in San Francisco.
The San Francisco Mint produced silver coins for Australia from 1942 until 1944 as the Melbourne Mint could not meet the unprecedented demand brought about by World War II including the presence of US troops in Australia and New Guinea.