MINT (AS. niync•t, mynit, mynyt, from Let. moncta, mint, epithet of Juno. whose temple at Home was the mint. from moncee, to warn). An establishment for making coins or metallic money. fee :NIONEY.
The earliest regulations regarding the English mint Ix•long to Anglo-Saxon times. An officer called a reeve is referred to in the laws of Canute as having some jurisdiction over it, and certain names which. in addition to that of the sovereign, appear on the Anglo-Saxon coins, seem to have been those of the moneyers, or principal officers of the mint. Besides the sovereign, barons,' bishops. and the greater monasteries had their respective mints, where they exercised the right of coinage. a privilege enjoyed by the archbishops of Canterbury as late as the reign of Henry VIII., and by Wolsey as Bishop of Durham and Arch bishop of York.
After the Norman Conquest the officers of the royal mint became to a certain extent subject to the authority of the exchequer. Both in Saxon and Norman times there existed. under control of the principal mint in London, a num ber of provincial mints in different towns of England: there were no fewer than thirty-eight in the time of Ethelred, and the last of them were only done away with in the reign of Wil liam III. The officers of the mint were formed into a corporation by a charter of Edward IL; they consisted of the warden. master, comptroller, assay-master, workers. miners. and subordinates.
The seigniorage for coining at one time formed no inconsiderable• item in the revenues of the Crown. It was a deduction iiiade from the bullion coined. and comprehended both a eharge. for defraying the expense of coinage and the sovereign's profit in virtue of his prerogative. In the reign of Henry VI. the seigniorage amounted to fid. in the pound: in the reign of Edward I.. Is. The seigniorage on gold was abolished during the reign of Charles II. and has never since been exacted. The shere, or remedy, as it is now called, was an allowance for the unavoidable imperfection of the coin.
A new mint was erected on Tower Hill in 1810. In 1815 some alterations were made in the eonstitution of the mint, and in 1851 a complete change was introduced in the whole system of administration. The control of the mint was vested in a master and a deputy master, and comptroller. The mastership, which had in the early part of the last century become a political appointment held by an adherent of the Covent molt. was restored to the position of a perma
nent offiee, the master being the ostensible execu tive head of the estaldishment. Further changes were made in the administration of the mint in 1569. The mastership was added to the duties of the Chattedlor of the Exchequer, without any addition of salary. and the offices of deputy mas ter and comptroller were amalgamated.
A mint was established at Sydney in 1S53 and at Melbourne in 1869 to coin the gold so largely found in Australia.
The first mint in the United States was estab lisbed at Philadelphia by the coinage net of .\)n•il 2, 1702; the first production of the new mint was the copper cent of 1793. Silver dollars were first mined in 1794, and gold eagles in 1795. At the close of the nineteenth century there were four mints, located at Philadelphia, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Carson City, respectively. Assay offices are located at New York, Denver, Helena, lloist% Charlotte, Saint Louis, De:tdaood, and Selittle. The act of April I, 1873, put all the Joints and assay offices on the saint. footing as a bureau of the Treasury 1k-partment, unsle•r the superintendence of the Director of the Mind. who is appointed by the President for• a term of live years and is subordinate to the Secretary of the Treasury. The Philadelphia mint has an engraver who supervises the manufnettare of the dies used in all the United States mints.
Picocussus ot• COINING. Down to the middle of the sixteenth century- little or no improvement seems to have been made in the art of mining from the time of its invention. The metal was simply hammered into slips, which were after wards cut up into squares of one size and then forged round. The required impression was given to these by placing them in turn between two dies and striking them with it hammer. As it. was not easy by this method to place the dies exactly above each other, or to apply proper force, coins so made were always faulty and had the edges unfinished. which rendered them liable to be clipped. The first great step was the application of the screw•. invented in 1553 by a French engraver of the name of Brucher. The plan was found expensive at first, and it was not till 1662 that it altogether superseded the ham mer in the English mint. In 1882 the lever press was introduced.