This weekend marks the 75th anniversary of the destruction of the United States Manila Mint during the largest and most destructive urban battle fought by U.S. troops during the Second World War.
In recognition of the important role the Manila Mint played in our nation's numismatic heritage I am posting a series of four journal articles on this often forgotten mint. Yesterdays Journal article http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=16394 covered the establishment of the Mint and the Mint's historical context. Today's Journal article will cover the coins and medals of the Manila Mint. The final two Journals in this series (2/22/2015 and 2/23/2015) will cover the battle of Manila and the destruction of the Mint during the fierce fighting that took place in and around the Mint on 2/22/1945 and 2/23/1945.
The mint was formally opened on Thursday morning, July 15, 1920. One of the first items struck at the newly opened Manila Mint was a special medal to commemorate the opening of the Mint. The medal struck in Bronze (2,200), Silver (3,700), and Gold (estimate mintage of 5 to 10) is commonly referred to as the So-Called Wilson Dollar. The obverse presents a well executed portrait of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. The reverse shows a representation of "Juno Moneta" (the goddess of money and minting) kneeling and watching over a nude youth who is pouring planchets (coin blanks) into a coining press. The design used is a modification of a much earlier Morgan design that was used on several of the U.S. Assay Commissions Annual Medals in the 1880s and 1890s.
With the exception of the 1920 San Francisco One Centavo, which was produced prior to the opening of the Manila Mint, all U.S. coinage for the Philippines from 1920 through 1941 were produced at the Manila Mint. The mint had a daily output of 85,000 pieces and an annual capacity of 25,000,000 coins. Between July 1920 and December 1941 the Manila Mint produced 205.83 million regular issue U.S. Philippine business strikes.
Not every denomination was produced every year. In fact, regular issue business strikes of two denominations, the Half Centavo (which had been withdrawn from circulation in 1906) and the silver One Peso were never produced at the Manila Mint.
Like its contemporary, the U.S. Morgan Silver Dollar, the Silver Philippine Peso saw very limited circulation as merchants and the general public preferred the convenience of paper money to carrying pockets full of large heavy coins. Almost all One Peso coins were held in reserve in the Philippine Treasury as backing for the paper money issued by the Territory of the Philippines, and, after November 15, 1935, The Commonwealth of the Philippines. Since an adequate supply of Silver Pesos had been struck for this purpose at the San Francisco Mint between 1907 and 1912 there was no need for the Manila Mint to produce additional regular issue One Peso coins. The only One Peso coins struck at the Manila Mint were the two 1936 Commemorative Pesos, and special One Peso Leper coins produced for the Philippine Health Service.
The regular issue denominations produced at the Manila Mint were the One Centavo, Five Centavos, Ten Centavos, Twenty Centavos, and Fifty Centavos.
By far, the most numerous coin produced by the Manila Mint was the One Centavo. Between July 1920 and December 1941 the Manila Mint produced 142,317,095 regular issue One Centavo coins. More One Centavo coins were produced than all the other denominations combined. This work horse of the Philippine economy accounted for 69.14% of the regular issue coins produced by the Manila Mint.
Mintages for the other four denominations of regular issue coins struck at the Manila Mint and their percentages of the Manila Mints 1920 -- 1941 production are as follows:
Five Centavos: 32,242,041 coins (15.66%)
Ten Centavos: 16,413,038 coins (7.98%)
Twenty Centavos: 12,123,046 coins (5.89%)
Fifty Centavos: 2,736,763 coins (1.33%)
"The Manila mint did not use a mint-mark on its coinage of 1920, 1921, and 1922. No Philippine coins were struck anywhere during 1923 or 1924. The Manila mint re-opened in 1925; from then through 1941, all U.S.- Philippine regular and commemorative issue were struck there and all bore the mint-mark M." (Shafer, 1961, p. 17)
By 1935 "Nation Building" had progressed to the point where the Philippines were ready to make the important transition from a U.S. Territory to a self-governing Commonwealth. A Constitution for the Philippines was approved, and on November 15, 1935, the Philippines were granted Commonwealth status, with a promise of full independence by 1946. To commemorate this important event a three coin commemorative set was struck by the Manila mint in 1936. The set consisted of a Fifty Centavos, and two One Peso Coins. The coins were designed by Ambrosio Morales, a Professor of Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines. The two commemorative Pesos were struck in .800 fineness silver. The Fifty Centavos was struck in .750 fineness silver.
The obverse of one of the Pesos features the portraits of the first President of the Philippines, Manual L. Quezon, and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The obverse of the other commemorative Peso and the commemorative Fifty Centavos features portraits of President Quezon and Frank Murphy, the last U.S. Governor General of the Philippines, and first U.S. High Commissioner for the Commonwealth of the Philippines.
The common reverse for the 1936 commemoratives depicts the seal of the Commonwealth of the Philippines with United States of America placed above and the date centered below. The Mint Mark appears to the left of the date. This Commonwealth Reverse was used on all USA/Philippine business strikes from 1937 through 1945.
In addition to providing all of the regular issue and commemorative coinage for the Philippines from 1920 - 1941 the Manila Mint was also responsible for providing Leper Colony coinage for the Philippine Health Service. Between 1920 and 1930 five issues of Leper Colony coins were struck at the Manila Mint. The 1920 issue (10 Centavos, 20 Centavos and 1 Peso) have no mint mark. The 1922 issue (20 Centavos and 1 Peso) were stamped with the encircled initials "PM" (for Philippine Mint). The 1925 (1 Peso) and 1927 (One Centavo and Five Centavos) issues have the Mint Marks "P" and "M" on the reverse to the right and left of the value. The 1930 issue (One Centavo and 10 Centavos) have no mint marks.
Production at the Manila mint was discontinued during World War ll. 1944 and 1945 dated U.S./Philippine coins were produced at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints.
To learn more about the U.S. Manila Mint please visit my Custom Registry Set, The United States Manila Mint, Complete at:
I was honored that NGC selected this set as the 2014 Most Creative Custom Registry Set. The set presents a complete fully illustrated and annotated set of the coins and medals of the United States Manila Mint as
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