National Geographic : 1969 Aug
Charlie Miller. "That's all we're making now -18 million pennies a day." The nationwide penny shortage, I gathered over the din, was a mystery. "We don't know where they're all going," Charlie shouted. "Some think it's piggy banks, or vending machines. Maybe just collectors." "Love to hear those presses pound!" Mrs. Rossmiller shouted happily as we moved on to a frenzy of other machines that, in turn, an nealed, cleaned, and stamped heads and tails on the coins with 120 tons of pressure. An other device sorted out mis-struck pennies. Charlie picked one of these from a bin and handed it to me. Abraham Lincoln's profile had been stamped off-center, neatly ampu tating his nose. "I wonder what a collector would give for this," I mused, returning it to him. "Plenty," he said, and dropped the coin back into the bin with elaborate care. Mrs. Rossmiller reminded me that I had asked to see some gold-lots of it. "Will a million dollars do?" she asked. There it was, in an alcove behind plate glass-several dozen yellow bars the size of building bricks, gleaming softly in subdued lighting. A million dollars, I decided, looks absolutely beautiful. "We keep it on display for visitors," Mrs. Rossmiller said. "The mint gets nearly 200,000 sightseers a year-more than any other at traction in Denver." Denver, in turn, is one of Colorado's major In mile-high Denver, "Queen City of the Plains," the sun shines an average 300 days a year, and winters prove surprisingly mild for the altitude. Lured by climate and scenic beauty, 164 newcomers since 1960 have swelled the population at more than twice the U. S . growth rate.