Young Americans Blog

Exploring Our Monetary System

By: Ellie Wroble Published: April 25th, 2013
Members of the Youth Advisory Board pose with $30 million at the Federal Reserve.

Members of the Youth Advisory Board pose with $30 million at the Federal Reserve.

On Monday, members of the Youth Advisory Board took a trip to the Federal Reserve and the Denver Mint.  This trip is a yearly tradition with the Youth Board, and an exciting one for all who attend.

The Fed

The morning started off with the group carpooling to the Federal Reserve.  After watching a short video on the Federal Reserve and its role in our financial system, we toured the “Money Museum”.  The board members heard about the creation of the Federal Reserve system and the 13 different districts.  They learned about the infamous robbery of the vault in and 1916.  And the group got to pose in front of $30,000,000!

After the Money Museum, we went into the basement to watch millions and millions of dollars in cash being counted, shredded and sorted.  Too bad we couldn’t take pictures, but I promise we saw one crate with $6 million — just sitting there in front of us!  We learned that the bills that have marks or tears in them get shredded and then composted.  The board members also heard about how dirty money is.  #1 lesson of the day?  Never put money in your mouth!

The Mint

After a very chilly walk down 16th Street, we started our tour at the Denver Mint.  We had to go through really intense security to make sure we weren’t bringing any coins into the building — they sure don’t want people walking out with extra coins!

The group watched the huge rolls of nickel being punched with blank circles.  We saw examples of “waffles”, which are mistakes.  We heard about a Mint employee who walked out with millions of dollars in gold bars back in the 1920′s.  And we got to see the new National Park quarters being minted.  We also discussed the value of the penny and talked about the repercussions of getting rid of the penny, like Canada did.

Overall, the trip was fascinating.  This was my second time on the trip and I was once again amazed at our financial system.  We’re headed to the State Treasurer’s office in a few weeks and I can’t wait to see that side of money.  Stay tuned for a recap of that trip!

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