Mint of the United States,
Philadelphia, November 5, 1860.
Sir: I have the honor to present the following report of the operations of the Mint of the United States, and its branches, for the year ending June 30, 1860.
The amount of gold and silver received during the year, that is to say, from the 1st of July, 1859, to the 30th of June, 1860, inclusive, was as follows: Gold deposits, $22,673,192.21; silver deposits and purchases, $3,152,437.15; total gold and silver bullion received, $25,825,629.36. The coinage operations during the same period were as follows: Gold coins issued, $16,445,476.00; fine gold bars, $7,001,807.35; silver coins, $2,769,920.00; silver issued in bars, $480,716.26; cent coins, $342,000; total coinage operations, $27,039,919.61; comprised in 43,885,721 pieces of all denominations of coins.
The operations during the year were distributed as follows: At the Mint in Philadelphia, the deposits of gold amounted to $4,266,618.93; the gold coinage, including $170,275.34 of fine bars, was $4,354,576.84; silver bullion received, $756,505.41; silver coins struck, $835,420.00; silver bars made and issued, $21,656.30; cents coined, $342,000. Total deposits of gold and silver, $5,022,524.34; total coinage, $5,553,653.14; comprised in 38,091,348 separate pieces of all denominations of coins.
At the Branch Mint at New Orleans the amount of deposits of gold, was $153,731.71; and of silver, $1,381,113.40. The coinage amounted to $169,000 in gold, and $1,598,422.33 in silver coins, including $25,422.33 in bars. Total deposits of gold and silver, $1,534,845.11; total coinage, $1,767,422.33; comprised in 4,322,550 pieces.
The Branch Mint at San Francisco received during the year gold deposits to the value of $11,319,913.83; and deposits of silver of the value of $480,139.75. The coinage amounted to $11,889,000 in gold, and $572,911.52 in silver, including $211,411.52 in bars. Total deposits at this branch of the Mint of gold and silver, $11,800,053.58; and total coinage, $12,461,911.52; composed of 1,417,475 separate pieces of all denominations of coins.
At the Branch Mint at Dahlonega, the sum of $67,085.21, in gold, was deposited for coinage; the amount of coinage was $69,477.00; comprised in 15,874 pieces.
The deposits and coinage at the Branch Mint at Charlotte were as follows: Gold deposits, $133,491.17; gold coinage, $133,697.50; combined in 30,474 pieces.
The Assay Office at New York received during the year, gold deposits to the amount of $6,731,951.36; and silver bullion to the value of $534,678.59. The same establishment melted and refined, and made into fine bars, gold bullion of the value of $6,831,532.01; and silver bars of the value of $222,226.11. Total deposits of gold and silver, $7,266,629.95; total amount of fine bars of gold and silver made during the year, $7,053,758.12.
The amount of gold, produced from the mines in the United States, deposited during the year was $18,971,041.75, and of silver the sum of $293,797.05. The sources from whence these supplies of the precious metals have been obtained for the last year, as well as for previous years, are stated in the statistical tables attached to this report.
Within the last year some new mines of silver have been brought to our notice, the most important of which are those situated in the Washoe region, in the territory of Utah, about three hundred and thirty miles northeast from San Francisco. At the Branch Mint in that city upwards of $80,000 were received from these mines during the last fiscal year, and they promise a considerable and increasing supply of silver for that institution and the other mints. It has, however, given some trouble when used as an agent, or assistant, for parting silver from native gold, on account of the presence of antimony, a very small portion of which induces brittleness in the gold. A similar annoyance has, we are informed, occurred in the British Mint, in its operations upon Australian gold.
The gold mines in Kansas have produced during the year the sum of $622,000, and there are indications that the supply of gold bullion from thence will hereafter be increased. This enlargement in the production of gold from Kansas is interesting from the fact that the supply from the mines of California to the mints has been, for years past, declining. In 1858, the mints received from California gold deposits to the value of nearly fifty-six millions of dollars; during the last year the amount was somewhat above twenty millions. In the gold producing region of Kansas, namely, at Denver City, a private minting establishment has been set in operation by Messrs. Clark, Gruber & Co., from which pieces of ten and five dollars are issued. They are of various grades of fineness; our assays show them to be from 815 to 838 thousandths, and the pieces are evidently made direct from native gold with its silver alloy, without any attempt to fix or maintain any exact standard. The weight is greater than in corresponding pieces of the national coinage in order to make up for the deficiency of fineness; the ten dollar pieces vary from 273 to 283½ grains. On the average, and adding the value of the silver alloy, and deducting the mint charges, the pieces are found to be of professed value, or slightly over. The devices on the ten dollar piece are appropriate and distinctive; but on the five dollar piece they are made in close imitation of the legal coin, a reprehensible and illegal practice, countenanced by previous similar emissions in California.
Within the last year fraudulent practices upon our gold coins have greatly increased. The Mint is giving the most earnest attention to devising the best remedies against these practices; and the same subject is undergoing a careful investigation by scientific men not connected with the Mint, under an appropriation made by Congress.
The new cents have heretofore been issued in exchange for the fractions of the Spanish and Mexican dollar, and for the old copper cents. As the Spanish and Mexican pieces were received at their nominal value, large amounts of these coins have been brought to the melting-pot, and thus the community has been relieved from an irregular and depreciated currency. But it has required the issue of a large amount of cents, and induced a temporary redundancy of that coin in some of the Eastern cities. They are gradually, however, being distributed to all parts of our country, including a portion of the Southern States, where the copper cent was scarcely known as a circulating medium. Since the passage of the act of 25th June, 1860, the issues have been limited to exchanges for the copper cents, except the supplying of the government offices with the new issue, and distant parts of the country in limited amounts. In order to accelerate the process of relieving the community from the cumbrous and inconvenient copper cents, the Mint now pays the expenses of transportation on them, and will make returns in the new issues. This arrangement will tend to relieve the country from a burdensome currency, without increasing the amount of circulation of that denomination of coins.
The third section of the act of Congress approved February 21, 1857, makes it “the duty of the Director of the Mint to cause assays to be made from time to time of such foreign coins as may be known to our commerce, to determine their average weight, fineness, and value, and to embrace in his annual report a statement of the results thereof.” In previous reports I have presented the results of the assays which have been made of such foreign gold and silver coins as came within our notice, or could be procured for examination and assay. Since the last annual report several varieties of coins not heretofore noticed have been assayed. The result of these assays, together with those previously made, will be found in the tabular statements of the weight, fineness, and value of foreign gold and silver coins which are attached to this report. Some remarks in reference to the coins not heretofore reported upon may, however, be properly presented.
The coinage of Tunis has recently emerged from barbarism and assumed a civilized aspect. As late as 1839 there were no gold coins issued by that government, and the professedly silver coins were nearly three-fourths copper. The new gold piece of twenty-five piastres, dated A. H. 1276 (corresponding to A.D. 1859) weighs .161 oz. or 77.3 grains, is 900 thousandths fine, and consequently very nearly of the value of three dollars; after deducting mint charges for recoinage, $2.98.5. The silver coin of five piastres, A. H. 1268 (1851), weighs .511 oz. or 245.3 grains, is 898½ thousandths fine (intended for 900), and therefore worth 61.8 cents. These results make the gold piastre twelve cents, and the silver piastre nearly twelve cents and four-tenths of a cent, for exchange calculations.
The eighty-real gold piece of Spain, 1845, not received here until recently, will be found in the tabular statements above referred to. It has been superseded by the new series of Spanish coinage, but it is still current.
The half and quarter of the silver 2000 reis piece of Brazil have not hitherto been assayed at this mint. They prove to be of the same standards as the principal piece, and are proportional in value.
A new silver dollar has been issued in Bolivia, greatly reduced in weight and value as compared with the former issues. A number of the pieces of the date 1859 average .648 oz. or 311 grains; and, being 902 thousandths fine, are worth 78.6 cents. They are closely adjusted to the depreciation of the half dollar which has been issued by that government for a number of years past.
The Envoys from the Empire of Japan, who were accredited to the government of the United States, visited the Mint on the 13th and 14th of June last. In compliance with their wishes and the instructions of the Department, I caused several assays to be made in their presence of the coins of Japan and of our own issues; conforming to their request to have an entire cobang assayed, instead of a small piece, as is our usual method. The annexed tables will show the results of these assays. The valuation there given of the cobang includes the silver contained as alloy. Although the new cobang does not quite come up to $3.60, it was conceded to the Embassy to make that valuation the basis of commercial rates. This makes the itzebu (the unit of Japan) 90 cents, which is a convenient figure and sufficiently exact. In order to present this subject more fully, I have deemed it proper to annex to this report a copy of the certified statement which was furnished to the Envoys of the result of the assays made in their presence; and also a copy of my communication to them, through the Department, under date of the 20th of June last.
Subsequently to these transactions, we obtained, and placed in the cabinet of the Mint, a Japanese oban; it weighs 5.30 oz., is 667 thousandths fine, and of the value of $75.24, including the silver alloy. This piece does not appear to have any definite relation to the cobang or to the itzebu. It is probably used as a commercial bar. If it is to be ranked among the coins, it is certainly the largest one which has come under our notice. It is of an oval shape, the larger diameter being six inches and one-eighth of an inch, the smaller three inches and three-fourths of an inch.
Since the close of the fiscal year there has been a recoinage, by the order of the Department, of a portion of the thick gold dollars which had accumulated in the Treasury of the United States. As there is some misapprehension on this subject in the public mind, a few remarks respecting it may not be inappropriate at this time. The first issues of the gold dollar, the coinage of which was commenced in 1849, were less in diameter than those issued since 1853, the latter being larger than the former to the extent of the one-tenth of an inch. This enlargement of the coin is a decided improvement, especially as it is more conveniently handled. But there is certainly an inconvenience in having two pieces in circulation of the same value but of different sizes and devices. In view of this inconvenience, and of the fact that a large amount of these gold dollars had accumulated at the U.S. Treasury in New York, and could not be used, the Department directed the recoinage referred to. There are yet in circulation upwards of fifteen millions of gold dollars; of which $9,590,000 are of the thick or first issue, and $5,440,000 are of the enlarged diameter.
It is to be regretted that the system of banking adopted in most of the States tends to exclude small gold coins from circulation. It is certainly the true policy of the country to extend the uses of gold, and drive out of existence that which circulates in the place of it. On this subject I beg to renew some suggestions which I presented in the Mint report for the year 1855. “There is one point connected with this subject, and with the general management of the national coinage, which, although left by law to the discretion of the Director of the Mint, in subordination to the Secretary of the Treasury, and cannot be made the subject of particular legislation, yet is of so much importance to the community generally that this occasion seems appropriate to give it a fair and general understanding. The thirtieth section of the general mint law (act of January 18, 1837) provides that ‘in the denominations of coins delivered the Treasurer shall comply with the wishes of the depositor, unless when impracticable or inconvenient to do so; in which case the denomination of coins shall be designated by the Director.’ In view of the fact that depositors are always paid before their bullion is operated upon, out of a stock of coin previously made ready, it is evident that in the preparation of such a supply of coin the Director is to use his discretion in regard to the denomination before conferring with depositors; and they may or may not be exactly suited in the payment. Undoubtedly, in the issue of coins, every proper attention should be given to the probable demand, and especially in the silver coinage, which, it is to be presumed, is wanted for immediate use, and not for storage in vaults. Heretofore the general practice has been to pay depositors in the coin they have desired, and it is not intended by these observations to give notice that this usage will be entirely abandoned. But the chief design of a national mint is to subserve the interests of the people at large preferably to a few large owners of bullion or coin. The interests of the public and of depositors are not always concurrent in the matter under discussion. Depositors of large amounts call for coin in a form which gives the least trouble to count; and banking institutions, in addition to that, may prefer it in a form not likely to be drawn out. Many who present their checks at these institutions would doubtless ask for specie, but are deterred from doing so by the expectation of receiving double eagles instead of half or quarter eagles. In a word, the plain effect of issuing gold coin of a large size is to keep down the circulation of specie and increase the use of paper money. This remark, of course, does not apply to such localities where paper money is prohibited – as, for example, in the State of California – because in such cases the different currencies cannot come in conflict. Before the act of Congress authorizing the issuing of gold in stamped bars, there was, it is true, a necessity for the issue of large coins, as well to meet the demands for shipment to Europe, as, in some measure, to relieve the pressure upon the Mint. There was no kind of propriety in going through the manipulations and bearing the expense of making small gold coins to be directly melted down in foreign mints or refineries. But since the important change in our mint laws, before referred to, a distinction has been made to meet the demands of trade, by which gold intended for exportation is cast into fine bars, whilst that which is needed for home currency is converted into coin. If we look to the example of the wealthiest and most civilized nations of the globe, we shall find that their largest gold coin, to speak in a general way, does not exceed our half eagle in value. Such is the case in Great Britain, France, Russia, the Netherlands, and other countries. There are pieces of ten thalers (about eight dollars of our money) coined in Germany, but apparently for international use. The same may be said of the North and South American doubloon, of which the amount coined is small. It would no longer be an embarrassment to the principal mint, nor to the branches, except perhaps the branch at San Francisco (and to that institution these views are not intended particularly to apply), to coin all the gold that is likely to be offered in pieces of five dollars and less. It is true that nearly as much labor is expended in the manufacture of a gold dollar or a quarter eagle as of an eagle or double eagle, and in thus offering to make the smaller denominations a large increase of work is assumed; but this consideration is met by another – that the division of labor, and the present efficiency of the mint establishments will enable us to meet such increase without additional expenditures. The manufacture of fine bars at the Assay Office in New York, and the coinage of the Branch Mint at San Francisco, have so divided the work upon gold bullion as to remove all apprehension of difficulty or delay. In the coinage of half eagles, particularly, we shall be materially aided by a very remarkable machine lately invented for the final adjustment of the weight of the individual planchets. This instrument was manufactured at Paris, and has been introduced into the mint there, and one of similar powers is also employed in the mint of England. The one imported for the United States Mint is adapted to the half eagle only. It is justly regarded as a triumph of mechanism. It is not by any means assumed that the coinage of the eagle and the double eagle should be discontinued. On the contrary, they will be indispensable at San Francisco; they may, in some emergencies, be required at Philadelphia and at New Orleans; but, as a general rule, adapted to the principal mint and to the branches in the Atlantic States, it is believed that the time has come to return to the smaller denominations of gold coin, issuing almost the whole in pieces not larger than the half eagle; and this upon the ground already adverted to – particularly applicable to a country so greatly favored with the original production of the precious metal – that the people at large are entitled to a greater portion of real, imperishable money, and that a cardinal point at which this reform is to be begun or aided is the place where the gold is put into shape and size for circulation.”
As our larger gold coins are the most exposed to the fraudulent practice of splitting, and inserting other metals – a contrivance which has recently increased in our country – the suggestions herein made acquire additional importance. It may also be found to be useful, as a further means to prevent such nefarious practices, to increase the diameter and reduce the thickness of several of the denominations of our coins, as has been done in that of the gold dollar and three-dollar piece.
The tabular statements attached to this report are as follows: A. The deposits and coinage at the Mint and its Branches, and the Assay Office, during the year ending June 30, 1860. B. Statement of the amount of gold and silver of domestic production deposited at the institutions above named during the same period. C. The coinage operations of all the minting establishments of the United States from their respective organizations to the 30th of June, 1860, numbered from 1 to 7 inclusive. D. The entire deposits of domestic gold at these institutions for the same period, numbered from 1 to 7 inclusive. E. A statement of the production of domestic silver from the 1st of January, 1841, to the close of the last fiscal year. F. The amount of silver of less denomination than one dollar coined since the passage of the act of February 21, 1853, reducing the weight of such coins. G. The amount and denominations of fractions of the Spanish and Mexican dollar deposited at the Mint at Philadelphia for the new cent. H. A statement of the amount of fractions of the Spanish and Mexican dollar purchased for silver coinage since the passage of the act of February 21, 1857, entitled “An act relating to foreign coins, and to the coinage of cents at the Mint of the United States.” I. The amount of cents of former issue deposited at the Mint at Philadelphia for the new cent. J. A statement of the weight, fineness, and value of foreign gold coins. K. A similar statement of the weight, fineness, and value of foreign silver coins.
I have the honor to be, with great respect,
Your faithful servant,
JAMES ROSS SNOWDEN,
Director of the Mint.
Hon. Howell Cobb,
Secretary of the Treasury, Washington, D.C.
Deposited, (including purchases)
|Mint of U. States, Philadelphia.||Branch Mint, New Orleans.||Branch Mint, San Francisco.||Branch Mint, Dahlonega.||Branch Mint, Charlotte.||Assay Office, New York.||Total.|
|U. S.||Coin, (O.S.)||4,207||50||4,338||00||8,545||50|
|U. S.||Total Gold||$4,266,018||93||$153,731||71||$11,319,913||83||$67,085||21||$134,491||17||$6,731,951||36||$22,673,192||21|
|Deposited (including purchases)||$732,897||17||$1,380,412||08||$336,030||86||$409,299||99||$2,858,640||10|
|U. S. Bullion||23,608||24||701||32||144,108||89||125,378||60||293,797||05|
|Total Gold and Silver||$5,022,524||34||$1,534,845||11||$11,800,053||58||$67,085||21||$134,491||17||$7,266,629||95||$25,825,629||36|
|Less re-deposits at the different institutions:–|
|Gold (U. S. bullion),||$3,152,679||36|
|Denomination.||Mint of United States,
|California, (parted from gold,)
From whence derived.
|Mint U. States, Philadelphia.||Branch Mint,
|Branch Mint, New Orleans.||Branch Mint, Dahlonega.||Branch Mint, Charlotte.||Assay Office,
|GOLD.||New Orleans.||Branch Mint,|
|Total, Gold and Silver,|
|California (parted from gold)||$12,201||66||$63,226||12||$701||32||$62,432||60||$138,561||70|
|Total Gold and Silver||$1,071,788||50||$11,464,022||72||$90,268||24||$67,085||21||$134,491||17||$6,437,182||96||$19,264,838||80|
|PERIOD.||Double Eagles.||Eagles.||Half Eagles.||Three Dollars.||Quarter Eagles.||Dollars.||Fine Bars.|
|COPPER COINAGE.||TOTAL COINAGE.|
|PERIOD.||Cents.||Half Cents.||No. of Pieces Coined.||Value of Gold.||Value of Silver.||Value of Copper.||Value Coined.|
|For these years, the “No. of Pieces Coined” appears to include the number of bars produced, but the number of bars is not explicitly stated in this report.|
|PERIOD.||Double Eagles.||Eagles.||Half Eagles.||Three Dollars.||Quarter Eagles.||Dollars.||Unparted Bars.||Fine Bars.|
|SILVER COINAGE.||TOTAL COINAGE.|
|PERIOD.||Dollars.||Half Dollars.||Quarter. Dolls.||Dimes.||Bars.||Number of Pieces.||Gold.||Silver.||Total.|
|For these years, the “Number of Pieces” appears to include the number of bars produced, but the number of bars is not explicitly stated in this report.|
|PERIOD.||Double Eagles.||Eagles.||Half-Eagles.||Three Dollars.||Quarter Eagles.||Dollars.|
|1838 to 1847||1,026,342||709,925||550,528|
|SILVER COINAGE.||TOTAL COINAGE.|
|PERIOD.||Dollars.||Half-Dollars.||Quarter-Dollars.||Dimes.||Half-Dimes.||Three-Cents.||Bars.||Number of Pieces.||Value of Gold.||Value of Silver.||Total Value Coined.|
|1838 to 1847||59,000||13,509,000||3,273,600||6,473,500||2,789,000||28,390,895||$15,189,365||00||$8,418,700||00||$23,608,065||00|
|PERIOD.||Half-Eagles.||Three-Dollars.||Quarter-Eagles.||Dollars.||Total Pieces.||Total Value.|
|1838 to 1847||576,553||134,101||710,654||$3,218,017||50|
|PERIOD.||Half-Eagles.||Quarter-Eagles.||Dollars.||Total Pieces.||Total Value.|
|1838 to 1847||269,424||123,576||393,000||$1,656,060||00|
|Fine Gold Bars.||Value.||Silver Bars.||Value.||Total Pieces.||Total Value.|
|MINTS.||Commencement of Coinage.||Gold Coinage Value.||Silver Coinage Value.||Copper Coinage Value.||Entire Coinage.|
|Assay Office, New York||1854||93,736,275||18||796,721||58||27,789||94,532,996||76|
|Assay Office, New York.|
|Period.||Virginia.||North Carolina.||South Carolina.||Georgia.||Tennessee.||Alabama.||New Mexico.||California.||Oregon.||Kansas.||Nebraska.||Other sources.||Total.|
|1804 to 1827||$110,000||00||$110,000||00|
|1828 to 1837||$427,000||00||2,519,500||00||$327,500||00||$1,763,900||00||$12,400||00||$13,200||00||5,063,500||00|
|1838 to 1847||518,294||00||1,303,636||00||152,366||00||566,316||00||16,499||00||$45,493||00||21,037||00||2,623,641||00|
|Period.||North Carolina.||South Carolina.||Georgia.||Tennessee.||Alabama.||California.||Kansas.||Other sources.||Total.|
|1838 to 1847||$741||00||$14,306||00||$37,364||00||$1,772||00||$61,903||00||$3,613||00||$119,699||00|
|Period.||North Carolina.||South Carolina.||California.||Total.|
|1838 to 1847||$1,529,777||00||$143,941||00||$1,673,718||00|
|Period.||North Carolina.||South Carolina.||Georgia.||Tennessee.||Alabama.||California.||Kansas.||Other sources.||Total.|
|1838 to 1847||$64,351||00||$95,427||00||$2,978,353||00||$32,175||00||$47,711||00||$3,218,017||00|
|Period.||Virginia.||North Carolina.||South Carolina.||Georgia.||Alabama.||California.||Kansas.||Utah.||Arizona.||Oregon.||Other sources.||Total.|
|Mints.||Virginia.||North Carolina.||South Carolina.||Georgia.||Alabama.||Tennessee.||California.|
|Mints.||Kansas.||Utah.||Arizona.||Nebraska.||New Mexico.||Oregon.||Other sources.||Total.|
|Year.||Parted from California Gold.||Utah (Washoe).||Arizona.||Sonora.||North Carolina.||Lake Superior.||Total.|
|1841 to 1851||$768,509||00||$768,509||00|
|Year.||Mint of the United States at Philadelphia.||Branch Mint, San Francisco.||Branch Mint, New Orleans.||Total.|
|Year.||Quarters.||Eighths.||Sixteenths.||Value by Tale.|
|Year.||Mint of U.S., Philadelphia.||Branch Mint, New Orleans.||Assay Office, New York.||Total.|
|Year.||Value by tale.|
The first column embraces the names of the countries where the coins are issued. The second contains the names of coins, only the principal denominations being given. The other sizes are proportional, and when this is not the case, the deviation is stated.
The third column expresses the weight of a single piece in fractions of the troy ounce, carried to the thousandth, and in a few cases to the ten-thousandth of an ounce. This method is preferable to expressing the weight in grains for commercial purposes, and corresponds better with the terms of the Mint. It may be readily transferred to weight in grains by the following rule: remove the decimal point; from one half deduct four per cent., and the remainder will be grains.
The fourth column expresses the fineness in thousandths, i.e., the number of parts of pure gold or silver in 1000 parts of the coin.
The fifth and sixth columns of the first table express the valuation of gold. In the fifth is shown the value, as compared with the legal content or amount of fine gold in our coins. In the sixth is shown the value as paid at the Mint, after the uniform deduction of one-half of one per cent. The former is the value for any other purposes than re-coinage, and especially for the purpose of comparison; the latter is the value in exchange for our coins at the Mint.
For the silver there is no fixed legal valuation, the law providing for shifting the price, according to the conditions of demand and supply. The present price of standard silver is 121 cents per ounce, at which rate the values in the fifth column of the second table are calculated.
|Country.||Denomination.||Weight.||Fineness.||Value.||Value after deduction.|
|Central America||Old Doubloon, Bogota||Oz. Dec.||Thous.||D.C.M.||D.C.M.|
|Central America||Two escudos||0.209||853.5||3.68.0||3.66.2|
|England||Pound, or sovereign, new||0.256.7||916.5||4.86.3||4.83.9|
|“||Pound, or sovereign, average||0.256||915.5||4.84.8||4.82.4|
|France||Twenty francs, new||0.207.5||899.5||3.86.0||3.84.1|
|Germany, north||Ten thaler||0.427||895||7.90.0||7.86.1|
|Naples||Six ducati, new||0.245||996||5.04.0||5.01.5|
|New Granada||Old Doubloon, Bogota||0.868||870||15.61.7||15.53.9|
|“||Ten pesos, new||0.525||891.5||9.67.5||9.62.7|
|Peru||Old doubloon||0.867||868||15.56.0||15.48.2||“||New, not ascertained||....||....||....||....|
|Rome||2½ scudi, new||0.140||900||2.60.0||2.58.7|
|Sardinia||Same as France||....||....||....||....|
|Spain||100 reals||0.215||869.5||3.87.0||3.85.1||“||80 reals||0.268||896||4.96.3||4.93.9|
|Germany, north and south||Five francs, average||Oz. Dec.||Thous.||D.C.M.|
|Austria||Rix dollar||0.902||833||1.01.3||“||Scudo of six lire||0.836||902||1.01.5||“||New Union dollar||0.596||900||72.0|
|Bolivia||Dollar||0.871||900.5||1.05.4||“||New dollar||0.648||902||78.6||“||Half dollar, 1830||0.433||670||38.5||“||Quarter dollar, 1830||0.216||670||19.2|
|Chili||Old dollar||0.864||908||1.04.7||“||New dollar||0.801||900.5||97.0|
|England||Shilling, new||0.182.5||924.5||22.7||“||Shilling, average||0.178||925||22.2|
|France||Five francs, average||0.800||900||96.8|
|Germany,||north||Thaler||0.712||750||71.7||“||south||Gulden or florin||0.340||900||41.2||“||north and south||2 thaler or 3½ guld||1.192||900||1.44.3|
|New Granada||Dollar of 1857||0.803||896||96.8|
|Peru||Old dollar||0.866||901||1.04.9||“||Dollar of 1858||0.766||909||93.6||“||Half dollar, 1835-’38||0.433||650||37.7|
|Prussia||New Union dollar||0.596||900||72.0|
JAMES ROSS SNOWDEN,
Director of the Mint.
Mint of the United States,
Philadelphia, November 3, 1860.
Mint of the United States,
Philadelphia, June 14, 1860.
For the satisfaction of their Excellencies of the Japanese Embassy, the undersigned, Director of the Mint of the United States, certifies to the results obtained by assay of gold coins of Japan and the United States; made in their presence, by the proper officers of the Mint.
One cobang weighed 13821/32 grains; and the gold extracted from it weighed 7910/32 grains.
One other cobang weighed 13810/32 grains; and the gold extracted from it weighed 795/32 grains.
One other cobang weighed 1399/32 grains; and the gold extracted from it weighed 7922/32 grains.
So, on the average of these three, the cobang contains 79⅜ grains of gold, which makes the proportion of fineness 572 thousandths. This result agrees so well with our report of assays made in our usual way (by taking only a half gramme, or about 7¾ grains), that we trust it will give additional confidence to the Embassy, in our regular method of assay.
A gold dollar of the United States weighed 2526/32 grains; and the gold extracted from it weighed 237/32 grains; which agrees as nearly as may be to 900 thousandths, our legal standard.
Therefore, for comparison, the cobang contains 79⅜ grains of gold, and the dollar contains 237/32 grains of gold. But it will be more strictly accurate to say that the proportion of gold in a cobang is 572 thousandths, and in the dollar 900 thousandths, and it is necessary to add that the actual weight of the gold dollar is 258/10 grains by law, which is a more exact basis of calculation than the single piece, which weighed 258125/10,000; and was, therefore, a little too heavy.
The silver being extracted, with the necessary allowance for absorption, showed almost 59 grains of silver in each cobang, and the copper was only 12/32; of one grain in each cobang.
To recapitulate, the average composition of the cobang is as follows in grains:—
|Average weight of the Cobang in grains||138||24/32|
All which is respectfully submitted.
JAMES ROSS SNOWDEN,
Director of the Mint of the United States.
Mint of the United States,
Philadelphia, June 20, 1860.
To Their Excellencies the Ambassadors from the Empire of Japan to the United States of America.
The undersigned, the Director of the Mint of the United States, begs leave to refer your excellencies to the last conference held with the officers of the Mint in regard to the assay and the currency; at which time it was asked, whether it would not be proper that the officers of the Treasury of Japan should rate the new gold itzebu at 90 cents, and the new gold cobang at $3.60, in exchanging for Mexican dollars, or for gold and silver dollars of the United States, because that is an even decimal figure, and the real value is very near thereto; such valuation to be temporary until the Japanese Government shall have instituted certain reforms in its currency and coinage. To which it was replied, and I have now to repeat the same in writing as you requested, that we consider it altogether proper, and a convenient rate for calculation.
The officers of the Mint do not presume to enter upon the subject of the proposed reforms any farther than to make a few suggestions, which, if not acceptable, may simply be laid aside.
It is probable that it would be just as difficult in Japan as in any other country to introduce great and radical changes in the currency, especially in the unit of moneys, with which the people are familiar. Now, it is to be observed, that while the old silver itzebu was rather too high in its real value to be exchanged at the rate of three to the Mexican silver dollar, or United States gold dollar, yet the change introduced lately has brought it down to a very close adjustment to that valuation; and three new silver itzebus exchange very well with either of the dollars above mentioned; not to the very last fraction, but near enough, so that this need not be altered; and thus we have the basis, that three itzebus are equal to one dollar.
The next point is to make the gold itzebu and the gold cobang to correspond to that basis according to the general relation of value between gold and silver, so that the Japanese may understand their real wealth, and no longer be defrauded by the artful exchanges of foreign merchants. And as you have already alloyed the silver itzebu so as to make it near the standard fineness of nine-tenths (according to the rates in the United States, Mexico, and other countries), we suggest that the same standard should be used for the gold. Whether the remaining one-tenth should be silver or copper, or both, is a minor matter with which we shall not concern ourselves. The great point is to get the right quantity of gold. Then the cobang being four itzebus should contain as much gold as 1⅓ of our gold dollars. It should contain 30.96 grains, or 5.2632 condorines of fine gold; and being nine-tenths fine, its actual weight should be 34.4 grains, or 5.848 condorines. This coin would be small, but a little larger than our gold dollar; and you would do well to coin, also, a piece of ten cobangs, which would be equal to 13⅓ dollars. The gold itzebu would be quite too small for a coin, and seems to be of no use, while you have a silver itzebu.
Inasmuch as some confusion might arise from continuing the name cobang for a coin so different in value from that previously known under that name, it would be better, it seems to us, to introduce into the currency a gold dollar to be rated as equal to three silver itzebus. This dollar, if equal to our own, should weigh 25.8 grains, nine-tenths fine, containing, therefore, 23.32 grains of pure gold; or, in your own weight, about 4.39 condorines, nine-tenths fine, equal to 3.95 condorines of pure gold.
This suggestion, we think, should receive your careful consideration, especially as your people are somewhat acquainted with the silver dollar of Mexico, which conforms very nearly to the gold dollar herein recommended. And as the dollar is a coin and money of account, adopted by nearly all the American nations, and is familiar to many others, it possesses advantages which commend it to your consideration.
As to the shape of the coins, it is very obvious that a circular form would greatly facilitate the work at your Mint. A round piece is always right when laid on the die, but a square or oval piece must be carefully adjusted, and this is a loss of time and labor.
I cannot close this communication without expressing the favorable opinion of the officers of the Mint as to the accuracy of your assays. If, as you state, the intention was to make the cobang consist of 573 parts gold, and 427 parts silver, then the fact that it actually contains 572 parts gold, shows a close approximation, and it also shows that your assayers understand their business. At this day the coins of France are one-thousandth less than they are intended to be; and all the doubloons of North and South America are 5 to 10 thousandths, and even more, below their professed fineness. In these remarks we refer strictly to the new cobangs, because those which were coined a few years ago did not show the same accuracy. Your new silver coin should be about one per cent. finer than it is, according to the single piece we assayed; but the assay of silver, if it is done by the furnace, can never be so exact as the gold. We, therefore, recommend the “humid assay” for silver.
It may be useful for your Mint officers to have a small piece of absolutely fine gold to compare with their own, and I therefore beg you to accept what is inclosed for that purpose.
I have the honor to be, With great respect, Your obedient servant,
JAMES ROSS SNOWDEN,
Director of the Mint.
|Assay Office, New York, operations during fiscal year 1859-60|
|Assay of foreign coins|
|Assay of Japanese and United States coins, certificate of|
|Assays of Japanese and United States coins|
|Bolivia, new silver dollar of|
|Coinage, operations of Mint and Branches for 1859-60|
|Coinage, tabular statement of, for 1859-60|
|Coinage, at Mint of the United States, Philadelphia, 1859-60|
|Coinage, at Branch Mint, New Orleans, 1859-60|
|Coinage, at Branch Mint, San Francisco, 1859-60|
|Coinage, at Branch Mint, Dahlonega, 1859-60|
|Coinage, at Branch Mint, Charlotte, 1859-60|
|Coinage, at the Mint and Branches, to June 30, 1860, tabular statement of|
|Coinage, of small denominations of gold coin recommended|
|Coinage, in Japan, changes of, suggested to Japanese Ambassadors|
|Coins, foreign, tabular statements of weight, fineness, and value of|
|Coins, of Japan, assay of, at the Mint|
|Cents coined during 1859-60|
|Cents (O. S.) received to June 30, 1860, in exchange for new cents|
|Cobang of Japan|
|Deposits, gold received at the Mint at Philadelphia during 1859-60|
|Deposits, silver received at the Mint at Philadelphia during 1859-60|
|Deposits, gold received at the Branch Mint, New Orleans, during 1859-60|
|Deposits, silver received at the Branch Mint, San Francisco, during 1859-60|
|Deposits, gold received at the Branch Mint, Dahloncga, during 1859-60|
|Deposits, gold received at the Branch Mint, Charlotte, during 1859-60|
|Deposits, gold received at the Assay Office, N. Y., during 1859-60|
|Deposits, silver received at the Assay Office, N. Y., during 1859-60|
|Deposits, gold, of domestic production, 1859-60|
|Deposits, silver, of domestic production, 1859-60|
|Deposits, gold, of domestic production, to June 80, 1860|
|Deposits, silver, of domestic production, to June 30, 1860|
|Envoys from Japan, visit of, to the Mint|
|Exchange of new cents for fractions of Spanish and Mexican dollar discontinued|
|Exchange of new cents limited to old copper cents of the United States|
|Fraudulent practices upon our gold coin|
|Fraudulent practices upon our gold coin, remedies against|
|Foreign coins, tabular statements of value|
|Gold of domestic production, amount received 1859-60|
|Gold of domestic production, total amount received to June 30, 1860|
|Gold received from Kansas mines|
|Gold pieces issued by private minting establishment at Denver City|
|Gold coins, fraudulent practices upon|
|Gold coins of the smaller denominations, increased coinage of, recommended|
|Gold dollars, recoinage of thick pieces, reasons for|
|Gold coins of Japan|
|Gold coins, foreign, statement of value|
|Itzebu, gold, weight, fineness, and value of|
|Itzebu, silver, weight, fineness, and value of|
|Kansas, gold from mines of|
|Oban, gold, weight, fineness, and value of|
|Washoe region, silver received from|
|Scanned Original.||A value highligted in green means the shown value has been “corrected” from the value in the original.|