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Author Topic:   so-called dollars
Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 01-12-2011 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

I just saw a "so-called dollar". What might you tell me about them?

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iconnumber posted 01-12-2011 05:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Made for both the 1896 and 1900 presidential campaigns by various eastern silversmiths as anti-Bryant propaganda. Here are three more:

E. Jaccard & Co

Spaulding & Co

Tiffany & Co

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iconnumber posted 01-12-2011 08:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chase33     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey Wev,

can you expound a little more? I am not up on my late 19th / early 20th century politics!



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iconnumber posted 01-12-2011 10:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A coinage act recommended by Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, was passed by Congress April 2, 1792, fixing the ratio of silver to gold at 15 to 1. This was the first time any country ever had adopted by law a bimetallic standard with free and unlimited coinage of the two metals that gave full legal tender power to both. Despite provisions of the statute, the first and second directors of the Mint coined dollars of .900 fineness and 374.4 grains of pure silver, thus actually altering the ratio to 15 1/8 to 1.

The French coinage law of 1803 fixed the ratio in that country at 15 1/2 to 1. England adopted the gold standard in 1816 with a subsidiary silver coinage at the ratio of 16 to 1. Gold actually was worth more than 15 times as much as silver and the undervaluation placed upon it in this country caused it to disappear from currency during the 1830s.

The Act of June 28, 1834, changed the ratio to 16 to 1. This reversed the positions of the two metals. Silver now was undervalued and none was brought to the Mint for coinage. It was more profitable to sell silver bullion to silversmiths. Money brokers melted down silver dollars for a profit. The silver dollar disappeared from currency.

The United States Government stopped coining silver dollars in 1873. Western silver mine owners called this the "crime of 1873" and demanded a return to "free coinage of silver"--the right to have silver coined into money as it was brought to the Mint. The "crime" was committed, according to the silver bloc, as the result of an "international conspiracy to demonetize silver." Actually, European nations, finding it difficult to maintain a double standard, were beginning to adopt the gold standard. The U.S. did not demonetize silver dollars, thus did not go so far as some European countries. The 1873 coinage law would not have been branded a crime if the price of silver had not dropped.

Leading the demand for free silver coinage was Rep. Richard Bland (Dem.-MO), known as "Silver Dick" because of his Nevada silver mines. Bland co-authored the Bland-Allison Bill, which Congress passed in 1878. President Hayes vetoed it Feb. 28, but both House and Senate passed it over his veto the same day.

The Bland-Allison Act required that the Secretary of the Treasury purchase each month a minimum of $2 million silver at market price and coin it into dollars at the 16 to 1 ratio. Secretary Sherman bought only this minimum amount and limited coinage resulted. As administered, the Act failed completely to cheapen the dollar or to arrest the decline in the price of silver.

The Sherman Silver Purchase Act, 1890, required the Treasury to buy 4,500,000 ounces a month, estimated to be the total annual output of all U.S. silver mines. This silver was not to be coined. The Act, merely a sop to Western mining states to get their representatives to boost the protective tariff, caused a strain on the gold reserve. President Cleveland called a special session of Congress in 1893 to repeal the Act, which he believed had been largely responsible for depleting the gold reserve.

Bimetallism was losing favor and was seriously questioned by many. Silver dropped from 83 to below 63 1/2 cents on ounce; there was agricultural distress in West and South; by April 21, 1893, the gold reserve dropped below $100,000,000 and it was feared the Treasury no longer could maintain the gold standard. The Panic of 1893 struck. Within six months there were more than 8,000 business failures, 400 bank failures, and 56 railroad receiverships or bankruptcies. Mines were closed. Thousands were unemployed. President Cleveland called a special session of Congress to repeal the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, blamed by Easterners as main cause of the trouble.

Many, on the other hand, believed free silver was the answer--that restoring silver to its historic status as money would lead to recovery. In 1895, 31 Democratic Congressmen sent out an address in which they declared their party favored bimetallism. Chief author was William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska.

In 1896, the Democrats nominated Bryan for the Presidency and wrote a free silver plank into their platform. The Republicans nominated William McKinley of Ohio to oppose him. While Republicans favored the gold standard, McKinley had voted for the Bland-Allison Act. Upon his nomination, 33 Republican Silverites left the hall, many of them joining the Democrats.

McKinley defeated Bryan. The gold standard had won and free coinage of silver had been dealt a death blow. Although free silver again was an issue in 1900, when Bryan again was defeated by McKinley, "imperialism" was the paramount issue.

The gold standard law of 1900, an issue in the Presidential contest of that year, settled the question in the United States in favor of gold. It provided "that the dollar consisting of twenty-five and eight-tenths grains of gold nine-tenths fine, as established by section thirty-five hundred and eleven of the Revised Statutes of the United States, shall be the standard unit of value, and all forms of money issued or coined by the United States shall be maintained at a parity of value with this standard and it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to maintain such parity."

Condensed from the book So-Called Dollars by Harold E. Hibler and Charles V. Kappen

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iconnumber posted 01-12-2011 10:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I guess that explains it! Thanks for posting it.

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 01-12-2011 11:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks so much.

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iconnumber posted 01-13-2011 08:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can't help but notice they all claim to have the same value of a gold dollar but some have different grain content.

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iconnumber posted 01-13-2011 09:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looking into the subject, I find it said over and over again that we were on a Bimetallic Coinage System with a Silver Standard.

All the talk on the subject when I was young was about how we had come off of the Gold Standard.

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