Silver Dollar Blog - Weighing and inspecting the Silver Dollar

Apr 16, 2012

San Francisco Adjust Room

The legal weight is 412.5 grains for a silver dollar. Let me tell you minting a silver dollar is an exact science. But how do the ensure the exact weight after melting, rolling, and punching out the blanks? First they were weighed on Seyss automatic weighing machine. The Seyss machine found its way to Philadelphia in 1860 where it automatically sorted and weighed the planchets. After the planchet was weighed they were divided up into four groups heavy, heavy adjusted, light adjusted and light.

What percentage passed the weight inspection?

At first wooden furnaces were used along with draw benches with an average of 60% falling within the legal weight. Come 1901 when they switched to a gas process as well as rolling mills being introduced all of a sudden 90% of the planchets were passing the legal weight.  Now you are still left with planchets that are either to heavy or to light. This is where the ladies come in at the adjusting room. If the planchet was to light it was sent back for remelting, but if it was too heavy there was a chance it could be filed down to the legal weight. The scales were so sensitive that all drafts had to be excluded from the room because the slightest breeze could influence the scale. Each coin was weighed individually after awhile the operators got so good could they could practically feel if it was the exact weight. Sometimes they would get some that were a bit to heavy to be filed down those were sent back for re-melting.

 After the Morgan is weighed we're getting real close to the actual die preparation stage! 

Photo credit - Library of Congress



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