Silver Dollar Blog Posts - March 2012
What year did Carson City mint Morgan Dollars?
Why are there no Carson City Morgan Dollars minted from 1886 - 1888?
To start with Superintendent of the Carson City Mint, James Crawford died on March 8th, 1885. The mint decided to close until a new superintendent was found. Well they found someone to fill the position by April 1st, but on March 28th Director of Mint Horatio C. Burchard ordered the suspension of coinage because of the fiscal balance. There was only $7,200 left to pay for the next 4 months of minting. Now they were down to the smallest staff possible, and on November 6th, 1885 they finally closed the doors.
But it reopened again on October 1st, 1886 with just enough money to keep the assay office open for the testing of bullion. If they got enough silver in the door they could resume minting. But the mines of Nevada, Comstcok had never received a massive deposit. As was done before the Carson City Mint sent the silver to San Francisco for coinage.
The Carson City mint closed for two main reasons as stated in The Comprehensive Catalogue and Encyclopedia of U.S. Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars by Leroy Van Allen and A. George Mallis:
"First, the practice of paying for depositions by draft instead of by cash; and second, the collection of a transportation charge from depositors for the cost of transporting refined bullion by express to the San Francisco mint"
When President Benjamin Harrison was elected president the silver supporters cheered! President Harrison was a supporter of the silver and approved the Carson City Mint budget.... They were back on track, but first order of business was to repair the building since it had been out of operation for so long. Now the Carson City was back with the 1889-CC Morgan Silver Dollar
Photo Source: Library of Congress
1886 Silver Dollar
Mintage Circulation strikes: 19,963,000
There is no mint mark on the coin which means it was minted in Philadelphia.
1886-S Silver Dollar
Mintage Circulation Strikes: 750,000
Minted in San Francisco– S
1886-O Silver Dollar
Mintage Circulation strikes: 10,710,000
Minted in New Orleans– O
Random Facts of 1886
The President of the United States was Grover Cleveland. He was in office from March 4th, 1885 - March 4th, 1889.
Any Coca-Cola fans out there? On May 8th, 1886 a pharmacist named Dr. John Pemberton took a jug of Coca-Cola syrup to Jacobs' Pharmacy in downtown Atlanta where it was mixed with carbonated water. The going price was as little as five cents a glass.
X-Ray technology is developed
In New York Harbor, U.S. President Grover Cleveland dedicates the Statue of Liberty
Grover Cleveland is 1st to wed during presidency, Frances Folsom
Emily Dickinson dies
The first train load of oranges leaves Los Angeles via the transcontinental railroad
1st Civil Rights Act passes
Fire destroys nearly 1,000 buildings in Vancouver
U.S. Mint at Carson City, Nevada closes
Primitive radio technology is developed
The Canadian Pacific Railway, transversing Canada from east to west, is completed
Sherman Silver Purchase Act
On July 14th, 1890 the Sherman Silver Purchase Act was enacted. This was due to growing complaints of farmers and miner interests. During the late part of the 1880's farm prices continued to drop. The farmers believed if the government would issue enough silver this would boost the economy and cause inflation thus they could pay their debts with cheaper dollars. Of course the silver mines were fond of this idea as well because it would put more money in their pockets.
What was the total amount of silver purchased during the Sherman Act?
With the Sherman Silver Purchase Act the United States Treasury was now to purchase 4,500,000 ounces of silver bullion each month! Under the Sherman act 168,674,682.53 ounces of silver were purchased this cost a total of $155,931,002.25.
The law stated the United States Treasury was to buy the silver with a special issue of Treasury Notes that could be redeemed for either gold or silver. The problem was everyone wanted the gold! Fear sets in when you believe all the gold reserves are being depleted thus we have the financial panic of 1893.
Come 1893 farm prices are sill on the decline. In 1893 the United States President is Grover Cleveland who never cared much for the silver interest. So on November 1st, 1893 President Cleveland repealed the Sherman Act. But the nations gold supply had already dwindled by a ton.
As for the Morgan Dollar they were having a hard time right about now there is still a large amount of uncirculated Morgan Dollars, the Sherman Act has been repelled and President Cleveland doesn't seem to care about the silver interests.
Under the Sherman Purchase Act the Treasury was required to purchase the silver, but didn't have to immediately turn around and coin it into silver dollars. Therefore there was still some at the treasury office. In 1898 an act was passed that stated the remaining silver from the Sherman Silver Purchase Act would be coined into the standard Silver Dollar. The 1904 was the last coin to be struck resulting from the Sherman Silver Act.
If you ever want to purchase a book that covers every aspect of the Morgan and Peace Dollar this is the book! The Comprehensive Catalogue and Encyclopedia of U.S. Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars. This book goes into detail about the background of the silver dollar. Detail surrounding the minting process, historical letters and descriptions of 1000 errors/varieties. Cleaning, photographing and how to detect counterfeits. I think they covered every topic imaginable in a guide to Morgan and Peace Dollars!
You can break this book down into four parts. First the book talks about the background of the silver dollar. Laws which affected when and how many coins could be produced, minting operations of the time. The second part concentrates on the design of the Morgan Dollar. Goes into detail about die varieties. Also it talks about the General Services Administration Carson City Dollar Sales. The third section of this book goes into the design development, die variety listings for the Peace dollar. Section four talks about daily working procedures and how they handled silver dollars. It also covers what to look for in a counterfeit coins, grading and cleaning. And how to photograph these tricky coins. I also wrote and article on How to Photograph your Morgan Dollars you might want to take a look at!
Out of all the coin books I own this is by far my favorite! It doesn't just show an 1878 Silver Dollar with facts. It goes into detail where that coin was minted, how it was minted, what errors were produced, who handled the coin all the way up to bagging the silver dollars. A story in detail from beginning to end about the Morgan and Peace Silver Dollar!
The Bland-Allison Act
In the mid 1800's you could literally walk into a bank with your raw silver and have it converted into legal tender. That is why the coinage act of 1873 was called a crime because the act changed everything. You could no longer convert you silver into legal tender. What the coinage act of 1873 did was demonetized silver by only providing deposits of gold bullion for coinage.
On February 28th, 1878 the Bland Allison Act was introduced which fathered the Morgan Dollar. Richard P. Bland was a representative from Missouri and William B. Allison was a representative from Iowa came together for a common cause. This act restored silver to legal-tender and required the Treasury to purchase 2-4 million dollars of silver bullion each month. This silver would be coined in to silver dollars at a ratio of 16:1.this brought back bimetallism so now both gold and silver were a monetary standard.
Who Vetoed the Bland-Allison Act?
Republican President Rutherford B. Hayes. President Hayes sent it back to congress, but congress passed it above his head and thus we have the Bland-Allison Act.
At first these coins were called Bland Dollars, but it didn't stick in the twentieth century most folks referred to them as Morgan Dollars The Morgan Dollars were to be coined at 412.5 grains in weight and 0.900 - nine-tenths pure silver and ten percent copper. During the Bland-Allison Act 291,272,018.56 silver was purchased which cost $308,279,260.71. That comes to 378,166,793 standard silver dollars.
The Bland-Allison stayed an act until 1890 when the Sherman Silver Purchase Act came into play. The Act was named after Senator John Sherman an Ohio Republican. Now treasury had to purchase 4,500 ounces of silver bullion per month. The act stated the purchase would be at current market price not to exceed $1.00 for 371.25 grains of pure silver.
Next we will talk more about the Sherman Silver Purchase Act