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the discordant pounds, shillings, pence and farthings of the different states, and to establish in their stead the new denominations.”

On the 2d of April, 1792, a code of laws was enacted for the establishment and regulation of the mint, under which, with slight amendments, the coinage was executed for forty-two years.

The denominations of coin, with their rates, were as follows:

GOLD.— The eagle of ten dollars, to weigh 270 grains, the half and quarter in proportion; all of the fineness of 22 carats, or 917 thousandths.

Silver.— The dollar of 100 cents, to weigh 416 grains; the half, quarter, tenth or dime, and twentieth or half dime, in proportion; the fineness to be 1485 parts in 1664, or 892.4 thousandths.

COPPER.— The cent, to weigh 264 grains; the half cent in proportion.

Since the act of 1792, the following alterations in the standards have been made:

On the 14th January, 1793, the weight of the cent was reduced to 208 grains; the half-cent in proportion.

January 26th, 1796, President Washington issued a proclamation (as he had been empowered to do by law), that “on account of the increased price of copper, and the expense of coinage,” the cent would be reduced to 7 dwts, or 168 grains, and the half cent in proportion. The copper coins have since remained at this standard.

June 28th, 1834. An act was passed changing the weight and fineness of the gold coins, and the relative value of gold to silver. Before stating the alterations, it may be proper to observe, that the estimate of gold as being worth fifteen times as much as silver, which was the original basis, was found too low at the market value; which, although always fluctuating, was nearer sixteen to one, upon a general average. The effect of our legal proportions was to reduce the coinage of gold, and to restrain its circulation; being always at a premium, the coin was immediately exported to Europe, in the course of trade, and there quickly wrought into other shapes.

To provide a remedy for this evil, engaged the attention of some of our most eminent statesmen for a series of fifteen years. At length, in June 1834, the weight of the eagle was reduced by law to 258 grains (the parts in proportion), of which 232 grains must be fine gold, making the fineness 21 carats 214 car. grains, or 899,2356 thousandths. This was an increase of 6,480o per cent. on the former value of gold. The silver coinage was not changed.

The disadvantages of the complex standards of fineness, both in gold and silver, which were difficult to be expressed or remembered, and very inconvenient in regard to the frequent calculations which were based upon them, early determined the present director to endeavor to effect an improvement. The standard of nineteenths fine, as adopted in France and some other countries, was obviously the most simple, and upon every consideration, the most suitable. To bring our silver coins to that proportion, without changing the amount of fine silver in them, it was only necessary to put less copper by 3} grains, in the dollar, reducing its weight to 412} grains. The weight of the gold was not to be changed, but the fineness increased about three-fourths of one thousandth, a difference far within the scope of the legal allowance, and of course, hardly appreciable. These proportions were incorporated in a carefully digested code of mint laws, which was enacted by Congress in January 1837. By that act, the eagle is to be 900 thousandths fine, and to weigh 258 grains; the half and quarter in proportion; and the dollar, at the same fineness, to weigh 4121 grains; the parts in proportion. The allowed deviation in fineness, for gold, is from 898 to 902; for silver, 897 to 903.

The following is a recapitulation of the various standards of the gold and silver coins.

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It will be proper, in concluding this article, to explain briefly the organization of the mint of the United States. Until the year 1835 there was but one institution, which was located at Philadelphia. In that year three branches of the mint were created by act of Congress. Two of these were for the coinage of gold only, and were to be situated at the towns Charlotte in North Carolina, and Dahlonega in Georgia-central points of the gold mining region. The third branch was for both gold and silver, and located at New Orleans, the commercial emporium of the south-west. These three institutions, which, in the view of the law, are not distinct mints, but rather branches of the mint, are respectively managed by superintendents, who are under the control of the Director of the parent mint. The branches went into operation in the year 1838. Their coinage is uniform with that of the establishment at Philadelphia, being systematically tested there for approval. A bill is now before Congress for the establishment of a branch mint at the City of New York.

The whole mint establishment, thus constituted, is itself a bureau or branch of the Treasury Department of the general government, and is under the supervision of the Secretary of the Treasury. Its operations are annually reported through the President to Congress, and are laid open to the public through that body.

year 1847.

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT, Communicating the Report of the Director of the Mint, showing the Operations of the

Mint and Branch Mints for the To the Senate of the United States :

I transmit, herewith, the annual report of the director of the mint at Philadelphia, showing the operation of the mint and branch mints for the year 1847.

JAMES K. POLK. WASHINGTON, January 31, 1848.


Philadelphia, January 14, 1848. SIR:-I have the honor to present the following report of the operations of the mint and branch mints during the past year.

The coinage at the principal mint amounted to $14,348,367: comprising $13,269,080 in gold, $990,450 in silver, and $61,837 in copper coins; and composed of 11,545,278 pieces. The deposits of gold within the year amounted 10 $13,670,896, and those of silver to $962,781: making, together, $14,633,677.

At the New Orleans branch mint the coinage amounted to $7,469,000; comprising $6,085,000 in gold, and $1,384,000 in silver coins, and composed of 3,659,500 pieces. The deposits for coinage amounted to $7,739,506; $6,252,288 in gold, and $1,487,278 in silver.

The branch mint' at Charlotte received, during the year, deposits of gold 10 the value of $344,054, and its coinage amounted to $478,820; composed of 84,151 half-eagles, and 23,226 quarter-eagles.

The branch mint at Dahlonega received during the year, deposits of gold to the value of $352,366, and its coinage amounted to $361,485; composed of 61,405 half-eagles, and 15,748 quarter-eagles.

The deposits during the year, at the four mints, amounted, in all, to the sum of $23,069,603; of which $20,619,544 was in gold, and $2,450,059 in silver. The whole coinage amounted to $22,657,672; composed of $20,221,385 in gold, $2,374,450 in silver, and $61,837 in copper coins.

Statements, in the tabular form, relative to the operations of the year, and former years, are subjoined; and from the last of these, it will be seen that the coinage of 1847 is nearly double in value of that of any former year, and that the proportion of gold to silver has greatly increased.

of the deposits, a large portion was made under the act of February 9, 1793, which requires that all foreign gold and silver coins, (except Spanish milled dollars, and parts of such dollars,) which shall be received for moneys due 10 the United Siates, shall, previously to their being issued in circulation, be coined anew. The amount thus received, at the Philadelphia mint, was $9,829,404. I have the honor to be, sir, with great respect, your faithful servant,


Director of the Mint. To the PRESIDENT of the United States.

Statement of Deposits and Coinage at the Mint of the United States and Branches in the

year 1847.

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Total gold and silver $344,054 $352,366 $7,739,506 $ 14,633,677 $23,069,603

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61,836 69 |_61,836 69

Value copper, dollars,
Number of pieces,






Value, dolls, and cts.



7,469,000 14,348,366 69 22,657,671 69

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134,101 3,211,667

709,384 3,211,667 402,430

40,243 402,430 40,243 9,396 23,490


1,291,600 (1,060,000 240,161 2,476,996 263,650 26,200 217,500

855,100 425,200 1,175,000 935,000 698,100 3,446,900 915,600 7,380 85,200

401,000 452,000 2,007,500 815,000 555,000 3,693,730 640,200 19,800 405,500

957,000 769,000 2,020,000 350,000 890,250 4,159,600 1,295,750
368,002 3,177,000
2,268,000 968,000 150,000

1,391,000 4,030,239 4,568,000
2,005,000 740,000

220,000 1,198,500 3,448,300 4,208,500


1,070,000 2,412,500 1,750,000
66,000 1,272,800 59,000 2,304,000

1,211,000 2,568,780 2,483,800
124,000 6,085,000
2,584,000 368,000

1,384,000 3,659,500 7,469,000
620,778 14,956,490 59,000 13,584,100 3,722,200 7,276,530 3,380,000 8,678,253 30,298,975 23,634,743
878,455 19,824,217 59,000 13,584,100 3,722,200 6,276,530 3,380,000 8,678,253 31,401,359 28,502,470

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