Page:Treatise on Currency and Banking.djvu/26

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other, less than any other known commodities, and therefore well adapted to be the commodities of contracts and obligations payable at a future day.

2. The universality of this uniformity of value, by which they serve not only as standards for comparing prices at different periods of time, but prices in different countries at the same time.

3. Their convenient portability, possessing a great value in a small bulk, and yet a bulk not too small for all practical purposes.

4. Their divisibility into pieces of any weight, and of the most exact quantities, and their convertibility by fusion back again into larger masses without loss.

5. Their malleability and toughness, which render them not liable to break.

6. Their susceptibility of receiving impressions as coins.

7. Their uniformity of physical quality, pure gold or silver being the same at all times and at all places, and thus unlike most other metals and commodities which have different degrees of excellence.

8. Their capacity of admixture with alloy which renders them as coins less destructible by wear and tear, and of their being again separated from it with very little loss.

9. Their durability, not being easily destroyed by fire, and not at all by rust.

10. Their clear sound when dropped upon a hard substance, by which they can be known from base metals, and be thus distinguished from counterfeits.

11. Their specific gravity, which differs from that of other metals of the same bulk, and thus renders the detection of counterfeits easy by a practised hand.

The beauty of the metals adds to their value for purposes of utility and ornament, but perhaps not to their value as money; and hence I have not embraced that quality in the foregoing enumeration.