The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Coins

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Edition of 1879. See also Coíns on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

COINS (Fr. coin, a die or stamp), metallic money; specie; pieces of metal, generally gold, silver, or copper, bearing certain marks or devices to indicate their origin and value, and designed to be used as money. How early gold and silver began to be used as money, history does not inform us. Nearly 2,000 years before Christ Abraham returned from Egypt "very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold;" and in his purchase of the cave of Machpelah, he weighed out the consideration agreed upon, "400 shekels of silver, current money with the merchant." The use of the metals, however, in the form of wedges or bars, though an immense improvement upon simple barter, or the use of cattle, grain, and other commodities, was still attended with inconveniences. At every transaction the precise weight of metal must be computed; a hammer and chisel must be at hand to cut it off, and a balance to weigh it. The fineness of the metal was also to be ascertained. All these troubles were at length ended by the expedient of shaping the metals into pieces of convenient size, and stamping upon each its exact value. He who first did this was the inventor of coins; but history is silent respecting his name, his country, or the date of his invention. Homer, although he speaks of workers in metals, makes no mention of coined money. Herodotus says that the Lydians, as far as he knew, were the first who struck money; and although the oldest specimens of coin now extant have usually been supposed to be Grecian, there are reasons for thinking with Herodotus that the invention was Asiatic. Coins were probably used as early as the 8th century B. C., and by the 4th century money was found throughout the civilized world, every state having its proper coinage. Most of the commoner metals have in turn been used for making coins. The early corns of Asia Minor were of electrum, a mixture of gold and silver, in the proportion of three of the former to one of the latter. Lycurgus banished gold and silver, and made the money of Sparta of iron, $100 worth of which required a cart and two oxen to remove it. Copper formed the early money of the Komans; and when Caesar landed in Britain, coins of brass and iron were found in use. Tin was coined by Charles II., and James II. even resorted to gun metal and pewter. At the present day, however, the precious metals, gold and silver, with copper for the lowest denomination, are almost universally employed as the material of coins. Coins of platinum were formerly struck in Russia, but its use for this purpose has recently been abandoned. Gold and silver in a state of purity are soft and ductile; and coins made of these metals would suffer loss and injury to a certain degree by abrasion, if there no means of hardening them. The addition of a small quantity of alloy is found to produce this effect, without materially impairing the ductility or beauty of the metals. Although in a few countries coins are issued of almost absolute purity, such as the gold sequins of Tuscany and the silver florins of Hanover yet for the most part the coins of the world consist not of pure gold and silver, but of these metals alloyed with some other, generally copper, in definite proportions fixed by law. The difficulty of ridding gold entirely of the silver with which it is always found combined in nature has led in some countries to the practice of leaving enough silver to serve for alloy. This is the case in Spanish America, as is indicated by the paleness of their doubloons. In some European countries the silver is entirely removed, and copper introduced for alloy, giving to the coins a reddish cast. In the United States the practice of the mint is to imitate the true color of gold in the coinage, by using an alloy of about T 9 7 copper and T V silver; that is, in 1,000 oz. of standard gold there are 900 oz. pure gold, 10 oz. silver, and 90 oz. copper. The term standard, as applied to coins, means strictly the conditions of fineness and weight to which they are required by law to conform. Thus, in the United States, the gold coins must be made of metal consisting of ^ftfc P ure g^ and T^Pfe alloy; in other words, they must be T 9 fine. This is the standard fineness, and gold of this quality is called standard gold. The weight of such gold required by law in each gold coin is its standard weight. Thus in the eagle there must be 258 grains. In estimating the value of coins, it is the quantity of fine metal contained, in them which is considered; the alloy goes for nothing. The practice of the world is not uniform in regard to standard fineness of coins; some countries issuing coins of as low fineness as 250 thousandths, and others aiming at absolute purity. Great Britain still retains the old proportion of -fa alloy; while in the United States, France, Spain, Belgium, and some other countries, the decimal proportion of T V alloy has been adopted. Different modes of expressing the fineness of coins and bullion prevail in different countries. Where the decimal system of notation is employed, it is expressed in thousandths. Thus the standard fineness of fr would be written -j^ftfc, or simply -900; and bullion containing three fourths pure metal .would be said to be '750 fine. In Great Britain two systems prevail, one for gold and one for silver. The fineness of gold is expressed in carats, absolute purity being 24 carats fine. The standard fineness of British gold coins is 22 carats, which is equivalent to |, or 916f thousandths; so that if a given weight of American gold coin is worth $54, the same weight of British coin is worth $55. For the purpose of expressing minute degrees of fineness in bullion, the carat is divided into four carat grains, and these again into quarters. At the British mint, assays are carried to the half quarter, or the ^V P art f * ne carat. In this system the United States standard of -j 9 ^ would be expressed 21 carats. The fineness of silver is estimated by stating the number of ounces of fine silver in a pound troy of the metal. Thus pure silver is 12 fine; and English silver coins, are 11 T V fine, because in a pound troy of standard silver the law requires 11 T V oz. pure silver and T 9 T of an oz. alloy. Thus it will be seen that while the British standard for gold coins is 91 6f thousandths, that of silver coin is 925 thousandths. Coins are generally made flat, circular, and thin. By being flattened they receive better impressions, and are conveniently handled and piled. The circular form simplifies the process of fabrication, diminishes the abrasion to which the coins are subjected in circulation, and fits them for being carried in the pocket. Though the circular form was aimed at in ancient coinage, it was not till the Vth or 8th century that a true circle was attained. This is effected by striking the coin in a ring or collar. The exceptions to the circular form are not numerous. We have, however, the square ducat of Nuremberg, the square rupees of the Mogul empire, the parallelograms of Japan, the octagonal pieces of Assam, and the $50 octagons which were formerly struck in California. The thickness of coins is generally proportioned to their diameter, though in this particular there is great variety. The size of corns is also exceedingly variable. In the United States silver coins range from the three-cent piece to the dollar, or from 11 grains to 412 in weight, and from about inch to 1^ inch diameter. Gold coins range from the dollar of 25^- grains to the double eagle of 516 grains. The cent coin (copper and nickel), issued under the act of 1857, is about three fourths of an inch in diameter, and weighs 72 grains, while the bronze cent, under the act of 1864, weighs only 48 grains, but retains the same diameter. The impressions upon coins present an endless variety. In monarchical countries the obverse of the coin usually bears the likeness of the reigning sovereign, and from this circumstance that side of the coin is in common parlance called the head. In republics it is usual to substitute some device emblematic of liberty. This is often a female figure, or head, with a pileus, or Koman liberty cap. The date is also placed upon the obverse in coins of the United States. The reverse of a coin commonly exhibits in the cen tre the national shield, or the denomination of the piece surrounded by a wreath. Running round the coin near the border, there is usually inscribed the name of the country in which it was struck. It is customary also in countries having more than one mint to distinguish the coinage of each by a letter or monogram. The several branches of the mint of the United States, at Charlotte, Dahlonega, New Orleans, and San Francisco, used to employ for this purpose the initials C., D., 0., and S., respectively, coins from the mint at Philadelphia having no mark; but since the civil war no coinage has been executed at Charlotte, Dahlonega, or New Orleans, and the mints at the last two places have been discontinued by the coinage act of 1873, that at Charlotte being retained as an assay office only. In the United States the power to coin money is vested by the constitution in congress, and is prohibited to the separate states; and yet individual citizens are left perfectly free to coin money, provided only that the coins thus made be not in " resemblance or similitude " of the gold or silver coins issued from the mint. In the case of copper coins, however, in addition to the penalties of counterfeiting, the offering or receiving any other copper coin than the cent and half cent is prohibited by fine and forfeiture. Very large amounts of private gold corns have been struck and extensively circulated in different parts of the country. Such were the coins issued by Reid of Georgia, the Bechtlers of North Carolina, the Mormons in Utah, and several private mints in California. The earliest coinage for America is said to have been made in 1612 for the Virginia company, at the Somers islands, now called Bermudas. The coin was of brass, with the legend " Sommer Island," and a "hogge on one side, in memory of the abundance of hogges which were found on their first landing." On the reverse was a ship under sail firing a gun. As early as 1645 the assembly of Virginia, " having maturely weighed and considered how advantageous a quoine current would be to this collony, and the great wants and miseries which do daily happen unto it by the sole dependency upon tobacco," provided by law for the coinage of copper pieces of 2d., 3d., 6d., and $d.; but this law was never carried into effect. The earliest colonial coinage was in Massachusetts, in pursuance of an order of the general court, passed May 27, 1652, which established "a mint howse" at Boston. The order required the coinage of "12 pence, 6 pence, and 3 pence pieces, which shall be for forme flatt, and stamped on the one side with N. E., and on the other side with Xlld., VLZ., and IILZ., according to the value of each peece." These coins were to be of the fineness of "new sterling English money," and every shilling was "to weigh threepenny troy weight, and lesser peeces proportionably." They were soon after in circulation; but owing to the excessive plainness of their finish, they were found to be greatly exposed to "washing and clipping." To remedy this, the general court, on Oct. 19 of the same year, ordered a new die, and required that "henceforth both shillings and smaller peeces shall have a double ring on either side, with this inscription, (Massachusetts), and a tree in the centre, on the one side, and New England and the date of the year on the other side." In 1662 a twopenny piece was added to the series. These coins are now known as the "pine tree shilling," &c. The Massachusetts mint existed about 34 years; but all the coins issued bear only the dates 1652 and 1662, the same dies having probably done service throughout the period. In the reign of William and Mary copper coins were struck in England for New England and Carolina, having on the obverse an elephant, and on the reverse respectively, " God preserve New England, 1694," and " God preserve Carolina and the lords proprietors, 1694." As early as 1662 an act was passed by the provincial assembly of Maryland "for the getting up of a mint within the province." It is probable, however, that the mint was never established; but shillings, sixpences, and fonrpences of silver were made in England under the direction of Lord Baltimore, and sent to the colony, having on the obverse a profile bust of Lord Baltimore, with the legend Cacilius: Dns: Terra: Maria: &c.; reverse, an escutcheon with family arms, value of the piece, and the legend, Crescite: et: Multiplicamini. There were also copper halfpennies with the same obverse, and having on the reverse the legend, Denariem: Terra- Maria, and in the centre two flags on a ducal coronet. New Hampshire legislated for a copper coinage in 1766; but, as in the case of Virginia and Maryland, nothing more was done. In the reign of George I. an attempt was made to introduce into general circulation in the colonies coins made of Bath metal or pinchbeck, having on the obverse the head of that king and the legend, Georgius D. G. Mag. Bri. et Hib. Rex; and on the reverse a large double rose with the legend Rosa Americana, Utile Dulci, 1722 and 1723, in the last the rose being crowned. These coins were made by William Wood, under a royal patent " for coining small money for the English plantations, in pursuance of which he had the conscience to make 13 shillings out of a pound of brass." This "Wood's money," however, was vehemently rejected both here and in Ireland, where strenuous efforts were made to introduce it. From 1778 to 1787 the power of coinage was exercised not only by the confederation in congress, but also by several of the individual states. In Vermont a mint was established by legislative authority in 1785, in the town of Rupert, and copper cents were issued of the following description: Obverse, a sun rising from behind hills, and plough in the foreground, with the legend, Vermontensium Res Publica, 1786; reverse, a radiated eye surrounded by 13 stars, with the legend, Quarta Decima Stella. Some of the cents of 1786 and all those of 1787-'8 have on the obverse a head, with the legend, Auctoritate Vermontensium, and on the reverse a woman, with the legend, Inde. Et Lib. Connecticut followed the example of Vermont, and in the same year, 1785, authorized the establishment of a mint at New Haven, and copper coins were issued, weighing six pennyweights, and having on the obverse a head with the words Avctori. Connec: reverse, a female figure holding an olive branch, with the legend, Inde. Et Lib. 1785. This mint continued in operation three years. New Jersey authorized a copper coinage in 1786. The parties procuring the patent established two mints, one at a place known as Solitude, about two miles west of Morristown, and the other at Elizabeth. The coins are thus described: Obverse, a horse's head with a plough beneath legend, Nova Casarea, 1786, &c.; reverse, a shield legend, EPluribus Unum. Massachusetts, by act of Oct. 17, 1786, directed the establishment of a mint, and the following year the necessary works were erected on Boston neck and at Dedham. In 1788 cents and half cents were issued, exhibiting on the obverse the American eagle with arrows in the right talon and an olive branch in the left, a shield on its breast bearing the word " Cent "legend, " Massachusetts, 1788;" reverse, an Indian holding a bow and arrow legend, "Commonwealth" and a star. As early as January, 1782, a plan for an American coinage was submitted to congress by Eobert Morris, the head of the finance department, the authorship of which is, however, claimed for Gouverneur Morris. In February following congress approved the establishment of a mint, but no further action was taken till 1785, when congress adopted the plan of a national coinage presented by Thomas Jefferson, and in 1786 decided upon the following names and characters of the coins: An eagle, to contain 246 T 2 m g rs - of fi ne g ld, value $10, and half eagle in proportion, both to be stamped with the American eagle; a dollar, to contain 375 T 6 ^ grs. of fine silver; a half dollar, double dime, and dime, in proportion. The copper coins were a cent and half cent. In October, 1786, congress framed an ordinance for the establishment of a mint; but nothing further was done till 1787, when the board of treasury, by authority of congress, contracted with Mr. James Jarvis for 300 tons of copper coin of the federal standard. These cents were coined at the New Haven mint, and are of the following description: On one side, 13 circles linked together, a small circle in the middle with the words " United States " around it, and in the centre the words, " We are one;" on the other side, a sun dial with the sun above it, and Fugio, 1787, on opposite sides, and below the dial, " Mind Your Business." A few of these pieces are said to have been struck in the Vermont mint at Rupert. On April 2, 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 42 years. The denominations of coin and their rates were as follows: Gold, the eagle of $10, to weigh 270 grs., the half eagle and quarter eagle in proportion, all of the fineness of 22 carats, or 91 6# thousandths; silver, the dollar of 100 cents, to weigh 416 grs., the half dollar, quarter dollar, dime of 10 cents, and half dime in proportion, the fineness to be 1,485 parts fine in 1,664, or 892-4 thousandths; copper, the cent of 264 grs., the half cent in proportion. The same act declared the dollar to be the unit of federal money, and directed that all public accounts should be kept in conformity to the decimal system of coins above described. After the act of 1792 the following changes in the currency occurred: Jan. 14, 1793, the cent reduced to 208 grs., and half cent in proportion; Jan. 26, 1796, cent reduced to 168 grs., and half cent in proportion; June 28, 1834, the weight of the eagle reduced to 258 grs., and the parts in proportion, of which 232 grs. were to be fine gold, equal to a fineness of 899 T 2 o 2 A thousandths, being an increase of 6-j^ per cent, on the former value of gold as compared with silver, which remained unchanged. The disadvantages of the complex standards both of gold and silver determined Mr. R. M. Patterson, the director of the mint, to attempt an improvement. He accordingly drew up a well considered code of mint laws, which was enacted by congress, Jan. 18, 1837, by which the French standard of fineness of i^%, for both gold and silver, was adopted. The weight of the gold coins remained unchanged, but the dollar was reduced to 41 2 grs., and the lesser silver coins in proportion. By the act of March 3, 1849, there were added to the series of gold coins the double eagle and the dollar; and by act of Feb. 21, 1853, the three-dollar piece. By act of March 3, 1851, there was added to the silver coins a three-cent piece (a legal tender for sums not exceeding 30 cents), of the fineness of T V$j> and 12| grs. in weight, at which rates it continued to be coined till April 1, 1853, when its fineness was raised to '900, and its weight reduced to -^ of the half dollar, or lly 6 ^ grs. At this date also, in pursuance of the act of Feb. 21, 1853, an important change was effected in the silver coinage. The preexisting laws had made both gold and silver coins (except the three-cent piece) a legal tender for any amount. At the ratio of silver to gold of 16 to 1, silver was undervalued in the United States as compared with Europe, and our silver coins were largely exported. The remedy provided was a seigniorage upon the silver coins, and making gold alone the legal tender. The weight of the half dollar was reduced from 206} grs. to 192 grs., and the smaller coins in proportion. The mint ceased coming silver for individuals, but purchased silver at the market price and made the coins for government account a policy with respect to silver which was adopted in England as early as 1817. The effect of this change was to give to the silver coin of the country a current value sufficiently above its market price as bullion to prevent its exportation, and at the same time to make silver money subsidiary to gold. It is a legal tender now only to the extent of $5. The price at which the mint buys silver is fixed from time to time according to its value in the market, and in 1872 was $1 22 per standard ounce ('900 fine). The silver dollar was not included in this change. It was still a legal tender for all amounts, and its weight continued at 41 2|- grs., while that of two half dollars, or an equivalent sum in smaller coins, was 384 grs. It was therefore intrinsically worth 7-^ per cent, more than a dollar's worth of the other silver coins; but as compared with their current value, only about 4 per cent. more. A further change in the currency was effected by the act of Feb. 21, 1857, by which the copper cent and half cent were discontinued, and a new cent, composed of 88 per cent, of copper and 12 per cent, of nickel, and weighing 72 grs., was substituted; which continued to be coined until the act of April 22, 1864, provided for the coinage of the bronze cent, consisting of 95 per cent, of copper and 5 per cent, of tin and zinc, and weighing 48 grs. The same act authorized, the coinage of two-cent pieces weighing 96 grs.; and by the act of March 3, 1865, a threecent coin, three fourths copper and one fourth nickel, weighing 30 grs., was authorized. The act of May 16, 1866, provided for the coinage of a five-cent piece, three fourths copper and one fourth nickel, weighing 77'16 grs. The one- and two-cent coins were made a legal tender only to the amount of 4 cents, while the three-cent and five-cent pieces were a legal tender for sums not exceeding 60 cents and $1 respectively. The act of Feb. 12, 1873, known as the coinage act of 1873, prepared under the supervision of John Jay Knox, comptroller of the currency, and the passage of which was largely due to his exertions, has consolidated the regulations governing the coinage of the United States. Under this act the fineness of all gold and silver coins is to be -900. The alloy of the silver coins consists of copper; the alloy of the gold coins is copper, or copper and silver, the silver in no case to exceed one tenth of the whole alloy. The gold coins are a onedollar piece, "which, at the standard weight of 25'8 grs., shall be the unit of value;" a quarter eagle, or two-and-a-half-dollar piece, 64*5 grs.; a three-dollar piece, 77 '4 grs.; a half eagle, or five-dollar piece, 129 grs.; an eagle, or ten-dollar piece, 258 grs.; and a double eagle, or twenty-dollar piece, 516 grs. These coins are a legal tender to any amount. The silver coins are a "trade dollar," weighing 420 grs.; a half dollar, or fifty-cent piece, 12^ grams, or 192*9 grs.; a quarter dollar, or twenty-fivecent piece, and a dime, or ten-cent piece, respectively one half and one fifth the weight of the half dollar. These coins are a "legal tender at their nominal value for any amount not exceeding five dollars in any one payment." The trade dollar is intended for the convenience of commerce with China and Japan; while the half dollar, being half the weight of the five-franc silver coin of France, Belgium, and Switzerland, of the five-lire silver coin of Italy, the five-peseta silver coin of Spam, the fivedrachma silver coin of Greece, and having the same weight as the new silver florin of Austria, is a step in the direction of international coinage. The minor coins are a five-cent and a three-cent piece, three fourths copper and one fourth nickel, weighing respectively 77*16 and 30 grs., and a one-cent piece, 95 per cent, copper and 5 per cent, tin and zinc, weighing 48 grs., which are a "legal tender at their nominal value for any amount not exceeding 25 cents in any one payment." The issuing of


Quarter Dollar 25 cents (Silver). Half Dollar-50 cents (Silver). Dime 10 cents (Silver).


Sovereign (Gold). Half Crown (Silver). Sixpence (Silver).


Twenty-Mark Piece (Gold). Ten-Mark Piece (Gold).


Thaler (Silver).


Silbergroschen (Silver). Five-Franc Piece of the Eepublic (Silver). One Franc (Silver).


One Hundred Eeales, Isabella II. (Gold). Dollar (Silver).


Twenty-Copeck Piece (Silver). Ruble, 1849 (Silver).


Fifty Sen (Silver).

coins other than those enumerated in the act is prohibited. It is provided that upon the coins of the United States there shall be the following devices and legends: Upon one side an impression emblematic of liberty, with an inscription of the word "Liberty" and the year of the coinage; and upon the reverse the figure of an eagle, with the inscriptions " United States of America " and " E Pluribus Unum " and a designation of the value of the coin; but on the gold dollar and three-dollar piece, the dime, five-, three-, and one-cent piece, the figure of the eagle shall be omitted; and on the reverse >f the silver trade dollar the weight and the fineness of the coin shall be inscribed; and the motto " In God we trust " may be added when practicable. A new coinage has been struck m Germany, having the mark worth 23'8 cents as the unit, which after 1875 is to be the exisive specie currency of the empire. In the following table of gold and silver coins of different countries, taken from the annual report of the Hon. James Pollock, director of the United States mint, for the year ending June 80, 1872, the gold values are computed according to the value of United States coins ($18 60-4 per oz. standard); the silver values according to the mint price for that year of silver ($1 22 per oz. standard).

GOLD. COUNTRY AND DENOMINATION. Weight in ounces. Fineness, l000ths. Value. AUSTRIA. Ducat ... . 0'112 986 $2 28 '3 Souverain 0-863 900 6 75-4 Four florins 0-104 900 1 93-5 BELGIUM. Twenty-five francs 0-254 899 4 72 BOLIVIA. Doubloon . . . 0-867 870 15 59-3 BRAZIL. Twenty milreis 0-575 917-5 10 90-6 CENTRAL AMERICA. Two escudos 0-209 853 '5 3 68-8 Four reals 0'027 875 48'8 CHILI. Old doubloon 0-867 870 15 59-3 Ten pesos. . . 0-492 900 9 15'

GOLD COINS Continued. COUNTRY AND DENOMINATION. Weight in ounces. Fineness, 1000th. Value. COLOMBIA. Old doubloon, Bogota " " Popayan Ten pesos DENMARK. Ten thalers 0*868 0-867 0*525 0-427 870 858 891-5 895 15 61-1 15 37-8 9 67-5 7 90 ECUADOR. Four escudos. 0-433 844 7 55-5 ENGLAND. Pound or sovereign, new . . . " average Guinea (1793) . . 0-256-7 0-256-2 0-269-6 916-5 916 916-6 486*8 4 85-1 5 12 FRANCE. Twenty francs, new u average.... GERMANY. Ten thalers, Prussian 0-207-5 0-207 0*427 0*256 899 899 908 900 8 85-8 8 84-7 7 97*1 4 76*2 GREKCE. Twenty drachmas 0*185 900 8 44'2 INDIA (BRITISH). Mohur 0*374 916 7 08-2 ITALY. Twenty lire 0-207 898 8 84- 3 JAPAN. Old cobang 0-362 568 4 44 Twenty yens 0-289 1-072 572 900 3 57-6 19 94*4 MEXICO. Doubloon, average 0-867-5 866 15 53 " new.. 0-867-5 870*5 15 61'1 Twenty pesos (Maximilian) " (Republic).. NAPLES. 1-086 1-031 0-245 875 873 996 19 64-3 19 51-5 5 04"4 NETHERLANDS. Ten guilders 0'215 899 3 99-7 PERU. Old doubloon . 0-867 86S 15 55*7 Twenty soles 1-055 898 19 21*8 PORTUGAL. Gold crown. 0-308 912 5 80'7 RUSSIA. Five rubles 0'210 916 8 97" 6 SPAIN. One hundred reals Eighty reals. ; 0-268 0'215 896 869 '5 4 96-4 8 86' 4 Ten escudos SWEDEN. Ducat 0-270*8 0*111 896 875 5 01*5 2 28 -7 Carolin, ten francs. . . . 0*104 900 1 93-5 TUNIS. Twenty-five piastres TURKEY. One hundred piastres 0*161 0-231 900 915 2 99-5 4 36*9 TUSCANY. Sequin . 0*112 999 2 31-3 UNITED STATES. Double eagle Eagle (before 1834) " (since 1834) Half eagle. .. 1*075 0-562-5 0-537*5 0*268 ? 900 9161 900 900 20 00 10 65*8 10 00 5 00 Three dollars 0*16U 900 8 00 Quarter eagle . . . 0-134"! 900 2 50 Dollar....!..., 0-053J 900 1 00 STLVEE. COUNTRY AND DENOMINATION. Weight in ounces. Fineness, lOOOths. Value. AUSTRIA. Old reichsthaler 0-902 883 $1 02-3 Old scudo 0-836 9()2 1 02*6 Florin (before 1858).. . . New florin New union reichsthaler Maria Theresa reichsthaler (1730). 0-451 0*397 0-596 0*895 833 900 900 838 51-1 43-6 78-1 1 02' 1 BELGIUM. Five francs 0*803 897 98 Two francs 0-320 835 36-4 BOLIVIA. New dollar. 0-801 900 98-1 BRAZIL. Double milreis... 0-820 918-5 1 02-5 SILVER COINS Continued. COUNTRY AND DENOMINATION. Weight In ounce*. Finenew, 1000th*. Value. CANADA. Twenty cents 0-150 0-187*5 0*875 0*866 0*864 0-801 0-866 0-087 0-808 0-927 0-182*5 0*178 0-368-6 0-454-5 0-800 0-320 0*160 0-712 0-595 0-840 0-340 0-719 0-874 0-800 0-160 0-279 0-279 0*866-7 0-402 0-867-5 0-866 0*861 0-844 0-804 0-927 0-866 0-766 0-483 0-802 0-400 0*864 0*667 0*800 0*160 1*092 0*820 0*511 0*770 0*859*4 0*400 0*200 0*080 0*040 0*024 0*875 0*401*8 0*200*9 0*080*8 925 925 925 850 908 900*5 901 901 896 877 924-5 925 925 925 900 885 900 750 900 900 900 900 916*5 900 885 991 890 900 800 903 901 902-5 830 944 877 901 909 650 900 912 900 875 900 835 750 835 898*5 830 900 900 900 900 900 900 900 900 900 900 18*9 28-6 47-2 1 00-2 1 06-8 98-2 1 06-2 10-6 93 1 10-T 28 22-4 45 56 98 86-4 18*2 72*7 72*9 41-7 41-7 88*1 46* 98 18-2 87*6 88*8 1 00*8 44-6 1 06-6 1 06*2 1 05*5 95*3 1 03*3 1 10*7 1 06-2 94-8 83*8 98-2 49*6 1 05-8 79-4 98 18*2 1 11*5 86*4 6*2*5 87 1 04*5* 50 25 10 5 3 Twenty-five cents. Fifty cents. . . CENTRAL AMERICA Dollar CHILI. Old dollar New dollar. . . CHINA. Dollar (English). . . . Ten cents ...... COLOMBIA. Dollar of 1857.... DENMARK. Two rigsdalers ENGLAND. Shilling, new " average . Florin (1852) Half crown (1845) .. . FRANCE. Five francs, average Two " Franc (1860) GERMANY, NORTH. Thaler (before 1857). . New thaler GERMANY, SOUTH. Florin (before 1857).... New florin GREECE. Five drachmas INDIA (BRITISH). Rupee ITALY. Five lire Lira JAPAN. Itzebu New itzebu Yen Fifty sens MEXICO. Dollar new .. Dollar, average Peso of Maximilian NAPLES. Scudo NETHERLANDS. Two and a half guilders NORWAY. Specie daler PERU. Old dollar Dollar of 1858 Half dollar (1835 and 1838). Sol PORTUGAL. Five hundred reis .... ROME. Scudo RUSSIA. Ruble SPAIN. Five pesetas (dollar) Peseta (pistareen) SWEDEN. Specie daler SWITZERLAND. TUNIS. TURKEY. UNITED STATES. Half dollar (since 1853). . . . Half dime (Act of 1873.) Dollar Half dollar Quarter dollar. Dime

  • A compared with the half dollar.

208 VOL. V. 3 COINS The following table, compiled from the last report of the director of the mint, exhibits the aggregate United States coinage from the establishment of the mint in 1793 to June 30, 1873:

PERIOD. Gold Coinage. Stiver Coinage. Minor Coinage. Entire Coinage. 1798tolS17 $5,610,957 50 $8,268,295 75 $319,340 28 $14,198,593 58 1818 to 1837 17,839,882 50 40,566,897 15 476,574 30 58,682,858 95 1888 to 1847 49,554,452 50 22,831,719 00 849,676 68 72285848 18 1848 to 1S57 408856176 14 85791.807 63 517222 34 445164706 11 1858 to 1867 408,717,501 97 80,956,287 51 5,752,310 00 440,426099 48 1S63 24,141,235 06 1,592,986 48 1.713,385 00 27 447 606 54 1S69 82,031,126 43 1,575,619 05 1,279055 00 34 885 801 48 1970 29,931,789 78 2,474,653 54 611,445 00 33,017,838 32 1871 84,888,187 12 5,518,501 70 288760 00 40,190598 82 1872 36,198,073 77 18,421,779 87 123020 00 49 887 778 14 1873 55744958 61 9967710 00 494 050 00 66 206 713 61 Total.... $1,097,688,511 22 $172,892,780 28 $11.919.888 55 $1,281,996.180 00

Of the total gold coinage, $280,805,517 85 consisted of bars; the silver bars amounted to $27,770,503 66. The number of gold coins struck was 181,673,669; silver coins, 524,624,186; minor coins, 674,597,467, of which 105,522,000 were five-cent pieces, 26,845,000 three-cent pieces, 45,601,000 two-cent pieces, 488,644,244 one-cent pieces, and 7,985,223 half-cent pieces.—For the process of coinage, see Mint; and for ancient coins, Numismatics.—The subjoined tables exhibit the comparative value of the coins of different countries and ages. The tables of ancient coins are those of Dr. Arbuthnot, whose authority, however, has been called in question. JEWISH COINS.

NAMES AND PROPORTIONS. Vali English money. ein U. S. money. Gerah s.d. OI"/ ieo ll/i 2Sy a 5 14 0% 342 3 9 12 0^ 1 16 6 $ cts. 02-766 27-66 55-32 27 66 1,659 60-9 2 92 8 85 lOBek 20 2 1000 100 600006000 ih Shekel . Maneh, Mina > 50 Hebraica.. ) 8000 60 Talent.... Solidus aureus, or sextula, worth Siclus aureus, worth


NAMES AND PROPORTIONS. Value in English money. U. S. money. Lepton

  • . d . qrs.

003i/ 336 l/ 4a o o iv >4 2V 12 1 We 2 21/3 5 02 /, 073 182 270 323. $ cts. 00-0466 00-826 00-652 01-305 02-61 05-22 010-44 15-66 81-82 62-64 78-31 7 Chalcus 14 2 Dichalcus 28 4 2 Hemiobolum 56 8 4 2 Obolus 112 16. 8 4 o Diobolum 224 82 16 8 12 4 6 2 ~T Tetrobolum 886 48 24 H D rachma 672 96 48 24 12 6 8 2 Didrachma 1844 1680 192 96 48 24 12 6 4 2 Tetradrachma 240 120 60 80 I 15 7* 5 2* 1 1J Pentadrachma

Of these, the drachma, didrachma, &c., were of silver, the rest for the most part of brass. The drachma is here, with most authors, supposed equal to the denarius; though there is reason to believe that the drachma was somewhat heavier.

The Grecian gold coin was the stater au- s. d. $ cts. reus, weighing 2 Attic drachmas, or half of the stater argenteus, and exchanging usu- ally for 25 Attic drachmas of silver 16 1J 8 91-5 But according to our proportion of gold to silver, it was worth.. Th.-r- wore likewise the stater Cyzicenus exchanging for 28 Attic drachmas, or. ... The stater Philippicus and stater Alexan- drinus were of the same value. The stater Daricus, according to Josephus, was worth 50 Attic drachmas 1 12 <U 7 The stater Croesius was of the same value. 109 18 1 508


NAMES AND PROPORTIONS. Value in English money. U. S. money. Term 2 ~T 10 20* 40 icius Sem ~T 5 10 20 8. d. qrs. o o o"/iooo l/ioo 8V, 1 83/ 4 8 3V 3 73 tcts. 00-3915 00-788 01-566 03-91 07-83 15-66 bella Libella ITse 5 2 10 4 As stertius Quinarius, or ) Victcriatus f ... 2 Denarius

The denarius and quinarius were of silver; the other coins were also of brass or copper, the three smaller being generally of the base metals.

The Roman pold coin, or aureus, weighed! s. d. generally double the denarius; its value, | according to the proportion of gold to silver mentioned by Pliny, was [1 4 8f According to the proportion that now obtains among us According to the decuple proportion mentioned by Livy and Julius Pollux According to the proportion mentioned by Tin-it us, by which the aureus exchanged for 26 denarii, its value was 109 1211 16 $ cts. 5 89-6 508 8 18-2 891-5

An English writer says of these tables of ancient coins that they " are constructed on the hypothesis that the consular denarii weighed by Greaves were of the same purity as English standard silver, and that no subsequent diminution was made either in their weight or fineness. The conclusion derived from such data, though differing in degree, are of the same character as those which we should arrive at if, in estimating the value of the pound sterling during the last 100 years, we took for granted that it contained a pound weight of standard silver, as in the period frpm the conquest to the reign of Edward I."