The Bland–Allison Act referred to as the Grand Bland Plan of 1878, was an act of United States Congress requiring the U. S. Treasury to put it into circulation as silver dollars. Though the bill was vetoed by President Rutherford B. Hayes, the Congress overrode Hayes's veto on February 1878 to enact the law; the five-year depression following the Panic of 1873 caused cheap-money advocates, to join with silver-producing interests in urging a return to bimetallism, the use of both silver and gold as a standard. Coupled with Senator William B. Allison of Iowa, they agreed to a proposal that allowed silver to be purchased at market rates, metals to be minted into silver dollars, required the US Treasury to purchase between $2 million to $4 million silver each month from western mines. President Rutherford B. Hayes, who held interests in industrials and banking, vetoed the measure, overturned by Congress; as a result, the Hayes administration purchased the limited amount of silver each month. This act helped restore bimetallism with silver both supporting the currency.
However, gold remained favored over silver, paving way for the gold standard. The free-silver movement of the late 19th century advocated the unlimited coinage of silver, which would have resulted in inflationary monetary policy. In 1873, Congress had removed the usage of silver dollar from the list of authorized coins under the Coinage Act of 1873. Although the Bland–Allison Act of 1878 directed the Treasury to purchase silver from the "best-western" miners, President Grover Cleveland repealed the act in 1893. Advocates of free silver included owners of silver mines in the West, farmers who believed an inclusion of silver would increase crop prices, debtors who believed would alleviate their debts. Although the free silver movement ended, the debate of inflation and monetary policy continues to this day; the Fourth Coinage Act acknowledged the gold standard over silver. Those who advocated for silver labeled this act as the Crime of'73; as a result of demonetized silver, gold became the only metallic standard in the United States and became the default standard.
The price of gold was more stable than that of silver due to silver discoveries in Nevada and other places in the West, the price of silver to gold declined from 16-to-1 in 1873 to nearly 30-to-1 by 1893. The term limping bimetallism describes this problem; the U. S. government ceded to pressure from the western mining states and the Bland–Allison Act went into effect in 1878, replaced by the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890. The law was replaced in 1890 by the similar Sherman Silver Purchase Act, which in turn was repealed by Congress in 1893; these were two instances where the United States attempted to establish bimetallic standards in the long run. Western miners and debtors regarded the Bland–Allison Act as an insufficient measure to enforce unlimited coinage of silver, but opponents repealed the act and advocated for the gold standard; the effect of the Bland–Allison act was blunted by the minimal purchase of silver required by the Hayes administration. Although the act was a near turning point for bimetallism, gold continued to be favored over the bimetallism standard.
Throughout 1860 to 1871, several attempts were made by the Treasury to establish the bimetallic standard by having gold and silver franc. However, the discovery of silver led to an influx of supply; the eventual removal of the bimetallic standard, including the Bland–Allison Act and the acceptance of the gold standard formed the monetary stability in the late 19th century. The limitation placed on the supply of new notes and the Treasury control over the issue of new notes allowed for economic stability. Prior to the acceptance, the devaluation of silver forced local governments into a financial turmoil. In addition, there was a need for money supply to increase as the credit system expanded and large banks established themselves across states. Specie Payment Resumption Act Cynthia Northrup, ed; the American economy: a historical encyclopedia p. 28
The Morgan dollar was a United States dollar coin minted from 1878 to 1904, again in 1921. It was the first standard silver dollar minted since production of the previous design, the Seated Liberty dollar, ceased due to the passage of the Coinage Act of 1873, which ended the free coining of silver; the coin is named after United States Mint Assistant Engraver George T. Morgan; the obverse depicts a profile portrait representing Liberty, while the reverse depicts an eagle with wings outstretched. The mint mark, if any, appears on the reverse above the "o" in "Dollar"; the dollar was authorized by the Bland–Allison Act. Following the passage of the 1873 act, mining interests lobbied to restore free silver, which would require the Mint to accept all silver presented to it and return it, struck into coin. Instead, the Bland–Allison Act was passed, which required the Treasury to purchase between two and four million dollars' worth of silver at market value to be coined into dollars each month. In 1890, the Bland–Allison Act was repealed by the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, which required the Treasury to purchase 4,500,000 troy ounces of silver each month, but only required further silver dollar production for one year.
This act, once again, was repealed in 1893. In 1898, Congress approved a bill that required all remaining bullion purchased under the Sherman Silver Purchase Act to be coined into silver dollars; when those silver reserves were depleted in 1904, the Mint ceased to strike the Morgan dollar. The Pittman Act, passed in 1918, authorized the recoining of millions of silver dollars. Pursuant to the act, Morgan dollars resumed mintage for one year in 1921; the design was replaced by the Peace dollar the same year. In the early 1960s, a large quantity of uncirculated Morgan dollars in their original bags were discovered in the Treasury vaults, including issues once thought rare. Individuals began purchasing large quantities of the pieces at face value and removed them from circulation through hoarding, the Treasury ceased exchanging silver certificates for silver coin. Beginning in the 1970s, the Treasury conducted a sale of silver dollars minted at the Carson City Mint through the General Services Administration.
In 2006, Morgan's reverse design was used on a silver dollar issued to commemorate the old San Francisco Mint building. In 1873, Congress enacted the Fourth Coinage Act, which ended the bimetallic standard in the United States by demonetizing silver bullion. Prior to enactment of the Coinage Act, silver could be brought to the mints and coined into legal tender for a small fee. With such a system in place, bullion producers could have silver coined into dollars when the intrinsic value of a silver dollar was lower than the face value, thus making a profit, flooding the money supply and causing inflation; the act ended production of the standard silver dollar and provided for mintage of a silver trade dollar, intended to compete with Mexican dollars for use in the Orient. Under the act, bullion producers were allowed to bring bullion to the mints in order to be cast into bars or coined into the newly authorized trade dollars for a small fee. Trade dollars held legal tender status, but it was revoked in 1876 to prevent bullion producers from making a profit by coining silver into trade dollars when the value of the metal was low.
The restrictions on free coinage laid out in the Coinage Act met little resistance from mining interests until the price of silver declined due to increased mining in the Western United States. Protests came from bankers and farmers, who felt an increased money supply would have a positive impact. Groups were formed that demanded the free coinage of silver in order to inflate the dollar following the Panic of 1873. Beginning in 1876, several bills were introduced in the House of Representatives in an effort to resume the free coinage of silver. One such bill introduced into the House by Democratic Representative Richard P. Bland of Missouri was passed in the fall of 1876. Republican senator William B. Allison of Iowa added important amendments to the bill in the Senate; the House bill allowed Free Silver. This same amendment allowed for the issuance of silver certificates for the first time in United States history; the bill was vetoed by President Rutherford B. Hayes; the president's veto was overridden on February 28, 1878.
What came to be known as the Bland–Allison Act required that the Treasury purchase between two and four million dollars' worth of silver per month, to be coined into silver dollars at the former gold/silver value ratio of 16:1, meaning that one ounce of gold would be valued the same as sixteen ounces of silver. In 1876, Director of the Mint Henry Linderman began efforts to redesign the nation's silver coins. Linderman contacted C. W. Fremantle, Deputy Master of the Royal Mint in London, requesting him to "find a first class die-sinker who would be willing to take the position of Assistant Engraver at the Mint at Philadelphia." In response to Linderman's request, Fremantle wrote "My inquiries as to an Assistant Engraver lead me strongly to recommend for the post Mr. George Morgan, age 30, who has made himself a considerable name, but for whom there is not much opening at present in this country." An agreement was reached between Linderman and Morgan for the engraver to work at the Philadelphia Mint under Chief Engraver William Barber on a six-month trial basis.
Morgan arrived in Philadelphia on October 9, 1876. His earliest pattern coins designed during his tenure at the Philadelphia Mint were intended for the half dollar. In 1876, Morgan enrolled as a
Carson City Mint
The Carson City Mint was a branch of the United States Mint in Carson City, Nevada. It minted silver coins; the mint minted coins in 21 different years. The Carson City Mint was created in 1863 but was not put into operation until 1870, it ran until 1885, went on a hiatus, resumed operations in 1889, after which it ran until 1893, when it closed permanently. It is now Carson City. Built at the peak of the silver boom conveniently near a local silver mine, 50 issues of silver coins and 57 issues of gold coins minted here between 1870 and 1893 bore the "CC" mint mark; the mint was established in Carson City to facilitate minting of silver coins from silver in the Comstock Lode, much as the San Francisco Mint was established to facilitate minting gold coins from the gold of the California gold rush. From 1895 to 1933, the building served as the U. S. Assay Office for gold and silver; the federal government sold the building to the state of Nevada in 1939. Coins struck here Morgan dollars, are rare and command a high premium among collectors.
The building that housed the mint was the first designed by Alfred B. Mullett after he became Supervising Architect of the Department of the Treasury; the construction supervisor was Abraham Curry known as the "Father of Carson City." The simple Renaissance Revival-style stone facade has pairs of round-headed windows and a center portico. It is now the home of the Nevada State Museum. Although the mint has not struck United States coins since 1893, Coin Press No. 1 is still in the building and used to strike commemorative medallions with the "CC" mint mark. The most recent of these are medallions commemorating the 75th anniversary of the museum. Seated Liberty dime Twenty-cent piece Seated Liberty quarter Seated Liberty half dollar Seated Liberty dollar Trade dollar Morgan dollar Note: A Seated Liberty dollar was the first coin to be struck at Carson City. Half eagle or $5.00 gold Eagle or $10.00 gold Double eagle or $20.00 gold Historical United States mints The Dalles Mint Nevada State Museum, Carson City U.
S. Mint Carson City Mint National Archives and Records Administration Historic American Buildings Survey No. NV-13-22, "United States Mint, Carson Street, Carson City, Carson City, NV", 14 photos, 13 data pages
Coinage Act of 1857
The Coinage Act of 1857 was an act of the United States Congress which ended the status of foreign coins as legal tender, repealing all acts "authorizing the currency of foreign gold or silver coins". Specific coins would be re-coined; the act is divided into seven sections. Before the Act, foreign coins, such as the Spanish dollar, were used and allowed as legal tender by the Act of April 10, 1806; the Coinage Act of 1857 discontinued the half cent. Furthermore, the penny was reduced in size; the large cent was discontinued and regular coinage of the Flying Eagle cent began. In the newly created union after the Revolutionary War and up until 1792 and the establishment of the US mint, the sole medium of exchange in terms of specie was foreign coin. Alexander Hamilton had proposed that foreign coin circulate for a period of three years until the new mint in Philadelphia was running at full capacity in order to have a smooth transition; this clause was renewed several times after being first spelled out on April 10, 1806.
By 1830, about 25% of all circulating coins were milled of Spanish origin. President Andrew Jackson supported foreign coin as legal tender in his famous war with the Bank of the US in the Gold Bill; this new development ended up making it difficult for the US to retain its overvalued worn Spanish silver in the 1840s. By the late 1840s and early 1850s, the US mint had been able to match demand for foreign coin; the Coinage Act of 1857 repealed prior legal tender laws concerning foreign specie. It fixed the weight and measure of US one-cent pieces at 4.655 grams, composed of 88% copper and 12% nickel. It mandated that this new copper/nickel alloy be received as payment for the worn gold and silver coins turned in at the mint; the effective aim was to limit the domestic money supply by crushing European competition. This was the first major step towards the government having a monopoly over the money supply; the act drastically altered American business. For decades, those who had accepted any form of payment as long as it was made of specie began to only tolerate those newly minted with a fresh seal from the US government.
Due to insatiable demand early on for the new federal cents and the profits to be made by collecting the foreign silver, many individuals, along with banks, competed with each other. The newly minted American silver made much of the foreign silver obsolete in the eyes of some. There was the ever-present issue of the non-decimal system used in foreign coin, making prices subject to fractions of a cent and therefore payments were inconvenient. Still, circulation of foreign coins lasted for decades longer in the rural interior. Coinage Act of 1792 Coinage Act of 1834 Coinage Act of 1849 Coinage Act of 1853 Coinage Act of 1864 Coinage Act of 1873 Coinage Act of 1965 Martin, David A. "The Changing Role of Foreign Money in the United States, 1782–1857", Journal of Economic History, 37: 1009–1027, doi:10.1017/s002205070009478x, JSTOR 2119352. Full text of act at the American Memory
Treasury Note (1890–91)
The Treasury Note was a type of representative money issued by the United States government from 1890 until 1893 under authority of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 and $1000. It was issued in two series: an 1890 series with $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $100 and $1000 denominations, an 1891 series that added the $50 denomination. A $500 note was never issued. A distinguishing feature of the Series 1890 notes is the ornate designs on the reverse side of the notes; the intent of this was to make counterfeiting much more difficult, but opponents of the design argued that the extensive detail would make it more difficult to distinguish between genuine and counterfeit notes. The reverse designs were simplified on the Series 1891 Treasury Notes issued the following year; the Treasury Note was issued by the government to individuals selling silver bullion to the Treasury. Unlike other redemption notes like silver and gold certificates, Treasury Notes stipulated only that they were redeemable in coin.
This allowed the Treasury to fulfill the note's obligation in silver coin, gold coin, or both, at its discretion when the note was redeemed. This flexibility allowed the Treasury some control over releasing gold or silver when the relative value of the two metals fluctuated; the origin of the term "Coin Note" to describe the note is unclear – it may refer either to the coin it could be exchanged for, or derive from the fact that it was issued to pay for silver that would be turned into coins. Treasury Notes are large-size banknotes; the portrait of General George Meade on the $1000 Note was engraved by renowned artist and line engraver Charles Burt. The 100 Greatest American Currency Notes, a 2006 book by Q. David Bowers and David Sundman, put the $1,000 Treasury Note, nicknamed the "Grand Watermelon", at the top of its list. Of the seven "Grand Watermelon" notes known to exist today, only three are available to collectors: two of the Large Brown Treasury Seal variety, pictured above. On January 10, 2014, at the annual Florida United Numismatist convention, in Orlando, Heritage Auctions sold a Series 1890 $1,000 Treasury Note for $3,290,000, setting a new world record price for paper currency.
The same note had set a record in December 2006. The note was auctioned in 1944 for $1,230 and in 1970 for $11,000; the other variety of $1,000 Treasury Notes, Series 1891 "Open Backs", represented by just two notes, has been involved in the recent string of record-breaking sales. While one of these two notes is owned by the Smithsonian Institution, the only Series 1891 $1,000 note available to collectors had set the world record in March 2006, it again set the record in April 2013, when it was sold at public auction by Heritage Auctions for $2,585,000 at the Central States Numismatic convention, in Chicago, Illinois. The Treasury Notes pictured below are from the 1891 series. Images are from the National Numismatic Collection at the National Museum of American History