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1871 dollars may contain fire-related metal


Is there some kind of story that some 1871 silver dollars were minted from metal recovered from a fire?

I can only find sketchy details, but reputedly the coins were struck from metal from “melted horns from the Diligent Fire Engine Co. # 10 of Philadelphia.” The story traces to the Chapmans, who were old-time coin dealers.


Wasn’t there some question about the 1893-CC dollars struck at Carson City?

No satisfactory explanation was ever given for 80,000 of the coins that turned up in the vaults of the Nevada State Treasury, despite a statement from the U.S. Treasury that none existed outside the Treasury vaults. Evidence showed that a number were poorly struck, evidently in haste to avoid their illicit manufacture being discovered.


With all the melts, just how many silver dollars are still in circulation?

While technically in circulation, just about all silver dollars are now in the hands of hoarders, dealers or collectors. The last figure I can find indicates that the Treasury considered that about 480 million of the 90 percent silver dollars were still out there somewhere. Obviously at least a small percentage of that figure has to fall in the “lost, strayed or stolen” or melted class, so a good guess might be that about 350 million are still in existence.


When will your price charts start reflecting the tremendous melts of silver coins in 1980?

The charts follow the market, and so far the market has shown no indication or inclination to scale prices significantly upward because of the 1980 melt, or the many previous major melts of history. Relative rarity of the various issues remains much the same, and prices continue to reflect this, because demand has not yet exceeded the supply of coins that escaped the melting pot. This continues to be true with today’s high bullion prices.


Where does the Mint print our money?

The U.S. Mint makes only coins. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing prints bank notes in Washington, D.C., and at the new branch plant in Fort Worth, Texas. The Bureau is a separate division of the Treasury with no connection to the Mint.

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