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Carson City expensive operation in 1890s

Which of the mints operating in the 1890s was the most expensive to operate?

If you are referring to the cost per coin struck, then Carson City was the leader with a cost of 5.6 cents per coin for the gold and silver coins struck there in 1891. Philadelphia was the cheapest with a figure of 1.75 cents per coin. When the minor coinage is included, the figure drops to slightly over half a cent per coin.

In all the stories about the quantities of silver dollars melted for shipment to India in 1918, nothing is said about how all that valuable metal was transported. Any information?

The silver was melted into $1,000 bars weighing about 62 pounds. Five thousand to 10,000 of these bars at a time were loaded into special trains consisting of five express cars and guarded by armed men for the trip from Philadelphia to San Francisco. A total of 18 of the special trains were involved in the transfer. The bars were loaded onto ships at San Francisco for the trip to India.

How does the melt during the high priced silver era (1980) compare with the available stock of silver coins?

One apt comparison noted that around 16 million ounces of silver was recovered from melted coins in the first three quarters of 1980. In 1965, the last year of silver usage in 90 percent silver coins, the Mint converted 320 million ounces into coins. The 1980 melt then was roughly 5 percent of a single year’s production.

Were there other important melts besides the big one when the Trade dollars were recalled?

Millions were melted in Asia for their silver content. Among the specific recorded melts, the Indian Mint at Calcutta melted 200,000 in 1874 and the Osaka Mint in Japan melted 530,000 in 1876. The U.S. Mint redeemed 7.7 million and melted them down to strike Morgan dollars and small change.


How many of our copper alloy cents are being hoarded?

All you need to do is add up the number of cents struck since 1864, take two-thirds of that number, and you’ll have a rough count of those in the hands of collectors, hoarders and just plain accumulators. For starters, the U.S. mints struck more than 120 billion in the two decades ending in 1980.


Address questions to Coin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 42-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to Answerman2@aol.com.

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