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There are two leading disturbing elements in this manner of getting at the production of a single year; one is the quantity of imported gold turned into refined bars and deposited at mint, and there received as domestic gold. In the year 1870, $1,274,458 Japanese gold was so turned in, but has been deducted in the table. The other element is the irregularity of the export of bars. If all the bars produced in one year were exported, and only those, each year's return would give each year's product. This, however, is not the case; as thus, in 1866, there commenced at the New York assay office an operation of lending public money to certain parties on unparted bars, which caused the retention of those bars in the assay office, and their omission in the report for coinage. The exports of gold bars for the year were, therefore, by so much less, thus making the production appear less. That operation was continued until the spring of 1870, when Mr. Boutwell broke it up, and the bars were exported, thus apparently swelling the production of 1870. It is also the case that bullion remains in the hands of the bullion dealers at the end of the fiscal year, to be exported in the next. But the average of five years covers all those disturbing causes, and gives a production of $39,489,323 71 of gold, and of $52,901,134 57 gold and silver; and there has been a gradual annual decline in it. It will be observed that the year 1867, that in which the apparent production was lessened by the retention of bars in the New York assay officer the amount is given at $41,013,997 gold. In the report of Mr. Browne, mining commis, sioner for that year, we find (page 260) the return of the Internal Revenue Commissionefor that calendar year, giving the gold product in coin value, paid tax, at $45,161,050. The difference of about $4,000,000 is that of bars retained at the New York assay office. The total in the table of gold and silver is $57,523,318 08; that in the revenue return is $58,175,047—a difference of $651,729. The Secretary of the Treasury estimated for that year in his report (page 3) the production at $75,000,000-a difference of $16,824,953. The mode we have adopted, it will be seen, covers all the gold product that comes practically into the service of the public, and the results may be safely taken as the actual product of the precious metals.
I shall have occasion presently to consider the argument involved in these remarks; but I wish first to call attention to the table of deposits of gold and silver, which differs greatly, especially in the item of silver, from the one I have just given. The writer in the Alta seems wholly unconscious of any inaccuracy, and declares the figures in question to be the net amounts of gold and silver deposited at the Mint and turned into coin. In reality, they do not appear in the Director's reports, but are obtained by deducting the total deposits of United States coin, jewelers' bars, foreign coin, and foreign bullion from the total coinage (excluding bars) of the Mint and branches. This is assuming that all the deposits under the four above-mentioned heads are turned into coin, or, in other words, that all the fine bars produced at the mints and assay offices are from domestic bullion only. This assumption is, a priori, unreasonable; and I have, by inspection of the official (unpublished) records of the Mint, proved it to be false in fact. The deposits at the New York assay office, for instance, are entered in a descriptive list, and opposite to each of them is a memorandum of the manner of payment, whether in bars, gold, or silver coin. Unfortunately this distinction is carried no further; and the consolidated returns contain, therefore, the domestic and other deposits in separate aggregates, and the coinage and bars in separate aggregates; but there is no way of determining how much of each class of deposits is turned into coin and how much into fine bars, except by laboriously examining in detail the history of each separate deposit. This I have done only far enough to be satisfied that the device of deducting the total jewelers, and foreign deposits, etc., from the total coinage, to obtain the domestic bullion coined, is wholly untrustworthy. The method I have followed in the first table given is, in my opinion, superior in accuracy; but no possible manipulation of the Director's reports can give correct results on these points, so long as those reports continue to be constructed as at present.
But these tables are inconvenient for purposes of comparison, because they refer to the fiscal instead of the calendar year. I have received, however, from the different mints and assay offices figures
relating to calendar years, which I will give here, both for their present application, and because I know from personal experience that this recasting of the ordinary inconvenient term will be welcome to many statisticians. Fortunately, a system of quarterly reports has now been introduced, so that in future the mint tables can be much more readily analyzed.
For the following reports I am indebted to Hon. James Pollock, Director of the Mint at Philadelphia; Mr. Henry F. Rice, superintendent of the branch mint at Carson City; Mr. Jacob F. L. Schirmer, assayer of the branch mint at Denver; Mr. Calvin J. Cowles, assayer of the branch mint at Charlotte; and Messrs. Edelmann, Conant, and Floyd, of the New York assay office. Inquiries addressed to the superintendent of the San Francisco branch mint were not answered, and I have taken the figures referring to that institution from the Commercial Herald and Alta California, of San Francisco:
SAN FRANCISCO BRANCH MINT.
The coinage at the branch mint in this city for the year 1870 compares with that in 1867, 1868, and 1869, as follows:
The amount of coin turned out by the branch mint in this city during the year 1870 has never been exceeded but twice, viz: in 1855 and 1856. In the former of those years the coinage amounted to $21,121,752, and in 1856 to $28,516,147. The coinage for 1870 is $5,991,450 in excess of that for 1869. When the new building, now in process of erection, shall have been finished, greatly enlarged and needed facilities will be available, and the work can be prosecuted with far more dispatch, regularity, and less waste. The entire coinage of the branch mint since its organization, in 1854, has been $291,877,163.
The deposits at the branch mint since 1866 are given by a San Francisco paper as follows:
According to another, slightly different account, the deposits of 1870 amounted to $20,473,711 90, of which $7,644,594 48 was received as 'native bullion at the mint, and $12,829,117 42 was deposited first at the San Francisco Assaying and Refining Works, and afterward sent to the mint as fine bars. Up to the close of July the mint refined its own gold deposits; since that time it has sent (up to January 1, 1871) to the private refinery alluded to, $3,614,443 21, and received it again, with $5,431,944 55 of fine bars besides, from that establishment.
In calculating domestic deposits for the year 1870, a deduction is to be made (on the authority of the Alta California) of $1,274,458 Japanese gold, refined at the works alluded to, and included in the mint returns erroneously as domestic gold.
Tabular statement of gold and silver bullion deposited and parted at the United States branch mint, Carson City, Nevada, during the calendar year 1870.
Statement showing number of pieces coined of each denomination at the United States branch mint, Carson City, Nevada, during the calendar year 1870.
Statement showing number of pieces coined, of each denomination, at the United States branch mint, Carson City, Nevada, during the calendar year 1870.