Article: The Morgan melt down: Pittman Act 1918

Discussion in 'vBCms Comments' started by Vess1, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. Vess1

    Vess1 ANA# R3152287

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  3. RaceBannon

    RaceBannon Member Supporter

    I think one way people try to the estimate the number of remaining Morgan Dollar specimens for a given Date/MM is through the population reports for submissions for that given date/mm to PCGS and NGC.

    However, I think even this is flawed, because it does not account for crackouts that have been re-submitted. Nor can this method account for all the coins that have not yet been submitted.

    Somehow, I'm sure they use a formula that extrapolates the numbers based on coins that have been submitted, but it's certainly an inexact estimation method.
  4. Texas John

    Texas John Collector of oddments

    In 1918, most of the world was still on the gold standard, at least nominally. An exception was the British Raj, which was on the silver standard. When America joined World War I, it took a number of actions to help its new allies. One of these was the Pittman Act, which called for the Treasury to melt silver dollars and deliver the bullion to the British in India, where it was coined into silver rupees. The Pittman Act called for the melted silver dollars to be replaced after the war, hence the large mintages of these coins in 1921, 22 and 23.

    As circulating coins, silver dollars were never popular outside of the American west; those issued between 1878 and 1904 were the unloved result of a political deal between hard and soft money advocates, with the main beneficiaries being Western mining interests. The government dealt with the lack of demand by virtually circulating the coins via the issue of silver certificates backed specifically by silver dollars, while the actual coins piled up in the sub-basement vaults of the Treasury building in DC.

    Various factors determined which coins wound up there, and which ones got melted in 1918. Coins issued in San Francisco had a more enthusiastic native clientele than those issued in Philadelphia, while the area around Carson City had a relatively small population, so most of the CC issues got shipped straight to the Treasury. When the order to melt silver dollars came through, the Treasury workers grabbed the bags that were easiest to access, and some of the older issues tended to be way in the back, so to speak. This probably accounts for the relative scarcity of 1890's Morgans compared to some earlier issues with similar mintages.

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