The current price of silver in the US Dollar is 17.95 which is up 0.06. Have a great day!
Susan B. Anthony dollar
Troy weight is a system of units of mass customarily used for precious metals and gemstones. There are 12 troy ounces per troy pound, rather than the 16 ounces per pound found in the more common avoirdupois system. The troy ounce is 480 grains, compared with the avoirdupois ounce, which is 437½ grains. Both systems use the same grain defined by the international yard and pound agreement of 1959 as exactly 0.06479891 gram. Although troy ounces are still used to weigh gold, silver, and gemstones, troy weight is no longer used in most other applications.
Troy weight probably takes its name from the French market town of Troyes in France where English merchants traded at least as early as the early 9th century. The name "troy" is first attested in 1390, describing the weight of a platter, in an account of the travels in Europe of the Earl of Derby.
Charles Moore Watson (1844–1916) proposes an alternate etymology: The Assize of Weights and Measures (also known as Tractatus de Ponderibus et Mensuris), one of the statutes of uncertain date from the reign of either Henry III or Edward I, thus before 1307, specifies "troni ponderacionem"—which the Public Record Commissioners translates as "troy weight". The word "troni" refers to markets. Watson finds the dialect word "troi", meaning a balance in Wright's Dialect Dictionary. Troy weight referred to the tower system, the earliest reference to the modern troy weights is in 1414.
Prior to the adoption of the metric system, many systems of troy weights were in use in various parts of Europe, among them Holland troy, Paris troy, etc. Their values varied from one another by up to several percentage points.
The only system of troy weights in widespread use today is the British Imperial, more commonly known as Imperial, and its American counterpart. Both the British Imperial and American troy weights are currently based on a grain of 0.06479891 gram (exact, by definition), with 480 grains to a troy ounce (compared with 437½ grains for an ounce avoirdupois). However, the British Empire abolished the 12-ounce troy pound in the 19th century, while it has been retained (although rarely used) in the American system.
In the USA, troy weights are part of the United States customary units.
The British Imperial system of weights and measures (also known as Imperial units) was established in 1824, prior to which the troy weight system was a subset of pre-Imperial English units.
Troy weights were first used in England in the 1400s, and were made official for gold and silver in 1527.
The origin of the troy weight system is unknown. Though the name probably comes from the Champagne fairs at Troyes, in northeastern France, the units themselves are probably of more northern origin. English troy weights were apparently derived from the nearly identical troy weight system of Bremen. (The Bremen troy ounce had a mass of 480.8 British Imperial grains.)
An alternate suggestion is that the weights come from the Muslim domains by way of the Gold Dirhem (47.966 British Imperial grains), in the manner that King Offa's weights were derived from the silver Dirhem (about 45.0 British grains).
According to Watson, troy is not linked to the town in France, but a dialect word troi (balance). Then troy weight is a style of weighing, like auncel or bismar weights, or other kindred methods. The troy Weight then refers to weighing as if of small precious or potent goods, such as bullion and medicines.
The troy pound (troy) is 5,760 grains (≈ 373.24 g, 12 oz t), while an avoirdupois pound is ≈21.53% heavier at 7,000 grains (≈ 453.59 g).
One troy ounce (oz t) is equal to 31.1034768 grams. Also equal to 1.09714286 avoirdupois ounces, exactly 192/175, or about 10% larger.
The pennyweight symbol is dwt. There are 24 grains in 1 dwt, and 20 dwt in one troy ounce. Because there were 12 troy ounces in the old troy pound, there would have been 240 pennyweights to the pound—the basis of the fact that the old British pound (currency) contained 240 pence. (However, prior to 1526, English pound sterling was based on the tower pound, which is of a troy pound.) The d in dwt stands for denarius, the ancient Roman coin, referred to in the New Testament, that equates loosely to a penny. The symbol d for penny can be recognized in the old-style notation for British pennies, in which a quantity of money expressed in pounds, shillings, and pence was indicated using the symbols £, s, and d, respectively. For example, £6.11s.8d indicated six pounds, eleven shillings, and eight pence.
Mint weights, also known as moneyers' weights were legalised by Act of Parliament dated 17 July 1649 entitled An Act touching the monies and coins of England. A grain is 20 mites, a mite is 24 droits, a droit is 20 perits, a perit is 24 blanks.
In Scotland, the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh used a system in multiples of sixteen. (See Assay-Master's Accounts, 1681–1702, on loan from the Incorporation to the National Archives of Scotland.) Thus, there were 16 drops to the troy ounce, 16 ounces to the troy pound, and 16 pounds to the troy stone. The Scots had several other ways of measuring precious metals and gems, but this was the common usage for gold and silver.
The Pound was 7716 BI grains, but after the union, rounded to 7680 BI grains. This divides to 16 ounces, each of 16 drops, each of 30 grains. The rounding makes the ounce and grain equal to the English standard.
The Dutch troy system is based on a Mark, of 8 Ounces, the ounce of 20 Engels (pennyweight), the Engel of 32 As. The mark was rated as 3798 Grains, English troy, or 246.084 metric grams. The divisions are identical to the tower system.
The troy system was used in the apothecaries' system, but with different further subdivisions.
King Offa's currency reform replaced the sceat with the silver penny. This coin was derived from half of a silver dirhem. The weights were then derived by a count of coins, by a mix of Charlemagne and Roman systems. A shilling was set to twelve pence, an ounce to twenty pence, and a pound to twelve ounces or twenty shillings. The penny was quite a lot of money, so weight by coins was not a general practice.
Later kings debased the coin, both in weight and fineness. The original pound divided was the tower pound of 5400 grains, but a later pound of 5760 grains displaced it. Where once 240 pence made a tower pound (and 256 make a troy pound), by the time of the United Kingdom Weights and Measures Act of 1824, a troy pound gives 792 silver pence, still minted as such as Maundy Money.
Sterling originally referred to the Norman silver penny of the late 11th century. The coin was minted to a fineness of 11 oz, 2 dwt (in the pound), or .925 Millesimal fineness.
The Susan B. Anthony dollar is a United States coin minted from 1979 to 1981, and again in 1999. It depicts women's suffrage campaigner Susan B. Anthony on a dollar coin. It was the first circulating U.S. coin with the portrait of an actual woman rather than an allegorical female figure such as 'Liberty'. The reverse depicts an eagle flying above the moon (with the Earth in the background), a design adapted from the Apollo 11 mission insignia that was also present on the previously issued Eisenhower Dollar. It was one of the most unpopular coins in American history.
Although it is round, the Susan B. Anthony dollar is intended to convey an 11-sided appearance, from the 11-sided rim bordering the edge of both sides. The reverse commemorates the Apollo 11 moon landing with an image of the mission insignia, a design recycled from the earlier Eisenhower Dollar. The 11 sided shape matches the Apollo 11 Goodwill Messages that enclosed a silicon wafer left on the moon. The original design called for the coin itself to be a hendecagon (or, perhaps more accurately, an 11-sided curve of constant width), but vending machine manufacturers protested this plan, claiming that available vending machine technology would require extensive (and expensive) retooling to accommodate the irregular-shaped coin originally proposed.
Because of their similar size and color, it was found to be easy to mistake the coin for a quarter. The originally-planned hendecagon-shaped edge, which would have distinguished it from the quarter, had been abandoned and replaced with a depiction of an hendecagon and the same reeded edge as the quarter, thus compounding the confusion. The Anthony dollar was disparagingly referred to as the "Carter quarter", "Suzie Bucks" or the "Anthony quarter." 888,842,452 Anthony dollars were produced for circulation. (Additional dollars were produced as numismatic items.)
The coin was released July 2, 1979. A $1 postage stamp, Scott #1612, was released nationwide on the same day, allowing philatelic/numismatic first day souvenirs to be produced.
While a large quantity were produced in 1979, they failed to circulate well (despite the slogan "Carry three for Susan B.") and a minimal number were produced in 1980. Public reaction to the coin was primarily negative, with complaints that the coin, smaller than previous dollar coins (which were also unpopular), was too easily confused with the Washington quarter. Its unpopularity was compared to the greatly disliked 20¢ piece from 1875, which was also easily confused with the quarter.
In 1981 none were produced for circulation, but instead were produced for numismatic sets marketed by the Mint. Many of those mint sets have been broken up, and it is not unusual to find 1981-dated Anthony dollars in circulation. At the end of production, the Treasury was left with hundreds of millions of the coins in its vaults.
In the 1980s and into the 1990s, vending machines (especially transit and postal machines) began to take higher denomination notes, when previously they had been effectively limited to dollar notes. While change could be given in quarters and smaller coins, more and more such machines began to give change in dollar coins. This led to an increased call on the Treasury's supply. By 1998, the Treasury's stock of dollar coins was near exhaustion. The Mint lacked the legal authority to change the design of the coin, and it was not deemed possible to release the new Sacagawea dollar earlier than 2000. Accordingly, after the longest hiatus for the same design of a circulating coin in U.S. history (one year longer than for the Morgan silver dollar), the coin was restruck in 1999.
Since the Sacagawea dollar's 2000 introduction, the Susan B. Anthony dollar circulated along with it—the two coins have identical metallic signatures to vending machines. The Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005, which initially proposed taking all remaining Susan B. Anthony dollars out of circulation, merely directed the Secretary of Treasury to review the matter and report back to Congress in 2006.
1979 mint year
1980 mint year
1981 mint year
1999 mint year
The coin is often referred to affectionately by collectors as the "Susan B." or "Susie". It is relatively easy to collect as all issues of this short series were minted in large quantities, and so numismatic demand can be easily met. For example, in 1999 the Philadelphia mint produced 750,000 proof coins. Each of these was sold as a separately boxed item. It took five years for them to sell out.
Collectors have noticed that there exist a few varieties of the coin that differ slightly in their arrangement and pressing qualities. Shortly after production of circulating coinage began there was a die change narrowing the distance from the date to the rim. The earlier 1979-P 'near date' or 'wide rim' coins are somewhat scarcer than the later 'far date' or 'narrow rim' issue. In the proof sets, the main varieties are the 1979-S Type I and Type II mintmarks, and the 1981-S Type I and Type II mintmarks. In each case a blurry "S" mintmark was replaced with a clearer one, with the later coins much less common. Also popular to collect are the 'full talon' variety, which are generally recognized as having a superior strike as the talons of the eagle on the reverse are fully separated and rounded, and may even show the folds of skin on the toes. 'Full talon' is not a function of die state, as 'full talon' coins are known on both early and late state dies.
A current proposed senate bill would take the Susan B out of circulation making it more of a collectible over time.
The troy ounce (oz t) is a unit of imperial measure. In the present day it is most commonly used to gauge the mass of precious metals. One troy ounce is currently defined as exactly 0.0311034768 kg or 31.1034768 g. There are approximately 32.15 troy oz in 1 kg. One troy ounce is equivalent to approximately 1.09714 avoirdupois ounces.
The troy ounce is part of the troy weights system, many aspects of which were indirectly derived from the Roman monetary system. The Romans used bronze bars of varying weights as currency. An aes grave weighed equal to 1 pound. One twelfth of an aes grave was called an uncia, or in English an "ounce". Later standardization would change the ounce to 1/16 of a pound (the avoirdupois ounce), but the troy ounce, which is 1/12 of a troy pound (note that a troy pound is lighter than an avoirdupois pound), has been retained for the measure of precious metals. At 480 grains, the troy ounce is heavier than the avoirdupois ounce, which weighs 437.5 grains. Since the implementation of the international yard and pound agreement of 1959, a grain has been defined as exactly 64.79891 milligrams (mg); hence one troy ounce is 31.1034768 grams (g) (exact by definition), about 10 percent more than the avoirdupois ounce, which is 28.349523125 g (exact).
To maintain purity standards and common measures across time, the troy ounce was retained over the avoirdupois ounce in the weighing and pricing of gold, platinum, silver. Likewise, the grain, identical in both the troy and avoirdupois systems, is still used to measure arrow and arrowhead weights in archery along with projectile (bullet) and propellant (powder) weights in ballistics. The troy ounce and grain were also common to the apothecaries' system long used in medicine, but have been largely replaced by milligrams.
The name "troy" is first attested in 1390. Though it is often connected to a fair at the city of Troyes, France, this story may have been invented in the 18th century.
The troy ounce in use today is essentially the same as the British Imperial troy ounce (1824-1971), adopted as an official weight standard for United States coinage by Act of Congress on May 19, 1828. The British Imperial troy ounce (known more commonly simply as the imperial troy ounce) was based on, and virtually identical with, the pre-1824 English troy ounce and the pre-1707 English troy ounce. (1824 was the year the British Imperial system of weights and measures was adopted, 1707 was the year of the Act of Union which created the Kingdom of Great Britain.) The English troy ounce was officially adopted for coinage in 1527. Troy ounces were used in the private sector in England since about 1400. Prior to that, various sorts of troy ounces were in use on the continent.
Draped Bust dollar
The Sunshine Mine is located between the cities of Kellogg and Wallace in northern Idaho. It has been one of the world's largest silver mines, having produced over 360 million ounces of silver since until 2001.
A 2007 Canadian report by Behre Dolbear & Company estimated measured and indicated resources of 31.51 million ounces of silver in 1.43 million tons at 21.8 ounces of silver per ton and inferred resources of 231.5 million ounces of silver in 2.28 million tons at 101.6 ounces of silver per ton. The Behre Dolbear report is considered historic in nature and illustrates the resource potential of the Sunshine Mine.
The Sunshine Mine property had its beginning in 1884 when the Blake brothers staked the Yankee Lode mining claim. Various contiguous holdings were consolidated to become the Sunshine Mining Company in 1920. The mine was then an economically marginal property consisting of 15 patented claims and one unpatented claim, shipping hand-sorted ore with a silver price of a dollar per ounce. In 1921 a 25-ton per day mill was constructed. The mill was later expanded piecemeal and eventually reached a daily capacity of 500 tons. Soon after the concentrator was commissioned, the Sunshine tunnel was driven from the surface in an exploration effort which discovered higher quality ore historically identified as "Chinatown"
In 1926, encouraged by the production success in the Chinatown area, upper Sunshine vein, the Incline shaft was sunk from the Sunshine tunnel to well below the bottom of the Chinatown working areas, eventually reaching the 1900 level in 1934. Soon after, drift crews discovered a bonanza vein of the first order. The No. 3 shaft was then started, eventually reaching the 3100 level in 1938.
In 1935 the concentrator was upgraded with new ball mill grinding units and flotation cells increasing the capacity to 1,000 tons per day while attaining a recovery of 98%. The sinking of the new four-compartment vertical Jewell shaft was started, reaching the 2300 level in 1936.
In 1943 a crew drifting east on the 2700 level following the Silver Syndicate fault discovered the famous Chester vein.
It was primarily the exploitation of the Sunshine vein followed by the Chester vein that determined the present configuration of the underground workings. With the discovery of the Chester vein on the 2700 level and the ore body's distance from the Jewell shaft of approximately 4000 feet east - southeast, other internal shafts (the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 10 shafts, more properly defined as winzes) were sunk or raised to more efficiently service the operations. The other principal internal shaft is the No. 12 shaft, servicing the Copper vein and the West Syndicate vein in the western end of the mine.
In 1960, sand-filling operations were introduced underground. The mill tailings were classified so that the coarser material, approximately 45% of the total mill feed, was used for stope backfill.
In the morning of May 2, 1972, a fire broke out in the Sunshine Mine. According to the US Mine Rescue Association, 91 workers died from smoke inhalation or carbon monoxide poisoning; 83 men were rescued, 81 on May 2 and two on May 9. The mine was closed for seven months after the fire, which was one of the worst mining disasters in American history and is the worst disaster in Idaho's history. Today, a monument to the lost miners stands beside Interstate 90 near the mine.
By the end of 1988, the mine was at full production. Ore production was primarily from mining the Chester vein systems serviced by the No. 10 shaft and the remnants of the Sunshine and Rambo vein stopes referred to as the Footwall area on the 3700 and 3400 levels. The 4000 and 4200 level Copper vein was under development from the No. 12 shaft.
In 1989, the mine produced 4.8 million ounces of silver. Production from the high grade Copper vein stopes began to impact the silver production volumes. During 1990, the mine produced 5.4 million ounces of silver, the most since 1971. By now the high-grade Copper vein stopes on 4200 level were becoming substantial producers, while production from the 10 shaft stopes was dropping off.
In 1991 the silver price fell to $3.90 per ounce and the operation was losing money. A mining plan was put together to reduce losses substantially while waiting for prices to improve. This was referred to as the "small mine plan" and was implemented in June 1991. The operation headings underground were centralized by shutting down the outlying, more costly production and development headings, and limiting operation to day shift only. The mining operations were consolidated in the Copper vein area and the most productive headings in the "Footwall Area". The mine below the 5000 level was salvaged and allowed to fill with water. Production was cut in half, while the work force was reduced by 65%.
The West Chance vein was discovered in 1992. By late 1996 it was clear the ore body was of sufficient size and value to support the mine's return to full production. The reserves were then developed by trackless ramp and lateral development methods using LHD (Load-Haul-Dump) equipment. The working areas outside the West Chance were shut down and salvaged in an orderly fashion and all resources were directed toward the West Chance. By July 1997, the mine workings below the 4000 level were salvaged of all usable equipment and materials and allowed to begin filling with water. In 1995, Sunshine acquired the neighboring Consolidated Silver (ConSil) property consisting of the surface facilities and underground workings of the Silver Summit Mine. This mine has served as the Sunshine Mine's second access for years. The ConSil underground mine workings are primarily accessed by an adit to an internal 5600 feet shaft. The surface opening of this adit is located about two miles east of the Jewell shaft.
The mine ceased production in the first quarter of 2001 because of several factors. These included low silver prices and the lack of regular and consistent exploration and development due to prior management shifting cash flow from the mine to corporate expenses, debt and other projects.
At closure the mine reserves were 1.13 million tons containing 26.75 million ounces of silver at 23.6 ounces Ag/ton. Upon closing of the mine these 'Historic' or 'Legacy reserves' were reclassified to 'mineralized material' as required by United States Securities and Exchange Commission regulations. These "Legacy Resources" are now classified as Mineral Resources under the CIM Definition Standards.
From historical records beginning in 1904 the Sunshine Mine has produced 364,893,421 ounces of silver from 12,953,045 tons of ore through 2001 when the mine was closed. From January 1, 1998 to January 1, 2004 the average reserves carried by the mine were 1.38 million tons containing 32.20 million ounces of silver at 23.3 oz Ag/ton.
On November 2, 2009, Alberta Star Development Corp. announced that it has entered into a binding term sheet with Sterling Mining Company to acquire a controlling interest in Sterling and its assets and provide for financing of Sterling's ongoing operations. Alberta Star later gave up their pursuit of the mine in the face of competing interest.
On April 22, 2010, Sterling Mining Company announced that Court papers will be filed shortly seeking to approve a successful $24.0 million bid for the assets and stock of Sterling Mining Company, the operator of the historic Sunshine Mine. The successful bidder—with a cash price of $24.0 million—was Silver Opportunity Partners LLC (SOP). SOP is a privately held company owned by Thomas Kaplan. It is based in New York as part of the Electrum Group of Companies, an international investor in precious metal mines.
On February 14, 2012, the mine was evacuated after a sensor in a vent shaft detected elevated levels of carbon monoxide inside. Twelve people were underground at the time, during the evening. All were workers for an underground mining services contractor called The Redpath Group, with headquarters in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. The mine was evacuated and sealed. All intakes feeding oxygen into the mine had to be sealed off, and nitrogen was injected to further reduce oxygen levels and extinguish the fire. On June 12, 2012, working under the guidance of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) the seal was broken on the shaft and crews reached the mine's 3,100-foot level where the fire started. Gas readings at the 3,100 level showed no carbon monoxide and appropriate levels of oxygen, indicating the fire was out.
The district is hosted by rocks of the Pre-Cambrian Belt super group, which is divided into the Prichard group, Ravalli group, Middle Carbonate group, and Missoula group. The Ravalli group contains the Revette and St. Regis formations that are the preferred host rocks for silver mineralization in the district. Ore deposits are localized within the 600 ft. thick St. Regis formation and the underlying upper members of the 3,000 ft thick Revette formation. The contact between the formations is indistinct and is locally picked as being the bottom of the lower-most distinct purple-colored interval in the St. Regis. Rock types include argillite, siltite, sericitic quartzite, and vitreous quartzite.
The Sunshine Mine infrastructure is antiquated and will require repairs and renovations. Water and electric supplies are sufficient for near-term future use. Property access is by a 2 mile paved county road paralleling Big Creek that intersects US Interstate 90. Communications, including telephone are installed and operable.
Over 30 veins have been named and mined at the Sunshine Mine. While the initial work suggested distinct veins, some of these veins are actually offsets across post-ore structures and others represent parallel footwall or hanging wall veins. Principle vein systems in the mine include the Sunshine, Chester, Copper, Yankee girl and West Chance. The Sunshine and Chester veins have each produced over 100 million ounces of silver. Major veins strike east-west and dip about 65° to the south. Locally, dips range from 45° to 90°. Strike lengths exceed 2000 feet and dip lengths are two to three times greater than the strike length. Major veins are located between the faults at an angle of about 25° to the bounding faults. Veins vary in width from a few inches to over 30 feet, but are generally 1 to 5 feet thick. Ore minerals include tetrahedrite and galena with siderite and quartz as the principal gangue minerals. The silver content of the tetrahedrite varies and the silver to copper ratio in the ore ranges from 40:1 (opt Ag:%Cu) to over 100:1. Tetrahedrite occurs as blebs, fracture fillings, or in veinlets. Samples exceeding 200 oz/ton silver have been collected in the mine. Other minerals include pyrite and arsenopyrite with minor to trace amounts of chalcopyrite, sphalerite, boulangerite, bourmonite, pyrargyrite, and magnetite.
The Draped Bust dollar is a United States dollar coin minted from 1795 to 1803, and again into the 1850s. The design succeeded the Flowing Hair dollar, which began mintage in 1794 and was the first silver dollar struck by the United States Mint. The designer is unknown, though the distinction is usually credited to artist Gilbert Stuart. The model is also unknown, though Ann Willing Bingham has been suggested.
In October 1795, newly appointed Mint Director Elias Boudinot ordered that the legal fineness of .892 (89.2%) silver be used for the dollar rather than the unauthorized fineness of .900 (90%) silver that had been used since the denomination was first minted in 1794. Due largely to a decrease in the amount of silver deposited at the Philadelphia Mint, coinage of silver dollars declined throughout the latter years of the 18th century. In 1804, coinage of silver dollars was halted; the last date used during regular mint production was 1803.
In 1834, silver dollar production was temporarily restarted to supply a diplomatic mission to Asia with a special set of proof coins. Officials mistakenly believed that dollars had last been minted with the date 1804, prompting them to use that date rather than the date in which the coins were actually struck. A limited number of 1804 dollars were struck by the Mint in later years, and they remain rare and valuable.
Coinage began on the first United States silver dollar, known as the Flowing Hair dollar, in 1794 following the construction and staffing of the Philadelphia Mint. The Coinage Act of 1792 called for the silver coinage to be struck in an alloy consisting of 89.2% silver and 10.8% copper. However, Mint officials were reluctant to strike coins with the unusual fineness, so it was decided to strike them in an unauthorized alloy of 90% silver instead. This caused depositors of silver to lose money when their metal was coined. During the second year of production of the Flowing Hair dollar, it was decided that the denomination would be redesigned. It is unknown what prompted this change or who suggested it, though numismatic historian R.W. Julian speculates that Henry William de Saussure, who was named Director of the Mint on July 9, 1795, may have suggested it, as he had stated a redesign of the American coinage as one of his goals before taking office. It is also possible that the Flowing Hair design was discontinued owing to much public disapproval.
Though the designer of the coin is unknown, artist Gilbert Stuart is widely acknowledged to have been its creator; Mint Director James Ross Snowden began researching the early history of the United States Mint and its coinage in the 1850s, during which time he interviewed descendants of Stuart who claimed that their ancestor was the designer. It has been suggested that Philadelphia socialite Ann Willing Bingham posed as the model for the coin. Several sketches were approved by Mint engraver Robert Scot and de Saussure and sent to President George Washington and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson to gain their approval.
After approval was received, the designs were sent to artist John Eckstein to be rendered into plaster models; during that time, plaster models were used as a guide to cutting the dies, which was done by hand. Eckstein, who was dismissed by Walter Breen as a "local artistic hack" and described by a contemporary artist as a "thorough-going drudge" due to his willingness to carry out most painting or sculptural tasks at the request of clients, was paid thirty dollars for his work preparing models for both the obverse Liberty and reverse eagle and wreath. After the plaster models were created, the engravers of the Philadelphia Mint (including Scot) began creating hubs that would be used to make dies for the new coins.
It is unknown exactly when production of the new design began, as precise records relating to design were not kept at that time. R.W. Julian, however, places the beginning of production in either late September or early October 1795, while Taxay asserts that the first new silver dollars were struck in October. In September 1795, de Saussure wrote his resignation letter to President Washington. In his letter, de Saussure mentioned the unauthorized silver standard and suggested that Congress be urged to make the standard official, but this was not done. In response to de Saussure's letter, Washington expressed his displeasure in the resignation, stating that he had viewed de Saussure's tenure with "entire satisfaction". As de Saussure's resignation would not take effect until October, the president was given time to select a replacement.
The person chosen to fill the position was statesman and former congressman Elias Boudinot. Upon assuming his duties at the Mint on October 28, Boudinot was informed of the silver standard that had been used since the first official silver coins were struck. He immediately ordered that this practice be ceased and that coinage would begin in the 89.2% fineness approved by the Coinage Act of 1792. The total production of 1795 dollars (including both the Flowing Hair and Draped Bust types) totalled 203,033. It is estimated that approximately 42,000 dollars were struck bearing the Draped Bust design. Boudinot soon ordered that production of minor denominations be increased. Later, assayer Albian Cox died suddenly from a stroke in his home on November 27, 1795, leaving the vital post of assayer vacant. This, together with Boudinot's increased focus on smaller denominations, as well as a lull in private bullion deposits (the fledgling Mint's only source of bullion), caused a decrease in silver dollar production in 1796. The total mintage for 1796 was 79,920, which amounts to an approximate 62% reduction from the previous year's total.
Bullion deposits continued to decline, and in 1797, silver dollar production reached the lowest point since 1794 with a mintage of just 7,776 pieces. During this time, silver deposits declined to such an extent that Thomas Jefferson personally deposited 300 Spanish dollars in June 1797. In April 1797, an agreement was reached between the Mint and the Bank of the United States. The Bank agreed to supply the Mint with foreign silver on the condition that the Bank would receive their deposits back in silver dollars. The Mint was closed between August and November 1797 due to the annual yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia; that year's epidemic took the life of the Mint's treasurer, Dr. Nicholas Way. In November 1797, the Bank deposited approximately $30,000 worth of French silver. In early 1798, the reverse was changed from the small, perched eagle to a heraldic eagle similar to that depicted on the Great Seal of the United States. The agreement reached with the Bank of the United States along with other bullion depositors (including Boudinot) led to an increase in the number of silver dollars coined; mintage for both the small and heraldic eagle types totalled 327,536. Mintage numbers for the dollar remained high through 1799, with 423,515 struck that year.
Toward the end of the 18th century, many of the silver dollars produced by the Mint were shipped to and circulated or melted in China in order to satisfy the great demand for silver bullion in that nation. In 1800, silver deposits once again began to decline, and the total silver dollar output for that year was 220,920. In 1801, following complaints from the public and members of Congress regarding the lack of small change in circulation, Boudinot began requesting that silver depositors receive smaller denominations rather than the routinely requested silver dollars, in an effort to supply the nation with more small change. Production dropped to 54,454 silver dollars in 1801 and 41,650 in 1802, after Boudinot was able to convince many depositors to accept their silver in the form of small denominations. Although silver bullion deposits at the Mint had increased, Boudinot attempted to end silver dollar production in 1803, favoring half dollars instead. Mintage of the 1803 dollar continued until March 1804, when production of silver dollars ceased entirely. In total, 85,634 dollars dated 1803 were struck. Following a formal request from the Bank of the United States, Secretary of State James Madison officially suspended silver dollar and gold eagle production in 1806, although minting of both had ended two years earlier.
Some confusion later occurred because the mint reported 321 dollars in 1805, but records showed these were earlier dated dollars brought in mixed with foreign silver coins. It wasn't until 1836 that silver dollars, with a new design, were again struck for circulation.
In 1831, Mint Director Samuel Moore filed a request through the Treasury asking president Andrew Jackson to once again allow the coinage of silver dollars; the request was approved on April 18. In 1834, Edmund Roberts was selected as an American commercial representative to Asia, including the kingdoms of Muscat and Siam. Roberts recommended that the dignitaries be given a set of proof coins. The State Department ordered two sets of "specimens of each kind [of coins] now in use, whether of gold, silver, or copper". Though the minting of dollars had been approved in 1831, none had been struck since 1804. After consulting with Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt (who had worked at the Mint since its opening in 1792), Moore determined that the last silver dollars struck were dated 1804. Unknown to either of them, the last production in March 1804 was actually dated 1803. Since they believed that the last striking was dated 1804, it was decided to strike the presentation pieces with that date as well. It is unknown why the current date was not used, but R.W. Julian suggests that this was done to prevent coin collectors from being angered over the fact that they would be unable to obtain the newly dated coins.
The first two 1804 dollars (as well as the other coins for the sets) were struck in November 1834. Soon, Roberts' trip was expanded to Indo-China (then known as Annam) and Japan, so two additional sets were struck. The pieces struck under the auspices of the Mint are known as Class I 1804 dollars, and eight of that type are known to exist today. Roberts left for his trip in April 1835, and he presented one set each to the Sultan of Muscat and the King of Siam. The gift to the Sultan of Muscat was part of an exchange of diplomatic gifts that resulted in the Sultan presenting the Washington Zoo with a full-grown lion and lioness. Roberts fell ill in Bangkok and was taken to Macao, where he died in June 1835. Following Roberts' death, the remaining two sets were returned to the Mint without being presented to the dignitaries.
Most coin collectors became aware of the 1804 dollar in 1842, when Jacob R. Eckfeldt (son of Adam Eckfeldt) and William E. Du Bois published a book entitled A Manual of Gold and Silver Coins of All Nations, Struck Within the Past Century. In the volume, several coins from the Mint's coin cabinet, including an 1804 dollar, were reproduced by tracing a pantograph stylus over an electrotype of the coins. In May 1843, numismatist Matthew A. Stickney was able to obtain an 1804 dollar from the Mint's coin cabinet by trading a rare pre-federal United States gold coin. Due to an increase in the demand for rare coins, Mint officials, including Director Snowden, began minting an increasing number of coin restrikes in the 1850s. Several 1804 dollars were struck, and some were sold for personal profit on the part of Mint officials. When he discovered this, Snowden bought back several of the coins. One such coin, which Snowden later added to the Mint cabinet, was struck over an 1857 shooting thaler and became known as Class II, the only such piece of that type known to exist today. Six pieces with edge lettering applied after striking became known as Class III dollars.
By the end of the 19th century, the 1804 dollar had become the most famous and widely discussed of all American coins. In 1867, one of the original 1804 dollars was sold at auction for $750 ($12,320 today). Seven years later, on November 27, 1874, a specimen sold for $700 ($14,204 today). In the early 20th century, coin dealer B. Max Mehl began marketing the 1804 dollar as the "King of American Coins". The coins continued to gain popularity throughout the 20th century, and the price reached an all-time high in 1999, when an example graded Proof-68 was sold at auction for $4,140,000.
Silver mining in the United States
Junk silver is an informal term used in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia for any silver coin which is in fair condition and has no numismatic or collectible value above the bullion value of the silver it contains. Such coins are popular among people seeking to invest in silver, particularly in small amounts. The word "junk" refers only to the value of the coins as collectibles and not to the actual condition of the coins; junk silver is not necessarily scrap silver.
Precious metals including silver are measured in troy ounces (ozt). A spot price for silver is the price for a troy ounce of silver which is 99.9-percent pure, or 999 fine. Silver coins including junk-silver coins have set silver-alloy contents ranging from 35-percent to 90-percent or more. The term "coin silver," for example, refers to 90-percent silver alloy which was the most common alloy used to mint silver U.S. coins.
Any combination of 90-percent silver U.S. coins which have a face value of US$1.00 contains 0.715 troy ounces of 99.9-percent silver (0.7234 troy ounces if uncirculated), except for the silver dollars (Morgan and Peace) which contain .7736 troy ounces of silver. In other words, a full troy ounce of 99.9-percent silver is contained in any combination of 90-percent silver U.S. coins which have a face value of US$1.40.
The most commonly collected junk-silver U.S. coins were minted before 1965 and include Morgan and Peace dollars; Liberty Head "Barber," Walking Liberty, Franklin and Kennedy half dollars; Liberty Head "Barber," Standing Liberty and Washington quarters; Liberty Head "Barber," Winged Liberty Head "Mercury" and Roosevelt dimes; and Jefferson "Wartime" nickels.
The most commonly collected junk-silver U.K. coins were minted before 1946 and include Edward VII, George V and George VI crowns; as well as Victoria, Edward VII, George V and George VI half crowns, florins, shillings, six pences, and three pences.
Florins (2 Shillings)
Canadian dollar, half-dollar, quarter and dime coins minted after 1919 and before 1967 contained 80-percent silver. Those minted 1919 or earlier are sterling (92.5%) silver. For these coins (1920 - 1967), every CAD$1.00 in face value contains 0.6 troy ounces of silver. The 1967 and 1968 quarter and dime were also minted in 50-percent silver. 1968 also introduced the 100-percent nickel versions of all the coins mentioned beforehand. To tell the 1968 nickel and silver coins apart, the ones made from nickel are magnetic whereas the silver coins are not.
Australian "pre-decimal" florin, shilling, sixpence and threepence coins minted from 1910 to 1945 contained 92.5-percent silver. From 1946 to 1964, they were minted in "post-silver" coins which contained 50-percent silver. In 1966, the "round" 50-cent coin contained 80-percent silver.
Junk-silver coins may be a desirable method of investing in silver for several reasons:
For these reasons, junk silver is popular among survivalists. In the event of a crisis or catastrophe during which traditional currency collapses, it is speculated that silver coins could provide a viable alternative, temporarily or indefinitely, while fiat currency, which is not backed by precious metals or other commodities, has no inherent value and can be subject to extreme inflation, even hyperinflation, similar to Weimar Germany, post WWII Hungary and, more recently, Zimbabwe. Proponents of junk silver and other precious metals adhere to the principle that, while fiat currencies have historically been subject to hyperinflation, precious metals will always have inherent value and can act as a medium of financial exchange when fiat currencies are obsolete.
Some coin collectors][ and investors are also informally using the term "junk copper" to refer to any copper-bullion coins of no numismatic value. Prominent examples include U.S. pennies minted before 1982 (partial), Canadian pennies minted before 1997, and some pre-Euro copper European coins. 154 junk-copper U.S. pennies contain a full pound of fine copper.
United States dollar
Silver mining in the United States began on a major scale with the discovery of the Comstock Lode in Nevada in 1858. The industry suffered greatly from the demonetization of silver in 1873 by the Coinage Act of 1873, known pejoratively as the "Crime of 73," but silver mining continues today.
The United States produced 1,200 metric tons of silver in 2007, 35% of the silver it used. The remaining 65% was imported from Mexico, Canada, Peru, and Chile. Thirty-six US mines reported silver production. Interest in silver mining has increased in recent years because of increased price of the metal: the average silver price increased from $4.39 per ounce for the year 2001, to $13.45 per ounce for 2007. By 2011, silver prices had soared to almost $40 per ounce before dropping to around $34 per ounce in late June.
In 2006, Alaska was the nation's leading silver-producing state. Two Alaska polymetallic mines were significant silver producers. The Red Dog mine, the world’s largest source of zinc, also produced 75 metric tons (2.4 million troy ounces) of silver. The Greens Creek mine, owned by Hecla Mining, produced 280 metric tons (8.9 million ounces) of silver.
More than 80% of the state's silver was a byproduct of copper mining; other silver came as a byproduct of lead, zinc, and gold mining. The most productive silver district in Arizona that was mined primarily for silver was Tombstone in Cochise County, discovered in 1877. In 2006, all the silver mined in Arizona came as a byproduct of copper mining.
Most of the silver produced in California has been a byproduct of mining other metals, such as copper (Copperopolis), tungsten (Pine Creek mine in Inyo County), or gold (Randsburg). However, there have been mines where silver was the principal product.
Silver mines at Panamint in Inyo County produced silver from 1873 until the town was destroyed by a flash flood in 1876.
The Cerro Gordo Mines in Inyo County started producing lead and silver in 1860. Ore bodies were replacements and fissure fillings in Paleozoic limestone. In the 20th century zinc became the principal product.
Silver was discovered at Calico in San Bernardino County in 1881, and mining was prosecuted strongly there until 1896.
Silver was discovered in 1919 in the eastern Rand district, near Randsburg and Johannesburg, in San Bernardino County. The Rand district had already been an established gold district. The Kelly Rand mine produced silver from miargyrite and pyrargyrite ores from 1919 to 1928.
Silver veins were first discovered in the Montezuma district of Summit County in 1864. Despite the early silver discoveries, Colorado’s largest silver district, Leadville was not discovered until 1874.
The largest current source of silver in Colorado is as a byproduct of gold mining at the Cripple Creek & Victor mine, a large open-pit heap leach operation owned by AngloGold Ashanti at Victor, Colorado. In 2006, the mine produced 4.0 metric tons (130,000 ounces) of silver.
The Coeur d’Alene (Silver Valley) district of Shoshone County in northern Idaho has produced more silver than any other mining district in the United States, and is historically one of the top three silver districts in the world in total silver produced. (It competes with Potosi in Bolivia and Pachuca-Real del Monte in Mexico for the title of greatest silver district, each having produced more than a billion troy ounces of silver.) The Silver Valley is the richest primary silver producing mining region in the world.][ As the center of the mining district and a hub of commerce, Wallace earned the title of the Silver Capital of the World decades ago.][ Through 2006, the Coeur d’Alene district has produced a total of more than 37,000 metric tons (1.2 billion ounces) of silver.][
Three silver mines are currently operating in the Coeur d’Alene district: the Galena mine, owned by US Silver; the Sunshine mine, owned by Sterling Mining Co.; and the Lucky Friday mine, owned by Hecla Mining Company. The Lucky Friday mine produced 89 metric tons (2.9 million ounces) of silver in 2006, increasing to 3.5 million ounces in 2009; the Galena mine produced 40 metric tons (1.3 million ounces) of silver in 2006.
Silver mining began in 1879 at the Einstein mine, nine miles northwest of Fredericktown in Madison County. The settlement of Silver Mine, complete with US Post Office was established to serve the miners of the Einstein, Ozark, and Apex mines. The mines closed within a few years, but reopened briefly in 1916 and again in 1927 to mine tungsten.
Butte, Montana is historically the second-greatest source of silver in the United States, second only to the Coeur d’Alene district in Idaho. Butte started as a placer gold camp in 1864, and the placers were exhausted by 1867. But in 1874 prospectors discovered silver veins. Butte flourished as a silver-mining district until miners tunneled into large copper veins in 1882. From then until the 1980s, Butte was primarily a copper-mining district, but with a lot of silver as a byproduct. Butte produced more than 716 million troy ounces (22,300 mt) of silver through 2005.
Silver was discovered at Phillipsburg in 1864, and the district was one of the most prolific silver producers in Montana. Major mines included the Granite Mountain mine, the Bi-Metallic mine, and the Hope mine. In 1887, the district produced 2.2 million troy ounces (68 metric tons) of silver, making it the largest silver producer in the US for that year. The district suffered greatly from the fall in the price of silver in 1893, and remained moribund until World War I, when the manganese deposits of the district became valuable, and Philipsburg became one of the top US producers of that metal. Silver occurs in veins filling fracture zones through Paleozoic limestone. Minerals in the silver-ore veins include polybasite, pyrargyrite, proustite, sphalerite, galena, and tennantite. Manganese occurs as replacement bodies of pyrolusite and rhodochrosite in limestone adjacent to the fracture zones. No mines are presently active in the district.
The discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1858 inaugurated large-scale silver mining in the United States. The Comstock was the first important silver-mining district in the United States, and its discovery stimulated a great deal of prospecting for silver across the Great Basin area of the United States. The resulting silver rush led to many other silver discoveries in Nevada, including Austin (1862), Eureka (1864), and Pioche (1869). Nevada remains the second-largest silver producer in the U.S., after Alaska.
Silver-bearing galena was mined from three districts in New Hampshire.
The Silver Lake mine near Madison in Carroll County operated intermittently from 1826 to 1918. Ore was extracted from underground workings until 1915, when a small open pit was dug.
The Mascot mine and the Shelburne mine worked veins in schist and granite on Mount Hayes, between Gorham and Shelburne in Coos County. The Shelburne mine operated intermittently from the 1830s into the 1850s; a final attempt at mining took place in 1880. The Mascot mine worked from 1881–1885 and in 1906.
The North Woodstock mine, near the town of the same name in Grafton County, apparently mined and milled lead-silver ore, although no production records are known.
No silver is known to have been mined in New Mexico prior to the silver discovery in 1863 near Magdalena in Socorro County. The major silver-mining area of Silver City in Grant County was discovered in 1866.
A rancher found the Lake Valley silver deposits in Sierra County in 1876. The deposits are bedded manto-type deposits in Paleozoic limestone. The mines, promoted by Whitaker Wright, produced well for a few years after miners tunneled into a silver-lined cavity they named the “bridal chamber” that alone yielded 2.5 million troy ounces (78 metric tons) of silver. But no more bridal chambers were discovered, the mines struggled and were worked periodically into the 20th century. The district produced manganese during World Wars I and II. Total production of the Lake Valley district through 1931 was 5.8 million ounces (180 metric tons) of silver.
Almost all the silver produced today in New Mexico comes as a byproduct from the two large open-pit copper mines in southwest New Mexico.
The Silver Hill mine in Davidson County, also known as the King mine and the Washington mine, was discovered in 1838. Excluding Mexican silver mines in land later acquired by the US, the Silver Hill mine was the first silver mine in the United States. It produced silver, gold, lead, copper, and zinc intermittently from its discovery until the mid-1870s.
Copper and silver occur in a sandstone roll-front-type deposit in the Wellington sandstone of Permian age at Paoli, Garvin County, Oklahoma. About 1900, several wagon loads of ore were shipped from the deposit.
Most silver in Oregon was produced as a byproduct of gold and copper mining. Two mines operated primarily for their silver were the Bay Horse mine in Baker County, which produced 125,000 ounces (3.9 metric tons) of silver, and the Oregon King mine in Jefferson County, which produced 300,000 ounces (9.3 metric tons) of silver.
The Pequea silver mine near Conestoga in Lancaster County was worked from before the Revolutionary War to 1875. A minor amount of mining was done about 1900. The ore is silver-bearing galena in the Cambrian Vintage Dolomite. Production is unknown.
The Allamoore-Van Horn silver-mining district in Hudspeth County and Culberson counties was discovered in 1880, and mined intermittently. Silver and copper were mined from Precambrian igneous and sedimentary rocks. No reliable production figures are available.
Silver mineralization was discovered in 1880 or 1881 in Presidio County, Texas. Mining began in 1883 at what became the town of Shafter. At least six mines were worked. The deposits are manto-type deposits in Permian limestone of the Mina Grande formation, related to an igneous intrusive. Silver minerals include argentite and native silver. Associated minerals include the lead minerals anglesite and galena, the zinc minerals sphalerite, hemimorphite, and smithsonite, and gangue minerals quartz, , goethite, and dolomite. Total production to 1999 was 35 million troy ounces (1090 metric tons) of silver, along with some gold. Aurcana Corp. of Vancouver has announced plans to reopen the silver mine.
The beginning of silver mining was delayed in Utah, due to its remote location. The completion of the transcontinental railroad spurred prospecting in Utah, and led to major silver discoveries.
The first mining claim in the Park City district was staked in 1868, and the first ore shipment made in 1871. Prominent mines included the Flagstaff mine, Ontario mine, and Silver King mine. Ore occurs in veins and replacement deposits in sedimentary and igneous rocks.
The Horn Silver Mine was discovered in 1870 with the first discovery of significant value occurring in 1875. On September 24 of that year, Samuel Hawks (or Hawke) and James Ryan uncovered silver-bearing rock at the Horn Silver Ledge in what later became the San Francisco mining district near Milford, Utah. Significant mining began the next year. By 1882, the Horn Silver Mine was the largest silver producer in the world.
The Little Cottonwood district came into prominence in the 1870s with large ore shipments from the Emma Silver Mine, the Flagstaff Mine, the Emily Mine, and others.
Silver ore was found in sandstone formations in the Silver Reef district in 1866, although large-scale mining operations did not begin until 1875.
Today almost all the silver produced in Utah comes from the Bingham Canyon Mine, which produces silver as a byproduct of copper mining.
Virginia has produced about 90 thousand ounces of silver as a byproduct of mining other metals.
The Chewelah district in Stevens County produced 1.7 million troy ounces (53 metric tons) of silver and 5,000 metric tons of copper from quartz-carbonate veins. Chalcopyrite is the principal ore mineral. The deposits are hosted in shear zones in argillite of the Precambrian Belt Supergroup. Silver-mining stocks were a mainstay of the Spokane Stock Exchange.
Silver coins are possibly the oldest mass-produced form of coinage. Silver has been used as a coinage metal since the times of the Greeks; their silver drachmas were popular trade coins. The ancient Persians used silver coins between 612-330 BC. Before 1797, British pennies were made of silver.
As with all collectible coins, many factors determine the value of a silver coin, such as its rarity, demand, condition and the number originally minted. Ancient silver coins coveted by collectors include the Denarius and Miliarense, while more recent collectible silver coins include the Morgan Dollar and the Spanish Milled Dollar.
Silver as an investment
The Pittman Act was a United States federal law sponsored by Senator Key Pittman of Nevada and enacted on April 23, 1918. The act authorized the conversion of not exceeding 350,000,000 standard silver dollars into bullion and its sale, or use for subsidiary silver coinage, and directed purchase of domestic silver for recoinage of a like number of dollars. Under the Act, 270,232,722 standard silver dollars were converted into bullion (259,121,554 for sale to Great Britain at $1.00 per fine ounce, plus mint charges, and 11,111,168 for subsidiary silver coinage), the equivalent of about 209,000,000 fine ounces of silver. Between 1920 and 1933, under the Act, the same quantity of silver was purchased from the output of American mines, at a fixed price of $1 per ounce, from which 270,232,722 standard silver dollars were recoined. The fixed price of $1 per ounce was above the market rate and acted as a federal subsidy to the silver mining industry.
Further provisions relating to silver coinage were contained in the Thomas Amendment to the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933.
Silver, like other precious metals, may be used as an investment. For more than four thousand years, silver has been regarded as a form of money and store of value. However, since the end of the silver standard, silver has lost its role as a legal tender in many developed countries including the United States. In 2009, the main demand for silver was for industrial applications (40%), jewellery, bullion coins and exchange-traded products. In 2011, the global silver reserves amounted to 530,000 tonnes.
Millions of Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coins and American Silver Eagle are purchased as investments each year. The Silver Maple Leaf is legal tender at $5 per ounce and there are many other silver coins with higher legal tender values, including $20 Canadian silver coins. Silver is legal tender in Utah, and can be used to pay all debts.