Between 1861 and 1879 greenbacks took the place of metals; the silver dollar had not been coined since 1834, and when, in 1873, the coinage laws were reconstructed, the silver dollar was omitted from the list of coins. This act later became known as the "Crime of '73," and it was alleged by silver men to be an intentional omission so as to demonetize silver. All independent investigations, however, agree that no such ill purpose was in the mind of Congress. Bimetallism in the United States thus ceased in law; it had existed only in law for two score years.

Periods

Gold

Silver Dollars

Subsidiary Silver

1793-1805

$ 25

$1.4

$ 0.5

1806-1834

13.2

37.8

1835-1852

221.0

1.0

38.4

1853-1877

774.1

55

106.1

Total

$l,0I0.9

$8.0

$182.9

* In this table and similar tables presented in millions, figures to the right of the hundred thousand column have been disregarded, alike in items and totals.

Between 1871 and 1874 free coinage of silver was stopped in many European countries and big mines were discovered in Nevada. The narrowing market and suddenly increased production caused a remarkable fall in the market value of silver. It became profitable to coin silver dollars again, but the mint had been closed to silver by the Act of 1873. For the next three decades the silver and debtor interests struggled for the remonetization of silver. A series of compromises followed. In 1878 the Bland-Allison Act authorized the coinage of standard silver dollars and made them full legal tender; the Secretary of the Treasury was to buy in the market not less than $2,000,000 worth nor more than $4,000,000 worth of silver bullion per month, and have it coined into such dollars, and pay the seigniorage into the Treasury. Between 1878 and 1890, $378,168,000 in silver were coined at a seigniorage of nearly $70,000,000.2

2 Purchases Of Silver Under The Act Of 1878

Fiscal Years

Fine Ounces (In millions)

Cost (In millions)

Average Price per Fine Ounce

Coinage of Silver

Dollars

(In millions)

1878

10.8

$ 130

$1.0248

$ 8.5

1879

19.2

21.5

1.1218

27.2

1880

22.0

25.2

1.1440

27.9

1881

19.7

22.3

1.1328

27.6

1882

21.1

24.0

1.1351

27.7

1883

22.8

25.5

1.1174

28.1

1884

21.9

24-3

1.1120

28.0

1885

21.7

23.7

1.0897

28.5

1886

22.6

23.4

1.0334

29.8

1887

26.4

25.9

.9810

33.2

1888

25.3

24.2

•9547

32.7

1889

26.4

24.7

.9338

33.7

1890

27.8"

26.8

.9668

35.9

1891

2.7

3.0

1.0901

8.7

Total..........

291.2

$308.2

$1.0583

$378.1

The seigniorage = $378,168,793 - $308,279,260.71 = $69,887,532.29.

In 1879 the subsidiary silver was made redeemable, in multiples of $20, in lawful money, and made legal tender in sums not exceeding $10.

In 1890 the Sherman Silver Act directed the Secretary of the Treasury to buy in the market silver bullion aggregating 4,000,000 ounces, or as much thereof as was offered at less than the mint price, and to issue for it treasury notes of the United States. These notes were made redeemable in coin by the Treasury on demand and were reissuable and full legal tender. This act, which repealed the Act of 1878, contains the famous parity clause, which pledged the United States Treasurer to maintain the two metals on a parity with each other at the legal ratio. No method was prescribed for the accomplishment of this pledge by the Secretary. Provision was also made for the coinage of part of this bullion. After three years' operation and the coinage of $187,000,-000, this compulsory purchase clause was repealed.3

In summary, the amount of silver dollars coined under the Act of April 2, 1792, was..................... $ 8.0 millions

February 28, 1878, "...... $378.1 millions

July 14, 1800, "...... 187.0

March 3, 1891, "...... 5.0 570.2 "

Total.................................... $578.3 "

3 Purchases Of Silver Under The Act Of 1890

Fiscal Years

Amount of Silver

Purchased (Ounces in millions)

Cost, or Amount of Treasury Notes Issued (In millions)

Average Price per Fine Ounce

Silver Dollars

Coined from Bullion of Act of 1890

(In millions)

1891

48.3

$ 50.5

$1.0451

$27.2

1892

54.3

51.1

.9402

3.4

1893

54.0

45.5

.8430

5.3

1894

11.9

8.7

.7312

0.0

Total ..........

168.6

$155.9

$ .9244

$36.1

If and when this silver is coined into standard silver dollars, the seigniorage will equal (168.6 X 480/371 1/4) - 155.9 - $62 millions.