The proportion by weight of pure metal in coins to the alloy is the " fineness." In the United States it is 900 parts by weight to 100 parts of alloy in both gold and silver. The weight of a gold dollar is 25.8 grains and a silver dollar 412.5 grains. The " present standard of weight and fineness" in this country, therefore, provides for gold and silver dollars as above.
Our unit of weight was obtained from England, is of bronze, and weighs 5,760 grains, or one pound troy. It is in safe keeping at the Philadelphia Mint. Each year an assay commission appointed by the President compares the working copies of the weight with the original.
The weight and fineness of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (Act fifty-six George the Third, chapter sixty-eight) provides that there should be nine hundred and thirty-four sovereigns and one ten shilling piece contained in twenty pounds weight troy of standard gold, of the fineness at the trial of the same of twenty-two carats fine gold and two carats of alloy in the pound weight troy; and, further, as regards silver coins, that there should be sixty-six shillings in every pound troy of standard silver of the fineness of eleven ounces two pennyweights of fine silver and eighteen pennyweights of alloy in every pound weight troy.2 the commodities produce in men. And "that the standard unit of value is some entirely arbitrary weight of the standard metal, the exact amount of which, being a matter of indifference on general ground, should be fixed as seems most convenient in reference to the habits of the nations or other accidental circumstances."
1 The Act of Congress, March 14, 1900, commonly known as the "Financial Bill," declares "that the dollar consisting of twenty-five and eight-tenths grains of gold nine-tenths fine, as established by section thirty-five hundred and eleven of the Revised Statutes of the United States, shall be the standard unit of value, and all forms of money issued or coined by the United States shall be maintained at a parity of value with this standard, and it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to maintain such a parity."
2 The Coinage Act, 1870.