Bruce Smith submitted these interesting observations on Mint Reports of the U.S. and the world. Below is an image of the 1889 Mint Report in my library. -EditorBefore the 1930s the U.S. Mint Reports also contained a wealth of information on world coins and paper money. The United States had consuls posted at many places around the world -- including several in different parts of China.
Part of the duties of those consuls was to gather economic information, write reports, and send the information back to the USA. Some consuls were very diligent and worked hard gathering all sorts of information; others were lazy and sent back as little as they could get by with. So the information is uneven. However, some Mint Reports are gold mines of information, sometimes providing the full text of coinage reform laws and regulations or of the articles of incorporation of banks of issue.
My field of research is China. Long ago I photocopied the China sections from every U.S. Mint Report from the 1880's into the 1930's. For those interested in world coinage and paper money, another place to look is "Commerce Reports" and "Supplement to Commerce Reports". These were published weekly and monthly, if I remember correctly, from about 1915 into the 1930's, by the U.S. Commerce Department.
The information covers an incredible range of subjects -- railroads, banks, coinage, roads, radio communications, mining, manufacturing, shipping, etc. etc. for countries all over the world. The purpose of this publication was to help American manufacturers find markets in other countries or to find raw materials overseas -- especially in developing countries. It is a little known and little used source of information. I have been mining this publication at Washington University in St. Louis, but I'm sure other big libraries have a set.
And while on the subject of mint reports, mention should be made that other countries also published mint reports. Some of those mints made coins for countries other than their own. I own a few Canadian Mint reports, and I have seen British mint reports and French mint reports in one of the libraries at Harvard University. (If anyone is interested in searching the Harvard libraries -- they have about 100 libraries -- I may be able to offer some advice) What I have not seen are German mint reports. I'm sure such were published, but what is the exact title, and where, in the USA, they can be found? Does anyone know about mint reports published by other countries?
Great questions. I believe I have a couple Royal Canadian Mint reports (somewhere) in my library. Sets of mint reports from various countries would be a valuable research source. -Editor
Wayne Homren, Editor
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