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DAVE GINSBURG ON THE NEW ORLEANS MINT
As noted last week in his note about U.S. Mint reports, Dave Ginsburg has been researching the New Orleans Mint. He submitted the following notes on some of the interesting things he's learned. -EditorI don't think anyone's ever written about the post-Civil War operations of the New Orleans Mint. It's amazing how much "low hanging fruit" there is - I should get several articles out of the information!
For example, most people realize that the New Orleans Mint was kept busy minting Morgan dollars, not gold, but did you know that their small gold mintages were also the result of the small amount of gold that was deposited during the period? (less than one-third the amount of gold that was deposited from 1838-1860)
Did you know that the 1883 Assay Commission discovered below-standard eagles and the resulting investigation resulted in the removal of the Assayer (and perhaps the Melter & Refiner) and directions for the Mint to melt any of the coins that remained in their hands? (have to do more work to find out if any coins were melted).
Did you know that, in 1894, coins minted from some bars manufactured by the New York Assay Office were found to be of uneven fineness, resulting in the melting of 25,000 1893 half eagles (out of 110,000 minted)?
Did you know that the Mint reports include a table that shows the number of dies of each denomination that the Philadelphia mint sent to each mint? (they don't tell you obverse and reverse, but you can't have everything)
Did you know that the Mint reports include mintages for both the fiscal year and calendar year, which, because of the New Orleans Mint's small mintages, tells you if the coins were minted in the first half of the calendar year or the second half? (OK, I admit this is fairly trivial and geeky - but that's why we're numismatic researchers!)
Finally, did you know that the reason the New Orleans (and the other mints) had Treasurers before the Civil War but not after was that the position was eliminated by the Coinage Act of 1873? (The Treasurers just shifted over to focusing on being Assistant Treasurers of the United States and the mints created the position of Cashier, which wasn't an Officer position [not a Presidential appointment]).
Yes, all this (and perhaps more) will soon be detailed in the "pages" of the Southern Gold Society's eNewsletter!
For more information, see the Society's web site: The Southern Gold Society (http://www.southerngoldsociety.org/)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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