Nugent Robinson.

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32 carats fineness produces coins to the amount of
;f 46 14s. 6d., which is about the price at which bullion sells
for in the market Thus the gold of that country is coined
free of expense. In coining silver, the government is allowed,
by the Act of 56 Geo. III., g profit or seigniorage of about
six per cent. ; the pound weight of silver, which should pro-
duce 63 shillings, being coined into 66 shillings. The aiver
coins being therefore of a litde less real value than the sumt
they represent, they are not liable to be melted down by dhet^
smiths for the manufacture of articles in dieir trade.

Digitized by




The word mmey is from tlie Temple of Juno Momta^ in
wbidi money was first coined by the ancients. Peeutdary is
from feeuSf a flock — ^flocks and herds of animals being origi*
naUy equivalent to money, or things constituting wealth. Cash,
in commerce, signifies ready money* or actual coin paid on the
instant* and is from the Frendi word catsse, a coffer or chest
in which money \% kept Pound never was a coin i the term
was originally employed to signify a pound weight of silver,
but afterwards it was employed to mean twenty shillings in tale,
or by counting* Guinea took its name from the coast of
Guinea in Africa, whence the gold for It was originally brought;
at first, the piece was current at twenty shillings, afterwards it
was equal to'2Xs. 6d., and finally settled at ais. In the pres>
ent day the guinea is not coined, and the term only remains to
indicate ais. Honorary fees and gifts are still usually reck*
<med in guineas, though paid in other money. SkUUng and
famy are both from Saxon words ; the penny was first coined
in silver. Groat was a name given to silvex pieces equal to

four pennies in value, coined by Edward IIL ; the word groit
is a corruption of grosses or great pieces, and was given to dis-
tinguish this laiger coinage from pennies or small coins.
Farthing is a corruption ol/ourthingp or the fourth part of &


What is termed money in the United States now consists of
gold, silver, nickel and composition coins, and the paper cur«
rency, or bUk, issued by the banks under a national banking

In compliance with the first section of the Act of March 3,
1873, the director of the mint made the subjoined estimate of
the value in United States money of the standard coins of
foreign countries, and by order of the Secretary of the Treas-
ury, January x, 1880. these rates were to be taken in estimat-
ing the values of all foreign merchandise made out in any of
said currencies, imported on and after that date.

Austria ••




British Pos. inN. A..
Central America. . . •





France ••••

Great Britain

Greece.. ••..

German Empire*. ....
India. ••• .... •••••.


Mexico •••

Netherlands ...•••••


Pern ....•.•••.••••.
Portugal ..•••••••••

Russia •••

Sandwich Islands. . . .



Switzerland. . . ..«. . • •

Tripoli — •••


U. S. of Colombia... •


Franc. .•• ••••


Milreis, 1,000 reis....






Pound, 100 IHasters.*


Pound Sterling

Drachma •


Rupee, x6 annas

Lira •••

Yen (gold)






Milreis, X,ooo reis. . .
Rouble, xoo copecks.


Peseta, xoo centimes.
Crown .••••.••.••••


Mahbub, 20 piasters..



» •• . • ••• • •





Gold and Silver.

Silver • ..


Gold <


Silver . •


Gold and Silver....


Gold and Silver....

vjOlQ .............


Gold and Silver.. . .
Gold and Silver.. . .

Oliver ............

Gold and Silver. • .

wOlCl «...•«.......



diiver ............


Gold and SHver....


Gold and Silver... . .

OOlQ. ............



. . . ... ... ... (















5, xo, and 20 francs.


Condor, doubloon, and escuda

xo and 20 crowns.


5, 10^ 25, and 50 piasters.

5, xa and 20 francs.

i sovereign and sovereign.

5, xo, 20, 50 and 100 dradmiaa.

5, xo, and 20 marks.

5, xo^ 20, 50, and 100 lire.
X, 2, 5, xo, and 20 yen.

Peso or dollar, 5, xo^ 25 and 50 centavoA

10 and 20 crowns.


2, 5, and XO milrds.

4, i, and i rouble.

5, xo^ 20, 50, and xoo pesetas;,
xo and 20 crowns.

xo, and 20 francs.

35, 50, xoo^ 250^ and 500 piasteit.

The gold pieces are :

t. The double eagle, or $20 piece. Coinage of the donUe
eagle was au thorized by the Act of March 3, 1849. Its weight is
516 grains. Its fineness is 90a (This technical form of ex*
pression means that 900 parts In x,ooo are pure metal,
the other loo parts are alloy.) The amount of coinage of the
double eagle is far greater than that of all the other gold
l^eces of the country.

2. The eagle^ or |xo piece. Its coinage was authorized by

the Act of April 2, X792. The weight was first established hf
law at 270 grains, but was changed forty-two years afterward,
by the Act of June 28, X834, to 258 grains, where it has re-
mained ever since. Its fineness was in the beginning mado
9X6|, but was dhanged by the Act of June 28, X834, the tame
Act that lowered its weight, to 899.225. Two years and a half
subsequently its fineness was increased — less than one part in
a thousand— to 90a Its weight and fiaenesi liave remained
thus fixed t3 the pitseni day.

Digitized by




3. The half eagle, or 9$ piece. This elegant coin has un-
dergone the same vicissitudes as the eagle. Its coinage was
aathorized by the same Act of April 2, 1792. Its weight was
135 grains and its fineness 916!. By the Act of June 28,
1834, iu weight was reduced to 129 grains and its fineness to
890.225. By the act of January 16, 1857, its fineness was
slightly raised to the uniform standard of 900. Its weight
and fineness have thus remained to our time.

4. The quarter eagle» or $2.50 piece. This fine coin be-
longs to the same family with the eagle and half eagle. Its
coinage was authorized, its weight and fineness correspond,
ingly altered by the same Acts. The statute of 1792 made its
weight 67.5 grains and its fineness 916!. Its weight was
reduced to 64.5 grains and its fineness to 800.225 hy the Act
of i834« The Act of 1837 raised its fineness to 90a

5. The dollar. This pretty little gold piece was created by
the Act of March 3, 1849, the same Act that authorized the
coinage of the double eagle. It has remained unchanged.
Its we'^ht is 25.8 grains and its fineness 900.

6. Three-dollar piece. An act of February 21, 1853, estab-
lished this irregular coin. Its weight, 77.4 grains, and its
fineness, 900, are of the normal standard, and have not been
changed by subsequent Acts

In gold coin the alloy was at first a compound of silver and
copper. It was forbidden by statute that the alloy should be
more than half silver. It is now nearly all copper, owing to
advances in the art of assaying and improved methods in

There are four coining mints, located at Philadelphia, Pa. ;
San Francisco, Cal. ; Carson City, Nev. ; and New Orleans,
La., the last one being put in operation on January 20, 1879.
The largest proportion of assaying and refining is done at New
York City ; Helena, Montana ; Boise City, Idaho ; and Den-
ver, Colorado.

The Philadelphia Mint is capable of turning out about
91,500,00c in coined money a month ; the San Francisco Mint
$1,000,000, the Carson City Mint $500,000, and the New
Orleans Mint about 500.000 pieces of various denominations.
Under the law of February 28, 1878, which required that be-
tween 2,000,000 and 4,000,000 of the new (" Bland **) dollars
should be turned out by the mints every month, the coining
facilities of the government were severely tested to produce
this particular silver coin, and maintain the usual supply of
gold and subsidiary coins. Silver is sent from the assay offices
to the mints pure, or 999 fine, which is about as pure as silver
can be. It is sent in large bars, and, when received at the
mint, is melted and alloyed with copper. Coin silver is 900

The first silver coins were struck in 1794 (authorized in
1792), at the Philadelphia Mint, and consisted of 1,758 dollars
and 10 600 half dollars, and a few half dimes (5 cents), more
for curiosities than use. In the succeeding year the issue was
203,033 dollars, 323,038 half dollars, no quarters, no dimes,
and 86wJi6 half dimes. In 1796 the mint coined only 72,920
dollars and 3,918 half dollars, with 2,948 quarters. In 1797
the number of dollars issued was 2,776, and the mint records
state that there were no half dollars and only 252 quarters.
Dollars only were coined in 1798. In 1796 the head of Liberty

was changed, and a new head, inferior in point of oomdlBeM^
substituted. This also had flowing locks, but these were boond
by a broad fillet, and hence the name " fillet dollars. " In
1798 there were no halves nor quarters, and there were none
in 1799, ^^^ again in i8oa But in the foUowing year ibt
half dollars were commenced again, being of the fillet series*
with the heraldic eagle on the rcTerse.

1804 is the annus mirabilis of the American sUrer ocnns.
According to the records, 19,570 dollars were issued, 156,519
halves, and 6,738 quarters. There are but two dollars of 1804
known to exist, and these are said to have been struck sorrep-
titiously from the original die at the Philadelphia mint in 1827.
The value of these two to nundsmatidans b enormous ; as high
as $1,000 has been refused for one of them.

The first dollar pieces (1792) contained 416 grains of silver
of 892. 7 fineness, and thb proportion was maintained nntfl
1873, when the quantity of silver was reduced to 412.5 grains,
and the fineness increased to 90a The fifty-cent pieces, from
1792 to 1837, contained 208 grains, 892.7 fineness, and tha
twenty-five cent pieces a proportionate amount ; and both
were subjected to a reduction in number of grains and increase
in fineness in 1873. The ten-cent pieces contained 41.6
grains, of standard fineness, and now bear 38.58 grains nnder
the new standard of fineness. From 1851 to 1853, the five-
cent pieces were composed of 12.375 gnuns, 750 fine, and from
1853 to 1873, when their coinage was abolished, 11.52 grains,
900 fine. The old copper cents, authorized in 1792, contained
264 grains ; the next year the amount was reduced to 208, and
three years later to 168. As a purely copper token this coin
was abolished shortly after the last reduction in the number of
grains. The two-cent piece of April, 1864, contained 96
grains of copper, zinc, and tin. and was discontinued in 1873.
The half -cent pieces were established in 1792, containing 13a
grains; this amount was reduced in 1793 to 104, and in 1796
to 84 None are coined now. An Act of March, 1875,
authorized the coinage of a silver twenty-cent piece, contain-
ing 77. 16 grains, 900 fine. This coin being but a trifle smaller
than the twenty-five cent piece, led to such a general confusion
of the two, that in 1878 its coinage was stopped. But few arc
now found in circulation. The one-cent piece of present use
was authorized in 1857, and consisted of 72 grains of copper
and nickel, and in 1864 this composition was changed to 48
grains of copper, zinc, and tin. Finally, the five and three
cent nickel pieces were authorized in z866 and 1865 respect-
ively ; the latter has a comparatively small circulation.

The amount of standard silver dollars coined from February
28. 1878, to October 31, 1882, was $128.329880, of which
$93,006,382 remained in the Treasury, and $35,323,498 was
placed in circulation. Of the $30,007,175 coined in the tbit*
teen months preceding October 31, 1882, $2,950,072 wenv
into circulation, and $27,057,103 remained in the Treas

The total value of the minor coin in the Treasury on Sep-
tember I, 1882, was $504,515.29. The supply of five-ceni
nickel coins in the Treasury, which three years previoas
reached the sum of $1,184,252.95, had been exhausted, and
their coinage was resumed by the mint None of these
are supplied by the Treasury, but the one-cent and fiv

Digitized by




pieces are furnished in mnUiples of $ao by the Mint, which
bears the expense of their tnnsportation.

Savings Banka.— These are banks for recdTing and taking
charge of small sums, the sayings of indastijj and were insti-
tnted for the benefit of woikmen and others who were able to
spare a little from their earnings. It is beliered that Quaker
thrift in Philadelphia, Pa., led to the inception of the idea,
and that the first savings bank In the world was founded in
that city in 1816. As the scheme grew in popularity through,
out the United States, guardians of minor children, adminis-
trators of estates of deceased persons, and other holders of
trust funds, found the savings banks very serviceable as places
of deposit for money that had to be laid away for a specified
period of time. Hence, the exigencies of business transac-
tions forced an innovation upon the original plan. In the
United States this use of savings banks is still maintained ;
but during the past fifteen years Safe Deposit and Trust Com-
panies have been numerously established for the special pur*
pose of holding funds, both in trust and in legal dispute, be-
sides securities of all kinds, jewelry, diamonds, and articles
of like value* Thus a guardian, an administrator, or a society
will invest money in Government, State, or City bonds, or, if
permitted by the terms of trust, in real estate or stock of
^ various corporations, and place the bond, certificate of stock,
or other acknowledgment of the indebtedness, with a Safe De-
posit or Trust Company, for safe-keeping. The savings banks
are allowed by law to invest their money in first-class securi-
ties only, so as to prevent their officers from using the fund in
the irregular pursuit of ** wild cat " speculations.

The average rate of interest allowed by savings banks in the
United States on deposits is four per cent. ; it b frequently
below that rate. Some of the larger banks will not permit in-
dividual deposits beyond a special amount at one time, while
others decrease the rate of interest as the amount of deposits
increases, claiming that their vast aggregates of deposits cannot
be invested, under the law, in a manner that will warrant the
maximum rate of interest after paying current expenses.

From Philadelphia the original conception or plan of the
savings bank extended all over the United States, throughout
the United Kingdom, France, and other countries. Several
Acts of Parliament were successively passed between 181 7 and
1828 for the regulation of savings banks in England ; and in
the year last mentioned the whole of these were consolidated
in one statute (9 Geo. IV., chap. 92). This Act, together with
another passed in 1833, conferring additional and important
privileges on savings banks (3 Will. IV., chap. 14), constitutes
the existing law relative to these establisliments. In 1835 the
Act was extended to Scotland.

Savings banka established according to the provisions of
these acts are entitled National Security Savings Banks, be-
cause the money deposited in them is paid into the Bank of
England on account of government, whereby the nation be-
comes security for the amount of deposits— a security reckoned
the best of all that could be given to the depositors. The in*
terest given by government on the sums so deposited is £$
t6s. Did. per cent per annum, whatever may be the fluctua-
tions in the value of the public funds during the term of in-
vestment This rate of interest being higher than what gov-

ernment could otherwise borrow money for, it happens that
the public are really losing money annually by their generosity.
The rate of interest payable to the depositors is ^3 Ss. sid.
per cent, per annum.

Deposits of from one skiili$tg to thirty pounds may be re-
ceived by these banks ; but no individual depositor is allowed
to lodge more than thirty pounds in one year, or than ;6'50 in
whole. Charitable and provident institutions may lodge funds
to the amotmt of ;f loo in a single year, or /300 in all ; and
friendly societies are permitted to deposit the whole of their
funds, whatever may be their amount Compotmd interest is
given on the sums lodged, the interest being added to tha
principal at the end of each year in some banks, and at the
end of each half-year in others, and interest af tenvards allowed
on the whole. Any depositor may receive, on demand, the
money lodged by him, if it do not amount to a considerable
sum ; and even in that case it will be returned on a few dajrs*,
or at most two or three weeks' notice. Practically, payment
is always made on demand.

Several new features of taking care of small savings have
been instituted that deserve mention in this connection. Let
us glance first at the operations of the so-called creditors' loan
societies of Germany, founded by Schulze-Delitzsch. and which
practically discharge the function of banks for workingmen.
In 1S78 these numbered upwards of 1,800, and the balances
reported by 929 show aggregate advances for the year amount-
ing to (375,000,000— a sum which, distributed among the
laboring population, should have afforded material relief in a
time of financial stringency. The 929 reporting societies
contain nearly half a million members, and the funds deposited
in the year ending January i, 1878, amounted to nearly
t90,ooo.ooa It appears that the total transactions for that
twelvemonth exceeded those of 1876 by over $6,000,000, and
the proportion of capital to deposits was about two per cent
better than in the year before. The aggregate capital of all
the co-operative societies organized by Schulze-Delitzsch. and
reporting to the central office (including those intended for
production and consumption as well as credit) is $40,ooo,ooa

Impressive testimony to the stability and usefulness of
these workmen's banks is the success with which they have
withstood the recent prostration of industry and commerce in
the German Empire. Indeed, the system is so well accred-
ited by experience that it has been introduced in other parts of
Europe, and especially in Italy and Belgium, where co-oper-
ative credit banks have become numerous enough to form
unions, and hold congresses.

The second of these novel schemes is the system of Penny
Banks, introduced into England in X857, the first being
opened at Greenock, where five thousand depositors availed
themselves of its advantages in the first year. From year to
year penny banks have been on the increase, and from recent
statistics it has been shown that at the present time progrett
is in every way satisfactory.

Rapid as has been the progress of the penny-bank mof«*
ment in England, it is far behind France and Belgium. In
both those countries, school banks have been instituted with
much greater success than has hitherto crowned the attempt
made in England, and it is to the development of

Digitized by




tchool-banks that the xnanrelons increase in the total amount
deposited in savings banks generally is to be attributed. In
France, the xnoTement is of very recent origin ; nevertheless,
up to December, 1866, penny banks had been introduced into
fifty-three out of eighty-two departments, 3,200 school banks
were established, and no fewer than 230.000 scholars had de-
posited in excess of the total limit, and had transferred their
accounts to ordinary savings banks.

In Belgium an admirable plan is adopted. Prizes are given
by the government to elementary scholars for general profi-
ciency, in the shape of a deposit book, with a small sum en-
tered therein to the credit of the recipient. In this way good
conduct is rewarded, and in addition a practical lesson in
thrift is imparted. In the years X873-5, 1,051 deposit books
were distributed in this way.

Mr. Oulton, the chairman of the School Management Com-
mittee of the Liverpool School Board, advocates that a sav-
ings bank should be established in every school in the king-
dom ; not merely that the school building should be used for
the purpose, as it very properly is already in many neighbor-
hoods, but that the penny bank should be " an element in the
school routine, the text-book of thrift, the visible illustration
in the object lesson of economy. .... Penny banks should be
to the lesson on thrift what pen, ink and paper are to the les-
son on writing — the necessary concomitant" He pointed, as
an evidence of the utility of these banks, to the Liverpool
Penny Savings Bank Association, formed to sustain and ex-
tend the system of penny banks in and around Liverpool, and
to promote their efficiency and good management. In the re-
port for the year ending November 20th, 1877, it was shown
that in seventy-four banks organized by this association, there
had been 295,800 transactions during the year, ;f 14,931 lis.
lod. had been deposited, ;C9.40i 12s. 5d. withdrawn, and
^4.063 13s. transferred to the Liverpool Savings Bank in the
depositors' own names. There was at the end of the year an
aggregate balance of ^^4,844 9s. id. due to 22,749 depositors.

One of the most pleasing features in connection with the
movement is that so many of these banks avail themselves of
the advantages offered by the Post Office Savings Bank as re-
gards the gratuitous supply of books and information, and the
investment of their funds with the government, thus obtaining
a guaranty for their absolute security. This leads to a con-
sideration of a third scheme. The report of the Postmaster
General published in July, 1877, gives the following particu-
lars. During 1876, authority was given for one hundred and
seventy-two penny banks in various parts of the United King-
dom to invest their funds in the Post Office Savings Bank, and
since that time the progress has been even more remarkable,
one hundred and seventeen penny banks having been author-
ized during the quarter ending March 31st, 1877, exceeding
by forty-one the number during the corresponding quarter in
1876. Of these two hundred and eighty-nine penny banks,
eighteen were in board schools, twenty in Sunday schools, and
thirty in other schools, one being in a Poor-law Union-
school, under the management of the master and chaplain of
the workhouse. Farthing deposits are received from these
paMper children, and as much as £4 i8s. was invested on be-
half of the penny bank between April and December, 1876.

In England, at the close of the year 1876, after sixteen yearf
operation, the Postal Savings Bank had realized a net profit
of over |5i500,ooa

Shortly after the confederation of the provinces of the Do-
minion, the Post Office Act of 1867 was adopted by Parliament,
and the formation of the Po«t Office Savings Bank was pro-
vided for. On the foUowing xst of April, the system went
into operation, and at the end of the first quarter eighty^one
oflkes had been established throughout the Dominion. On
June 30th, 1869, two hundred and thirteen offices had been
opened, and that number has been increased gradually until
on June 30th, 1877, there were two hvndred and eighty-seven
branches in existence.

At the close of the fiscal year 1877, there had been 324,663
deposits made, and they amounted in all to $16,504^52. Of
that amount $i»725,300 had been invested in Dominion five
per cent stock ; $12,998,334 had been withdrawn, and the
balance, standing to the credit of open accounts, and drawing
interest, was $2,639,937. During the nine yean and three
months in which the bank had been doing business 90,416 ac-
counts had been opened, 66,342 closed, and on June 30, 1877,
24,074 were open. The average amoimt of each aocoimt open
was $109. 6a Interest to the amount of $859,319 had been
allowed depositors. Each deposit averaged about $50, and
the withdrawals $75. .The average cost of each transaction —

Online LibraryNugent RobinsonCollier's cyclopedia of commercial and social information and treasury of ... → online text (page 131 of 148)