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How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US

Posted by DirtyJohn 
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
April 05, 2016 01:59PM
The first United States/American gold coin was minted in 1795........(and was a $5 Half Eagle).

* Over 99% of ALL the U.S. gold coins manufactured/minted from 1795 to June 28, 1834 were shipped overseas (for commerce purposes) and were melted. (Q. David Bowers). This was due to the lucrative/profitable/exceptional gold content/weight.

And this is exactly 'why' you may never find a AMERICAN/U.S. gold coin at sites that were active only from 1795 - 1834. ((( If you find a gold coin during this time-frame occupation ...... it is more apt to be of Spanish denomination. )))

* U.S. Gold coins became extremely 'circulation' popular in the 1840's .... onward.

* Prior to June 28, 1834....... foreign gold coins were in common circulation in America.
(((Spanish, French, British... etc...........,,,,,,,,,,,............ where your Great-Great Grandparents came from.)))

The significance of June 28, 1834: The weight of gold coins were reduced .... just enough..... to deter the hoarding/melting/exporting of these coins........ so they could/would be used for commerce in America......which was their original design intent. . . . . . . . and .... would stabilize the economy ........ and would double as a 'strength' of a Nation.
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
April 05, 2016 04:30PM
I remember you saying that the military paid in gold and silver during the latter part of the 1870's on up. I have an old army base from that era that I hunt a lot with the F75 DST. No luck yet finding any gold but I have found some silver from that era there.

I am assuming that the coinage used to pay were probably small denomination coins like the $1.00 and $5.00 so I have been digging all the way down to foil signals. It's just a matter of time before I find one (I hope).


HH
John
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
April 05, 2016 05:29PM
John,

It's actually 1840's on up. All denominations. But...... yes.... the $1, $2.50, $3, $5 & $10 were the most popular.

Foil....... thru Zinc Penny conductivity.
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
April 05, 2016 05:59PM
NASA-Tom Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> John,
>
> It's actually 1840's on up. All denominations.
> But...... yes.... the $1, $2.50, $3, $5 & $10 were
> the most popular.
>
> Foil....... thru Zinc Penny conductivity.


Thanks Tom,

You're right, 1840's on up. I was probably thinking 1870's because that's what this base dates to.

I figured small denomination coins because it's the military and they are not known for their high pay, but I don't have to tell you that.

The only thing about this base that drives me crazy is the tons of brass casings scattered everywhere that's worth hunting. They all hit in the mid 60's.

HH
John



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/05/2016 06:00PM by DirtyJohn.
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
May 11, 2017 02:20AM
((( Are folks afraid to 'bump' this thread up? ...... especially when it has been requested? )))
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
May 11, 2017 09:43PM
Tom,

Since this thread has been revived:

What about information on the circulation of California gold coins, particularly the half and quarter dollar varieties. These are extremely small coins (smaller than a trime).
I can't imagine people carrying them in their pocket or purse.

They are hard to find and I've only seen two mentioned on MD websites.

Were they used much as currency or just a coin of interest and put away for keepsake?

Thanks
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
May 12, 2017 02:56AM
Tom D, thanks for the "bump" of this great thread. So I'll jump in to beat a dead horse winking smiley

You are aware that of 240-ish coins found at camp Floyd (1858 - 1861), that better than 40% of them were gold. Why don't you think we see that gold coin ratios, at Western military sites dating to the decade or two after that ? Eg.: later 1860s and then 70s and then 80s military sites seem to be strictly silver.
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
May 13, 2017 04:25PM
jak135 = The California gold fractionals did indeed circulate...... and quite frequently/regularly; yet, they were 'somewhat' looked upon as "California nostalgic". Common folk could afford to have them. They were a California 'pride' mind-set.....of the time; yet, as much as they were loved....... there was great concern of 'excessively easily lost' due to their tiny size. The 1/2 and 1/4 dollar gold coins all ID in the chewing gum foil range. And..... their detectability is quite difficult...... because they are tiny.

Tom...... after April, 1862 ...... gold coins just simply did not circulate..... for nearly a decade. Folks had them........ they just simply held on to them dearly. What's interesting about 'out West' is......... during certain time-periods.......... gold was so overabundant .... that it was (somewhat) """reduced-value mindset""".......... and silver was more-so respected and utilized. California was pumping out 'volumes' of gold; whilst, silver production volume remained about the same........ which....... when this continued for a fairly lengthy period of time.......... the "ratio" of gold.....vs.....silver became imbalanced. Gold 'value' was somewhat 'unstable'............ whilst silver 'value' was somewhat 'stable'.

The 1870's. = Gold returned to circulation......... incrementally. Value and stability of gold was being 'tested'. Folks were still a little apprehensive of golds stability. Military Post Commanders were nearly the sole dictating factor as to: "Should my troops be paid with gold?............ or with silver?" The "out West" Military Post Commanders" had been 'burned' before; subsequently, they were even more scared/apprehensive to reelect the utilization of gold coin...... where they 'could' recur....be burned again.

The 1880's = Gold had now 'proven' its stability (via the 1870's). Sooooooo......... it was fairly common in circulation...once again. "Old school mind-set" did indeed still exist; yet, folks were more willing to 'trust'. The sudden inrush/flood of gold into population (and subsequent coinage circulation) from the 1849, 1850 & 1851 era was long-gone. This stability allowed for more consistency-of-trust.......... but for various reasons............ gold coins just did not circulate quite as much as compared to the 1850's. The California gold rush ......... in short order.......... sure did 'tilt' the balance of the scale. . . . . . and with a fairly long-lasting ripple-effect.
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
May 13, 2017 05:22PM
NASA-Tom Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ((( Are folks afraid to 'bump' this thread up? ...
> ... especially when it has been requested? )))


Thanks for the BUMP Tom D! Didn't know this thread existed until now!!
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
May 14, 2017 01:51AM
((( And I have that concern with a few other key threads. )))
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
May 14, 2017 03:23AM
NASA-Tom Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ((( And I have that concern with a few other key t
> hreads. )))


Does the forum software offer post stickies?
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
May 14, 2017 01:20PM
Cal_cobra Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> NASA-Tom Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > ((( And I have that concern with a few other key
> t
> > hreads. )))
>
>
> Does the forum software offer post stickies?

Good idea! If not Tom, just BUMP them to the top!
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
May 15, 2017 12:30PM
No ..... this forum software does not support stickies.

And....... I may just bump a few pertinent threads. Feel free to do the same!.....as you see fit. For instance.... the: Rcpt Ack of F75 LTD Proto thread is nearly exactly applicable to/for the Impact.
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
May 20, 2017 01:45AM
I wish this one could tell a story: [www.ebay.com]
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
May 25, 2017 11:24AM
Bump.........
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
May 27, 2017 01:05AM
Quote
NASA-Tom
The $1 gold coin was in HEAVY HEAVY circulation from November, 1849 to April, 1862. Remember, the Silver Dollar DID NOT EXIST for CIRCULATION during this window/era!!!!! Sooooooo. it was ONLY the $1 gold coin that was available.....during this era.

I always wondered why the Feds minted seated silver dollars from 1840-1873. Peak mintages up to 1870 usually ranged from 100,000-400,000 per year with the 1849-1862 topping 730,000 in 1860 (515,000 produced in New Orleans alone.). Unlike early Morgan dollars, none of these big seated coins were hoarded in banks.

On the other hand, the Philadelphia mint produced between 2,000,000-4,000,000 $1 gold coins each year from 1851-1853.
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
September 01, 2017 03:18PM
((( Kent........ for consolidation purposes........ can you post the data here? THANKS! )))
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
September 01, 2017 04:43PM
Gold Coin Circulation During the Antebellum Period

The period from 1847 through 1861 is the sweet spot for Military sites with potential for a gold coin find. The reason for this was the "Specie Clause" of the Independent Treasury Act of 1846. The specie clause stated;

That on the first day of January, in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-seven, and thereafter, all duties, taxes, sales of public lands, debts, and sums of money accruing or becoming due to the United States, and also all sums due for postages, or otherwise, to the General Post-office Department, shall be paid in gold or silver coin only, or in Treasury notes issued under the United States...

The law also required that all funds paid out was to be in gold, silver, or Treasury Notes (short term Govt. bonds with interest payable in gold, not greenbacks). This part of the law stated;

...every officer or agent engaged in making disbursements on account of the United States, or of the General Post-Office, shall make all payments in gold and silver coin or in Treasury notes, if the creditor agree to receive notes in payment...

Army payrolls had to be in gold or silver, and transporting large sums of money from the nearest Subtreasury in either San Francisco or Chicago in the form of silver alone would have been impractical. Therefore, I believe the troops were paid mainly in gold coins, with just enough silver to make change. In the book (In Search of Johnston's Army by Duane A. Bylund) one soldier indicated in a letter that he and his fellow soldiers spent all of their time gambling and drinking. Combine drunk soldiers with handling tiny gold coins and you have a recipe for lots of lost gold.

The party was over by February 1862 when the Legal Tender Act was passed. This act repealed the Specie Clause and authorized the issue of 150 million in greenbacks which were used to pay the troops and military suppliers. The banks were no longer able to supply gold and silver to the public because they had loaned all that they had to the US Treasury. This resulted in suspension of specie payments (banks could no longer pay out gold and silver coins on demand). Most of the gold coins that have been found in Civil War camps are dated 1862 or earlier. All through the rest of the war the troops were paid in greenbacks which depreciated with every military setback by the Union Army. It was not until January 1879 that gold coins returned to circulation for most of the US until 1916 when there was a World-Wide shortage of specie brought on by WWI. California, and to some extent Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon largely refused to accept the greenback and gold coins were used there continuously though this whole time period.

Other factors have affected gold coin circulation over the years, including the official gold:silver ratio, the market price of gold vs silver and Gresham's Law. I will post more if people are interested.

Kent



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/01/2017 04:51PM by BigSkyGuy.
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
September 01, 2017 05:31PM
Definitely interested. More, please.
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
September 01, 2017 06:06PM
marcomo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Definitely interested. More, please.


+1
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
September 01, 2017 09:35PM
Consolidation of tuitional assets........for all. THANKS KENT!
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
September 02, 2017 01:06AM
Had never done an updated group shot, since my 15th was added January of this year. So lined them all up for a photo this morning, to try a newer smart phone camera as well. Here they are.

I know this thread has had a lot of talk about how Military bases of the 1850s to early '60s have the "best odds". I can't say for certain that any of these were of that origin. Except for the 1835 $5, and the 1847 $10 were found at a place where some USA troops were stationed in CA during the Mexican war. That would be very late 1840s. Not sure whether that era fits in to the distribution/demographics discussion.

The rest are stage stops, beach storms, old-town urban demolition, a resort site, etc....



Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
September 02, 2017 01:40AM
Those are beautiful, Tom. Thanks for sharing.
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
September 02, 2017 02:37AM
Very impressive Tom. Few in this hobby are able to achieve what you have done. Congrats!
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
September 02, 2017 11:13AM
Absolutely stunning. Thanks for sharing.
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
September 02, 2017 11:42AM
WOW! "Out West"......... especially California.......... really educates those of us.....of whom are interested in our past 'mind-set' and history.
Many thanks for sharing (and taking the time) with the fruits of your labor.
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
September 02, 2017 08:54PM
Nice Tom!!

I don't think they dropped any in North Georgia LOL..sad smiley

I've hunted this being my 40th year and I dont think Ive heard but of 3 being dug in my area in that time and they were all by one guy in a camp..30 years ago ...I've about gave up on a Gold coin..If it happens it happens...But not holding my breath,,,I've only found a few reales around here too...now one the GA. coast its different for them and lots of early coinage even gold coins but up here not alot of early(Pre civil War) coinage and surely no gold coins...If the war had not come through here these poor dirt farmers wouldn't of had anything to loose and we would of been at a loss for about anything to dig somewhat OLD...

Nice coin's for sure!!Best pic Ive seen in a while !!!!Looks like you go greedy on them ..LOL I don't blame Ya!!

Keith

“I don't care that they stole my idea . . I care that they don't have any of their own”
-Nikola Tesla
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
September 02, 2017 11:45PM
Absolutely stunning collection. Thanks for sharing.
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
September 03, 2017 01:12AM
Keith Southern Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
.....
>
> I've hunted this being my 40th year and I dont thi
> nk Ive heard but of 3 being dug in my area in that
> time

Keith, this is "telling" from from you, of all people. Because you are renowned as a top-hunter in all metal detecting circles. Ie.: no slouch when it comes to skills, past trophies, etc..... So this goes to show that there is indeed a disparity in the dispersion of west vs east coast.

I can name ~10 people right off the top of my head, just in my county area, that've found them here. A long time hunt partner of mine is up to 7 or 8 now. A few other friends have 1 or 2 each. But JUST TO BE CLEAR: Barring an occasional fluke, they are HARD to find here. Ie.: the average person whom you hear of, that's found them here, tends to be the hard-core guys. Ie.: not park turf or tot-lot hunters.

Some get found by beach hunters after winter storm erosion. And if ever I've heard of lower caliber hunters getting them, this is how they got them. Because when the beach erodes (and news circulates around in the md'ing circles of where-the-action-is), then even a beginner has a chance at a gold coin then. But even then: You'd still have to be extremely lucky. Of the 15 I have, 4 are from beach erosion events. And mind you: This is considering from over 35 yrs. of extreme maniacal beach storm-chasing !
Re: How widely were gold coins dispersed in the US
September 03, 2017 06:49AM
Tom_in_CA, your observations make perfect sense based on my research. As I mentioned in my post, California has always had a love for hard currency. In 1862 when most of the rest of the country was resigned to the fact that greenbacks would be “money” from then on, California absolutely refused to accept paper money of any kind, even the government sanctioned greenback. California passed a law that state taxes must be paid in gold or silver coins. In June 1862 the law was challenged in court on the grounds that the policy conflicted with the Federal law which stated that the greenback was “a legal tender in payment of all debts public and private”. The California Supreme Court ruled that a tax is not a debt and the tax policy was upheld. Contracts in California had special clauses which specified that the sum of money referred to in the contract was to be paid in specie. The merchants of San Francisco met with the aim to prevent debtors from attempting to use the new greenbacks to settle their debts. The group agreed “not to receive or pay out legal-tender notes at any but the market value, gold being adhered to as the standard.” Firms that refused to follow the agreement were listed in a black book and were required to pay for their future purchases in gold. Customers who tried to pay their store accounts using greenbacks were publicly named, ridiculed and shamed in the newspapers as crooks trying to rip off the merchants using depreciated greenbacks. The value of the greenback dropped to as low as 39 cents in gold (in 1864), so paying off a debt in paper money would save the debtor a considerable amount at the expense of the creditor.

The difference in attitude between the East and the Pacific Coast towards gold was stark. This was evident in the way the newspapers reported the relative value between gold and paper money. In California, the greenback was considered to be a commodity to be purchased with gold (i.e. money), and was reported in the newspapers as the amount of gold dollars required to purchase $1 dollar in paper (i.e. 39 cents in gold per $1 greenback), but in the East gold was the commodity and the greenback was the money (as today), and was reported as the amount of greenbacks required to purchase $1 gold dollar. In the late 1860s, during the suspension of specie payments time period (Greenback Era), the government decided it was a convenient time to count the amount of specie present in the country. The way that they did this was to estimate that 25,000,000 in specie was present on the Pacific Coast and the rest was in US Treasury vaults. Apparently, so little gold was circulating in the east that it was not worth counting. The main use of gold in the East at this time was by merchants who traded internationally. Customs duties had to be paid in gold as well as purchases of goods overseas.
Even after the resumption of specie payments in January 1879 gold coins were not popular in the East. During the leadup to resumption, the Government, businessmen, and bankers were concerned that there would not be enough gold available to meet the demand by the public for gold coins. The Treasury Department sold bonds in Europe to build up the gold coin reserve. The reserve coin fund was at $133,508,804.50 on the day that specie resumption began in New York on January 1st. The Secretary of the Treasury reported “Actual resumption commenced at the time fixed by law, without any material demand for coin and without disturbance to public or private business”. “The total amount of United States notes presented for redemption, from January 1 to November 1, 1879, was $11,256,678”. People in the East had become accustomed to thinking of greenbacks as money and did not see the need for gold coins. Gold coins were considered heavy, bulky and cumbersome. A Montana newspaper reported in 1902 that a local businessman had just returned from New York City and he reported that gold is so seldom used there that merchants did not trust themselves to distinguish genuine coins from counterfeit and refused to accept them at all.

Gold coins in the East were, of course used during what I call the "Resumption Era" (1879-1916), but rarely. Most gold coin demand in the East was for Christmas Gifts. Special envelopes or gift boxes were made for $5 or $2.50 gold pieces to present to the recipient. The Mint was well aware of this trend and prepared each year for the Christmas rush. Large companies would often present Christmas gifts in the form of a gold piece to each of their employees (instead of a turkey I guess?). Gold coins were also used in the east for prizes at picnics (oldest couple, cutest baby, largest family, winners of the fat man's race, etc.), company promotions, and contests. One 1900 newspaper article advertised that a $10 gold piece would be presented to 10 children who wrote the most interesting letters describing "the good that has been done them by Grape-Nuts food".

During resumption, gold coin usage did occur in other western areas besides the west Coast (Montana, Idaho, Colorado, the Dakotas, Wyoming, etc.). Once the railroads reached the western states (~1880s) it became more cost effective to ship coins from the nearest Mint to most larger towns. Prior to the 1920s it was common for businesses to pay their employees directly (not by check). Every two weeks or whatever timeframe, they would receive a pay envelope containing their wages. In the west, especially mining companies, would pay their employees using gold and silver coins. In 1964 retired GE President Zay Jeffries reminisced about the good old days (~1913);

After a summer's work in a gold recovery mill near Deadwood, South Dakota, I collected my savings. It was in coins-five twenty-dollar gold pieces, one ten-dollar and one five-dollar gold piece plus enough silver, mostly one-dollar pieces, to make a total weight of about three-quarters of a pound.

Zay’s experience was not unique, accounts of gold pieces being stolen, mistaken for coins of lesser value, or counterfeited in Western papers during this time are numerous. If gold coins were not in circulation why would they be counterfeited, stolen, or mistaken for other coins? Accounts of $5 gold pieces being spent as nickels, and $2.50 pieces being spent as dimes or pennies were numerous.
Based on all of this (everyone still awake?), I would rank the best places (in order) as follows:

1. West Coast (1850-1916)
2. West (1847-1861, 1879-1916)
3. East and South (1847-1861) and perhaps Foreign gold coins during the colonial era through 1836. Prior to 1837, US gold coins did not circulate because the gold they contained was worth more than the face value, so they were melted down.

I am currently compiling a database of gold coin finds by detectorists. The information I would like is;

1. Date and denomination of coin
2. Type of site (house site, park, beach, military site, depot, etc.) for each coin
3. State where found (for each coin)

Tom_in_CA or any others who have been fortunate enough to make such a find (or finds) if you could submit your info it would be greatly appreciated. Currently, all of the data I have are from metal detector manufacturer websites, treasure mags, and forum posts. Once I have your data I will add it to my database and post the results to this thread.

Thank you

Kent
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