Hello all, my apologies for not having posted any material sooner. Like Dad says, “one excuse is as good as another”. The first quarter of the year has been pretty busy for the shop. Picking up new material from the mint and attending several coin shows and the first quarter is gone.
We were able to slide into the Tidewater Coin Club show in Virginia Beach in mid-February for two days. The drive down was nice and the weather was beautiful. The show was held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center and that place is amazing, plenty of open spaces and extremely well lit. I almost didn’t put up any show lights it was that well lit. The coin club members were extremely helpful especially Rusty from Bay Landing Coins. It was our first time at this show and we made some sales and made some new friends. I hope we can return for the next one. We were able to sell a number of American Silver Eagles but the highlight was a 1920’s $20 double eagle in MS 65 condition. It really made the show for us.
In March we went up to Winchester for a one day show. Thanks and kudos to Doug and Ginny Bowers of Dougin Collectibles for the invite. Dad had purchased a small collection of commemorative gold sets and they were a big seller. Gold was definitely the hot commodity for us that day. The show was well attended and traffic was steady most of the afternoon.
After meeting and talking with our customers in the shop and at the coin shows I always learn something. A lot of the folks I meet are older or have been collecting a long time. They are very knowledgeable about the hobby in general and their specialty in particular.
I was talking to one of our Morgan Dollar collectors and I was referencing the mintage numbers from the Red Book. He pointed out the mintage numbers and what are actually available in today’s market could be a lot less. Here is where a history lesson comes in. I had never heard of “The Pittman Act” but this federal law is now part of numismatic history. Senator Key Pittman of Nevada introduced bill S.4292 which was passed on April 22, 1918. His good friend President Wilson signed the bill the next day. Here is an idea of what the act consisted of:
“…to conserve the gold supply of the United States; to permit the settlement in silver of trade balances adverse to the United States; to provide silver for subsidiary coinage and for commercial use; to assist foreign governments at war with the enemies of the United States; and for the above purposes to stabilize the price and encourage the production of silver.”
There was a lot of drama and world history involved in this federal law. Some of the key players on this world stage were German propaganda “attacking” the paper currency in India. India was under the rule of Great Britain and needed some silver bullion to back the paper rupee in India. The printing of Federal Reserve Notes in 1918 and the printing of Silver Certificates in 1923 were also consequences of this act. Where I’m going is this…over 270,000,000 standard silver dollars were melted! The melted coins were converted to silver bullion and sold to Great Britain. Maybe the 1891 S (a common date) isn’t so common. What about the Carson City Morgan’s? They are among the least minted of the Morgan series. How many of them became victim’s of The Pittman Act? The main focus was melting the coinage and turning it into silver bullion. For the Morgan collector, what coins that were melted remain a mystery.
It is estimated that in 1905 the total number of silver dollars in circulation was over 568,000,000. Morgan dollar production had ceased after 1904 and would not resume until years later in 1921. This is a new story to me but an old one to the long-time Morgan dollar collector, I’m sure. Perhaps this explains a little of why the Morgan is such a popular coin to collect. I do see a lot of them when we go to shows. The mintage numbers as indicated in the Red Book does not represent what is actually available. I suppose that I could search the grading company’s registry records. Take a look and at how many of any given year have been certified. At least with the key dates…sounds like a good rainy day project.
Have a great spring and hope to see you in the shop or at a show!