The little understood role the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic had on the famous 1921 silver coin rarit

How did some of the greatest 20th century silver rarities/key dates come about in 1921?

It began with the temporary end of the silver bust in 1916 which resulted in a 3 year boom in silver prices:

(1) The World War I which began in 1914 which caused commodity prices to escalate 200% or more between 1914 and 1919.

(2) The commodity prices became inflationary which caused silver prices to run up in sympathy in 1917 to as high as $1.336 in 1919. At such point, it cost the US Mint more than face value to mint the silver coinage.

(3) The third and probably the least remembered factor; A. B. Searle published "The Use of Colloids in Health and Disease." from the British Medical Journal, May 12, 1917. This set into motion an incredible amount of buying of silver by many ordinary citizens as silver was then found to have anti bacterial properties and became all the rage as it was thought that silver could cure all antibacterial diseases.

(4) The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than the Great War, known today as World War I (WWI), at somewhere between 20 and 40 million people. It has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history. More people died of influenza in a single year than in four-years of the Black Death Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351. Known as "Spanish Flu" or "La Grippe" the influenza of 1918-1919 was a global disaster. Many people mistakenly thought silver in colloidal form would help stave people from the influenza epidemic and investors speculated in such silver causing it to peak at over $1.33 an ounce in 1919.



After the influenza epidemic began to subside in late 1919, commodity prices collapsed since consumers and businesses in part were no longer in a buying mood. They were "shellshocked" just from trying to stay alive and free from the flu epidemic. The pandemic affected everyone. With one-quarter of the US and one-fifth of the world infected with the influenza, it was impossible to escape from the illness. Even President Woodrow Wilson suffered from the flu in early 1919 while negotiating the crucial treaty of Versailles to end the World War. Those who were lucky enough to avoid infection had to deal with the public health ordinances to restrain the spread of the disease. The public health departments distributed gauze masks to be worn in public. Stores could not hold sales, funerals were limited to 15 minutes. Some towns required a signed certificate to enter and railroads would not accept passengers without them. This certainly curtailed business activity and started the mini depression of 1920-1921 in which Americans continued to hoard some of their silver coins and didn't need any more nor were they spending much of them (they still believed silver was the cure-all despite the fact that the flu was not a bacterial disease but in fact a viral disease).

This lack of demand created some of the greatest silver coin rarities/key dates of the entire 20th century in 1921, not only in the United States but also in Canada, and I believe in Mexico as well. By 1922, the US Mint ceased minting silver coins entirely except for the 1922 Peace Dollars!!!

The lack of demand in 1920 due to the lack of demand for silver in circulating coinage as well as the mini depression/recession caused a new bust period for silver that lasted until 1950.

How do I know all this?????????? My grandmother died in 1919 from the influenza epidemic. My grandfather made sure I knew all about the history of my grandma Eva. Yet it was my OTHER grandfather who introduced me to coin collecting!!

Here are the 1921 rarities:

1921-P 50c 246,000 2nd rarest walker
1921-D 50c 208,000 1st rarest walker
1921-S 50c 548,000 5th rarest walker

(3 out of the 5 rarest walkers in one year sound pretty rare to me)
Also note that the 1921 year is the rarest year by date of the entire walking liberty half series
Also note that the 1921 dated half is the rarest year by date of the entire 20th century!



1921-P 25c 1,916,000 11th rarest standing liberty quarter but the 2nd rarest P mint quarter after the very rare 1916 sl quarter
1921-D 25c -0-
1921-S 25c -0-
Also note that the 1921 year is the second rarest year by date after the 1916 sl quarter when combining all mints.
Also note that the 1921 dated quarter is the rarest year by date of the entire 20th century!





1921-P 10c 1,230,000 3rd rarest mercury dime
1921-D 10c 1,080,000 2nd rarest mercury dime
1921-S 10c -0-
Also note that the 1921 year is the rarest year by date of the entire mercury dime series.
Also note that the 1921 dated dime is the rarest year by date of the entire 20th century!


The Canadian 1921 silver coins are also incredibly rare!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A Collectors Universe poster since 1997!
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Comments

  • Great post! Thanks for the perspective.
    imageimageimageimage
    Passively seeking 1979 PCGS PR69DCAM T1 and T2 Lincoln Cents
  • I love posts like this.
  • 291fifth291fifth Posts: 16,772 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Excellent post on how an outside event can affect numismatics. One of my grandmother's brothers (then age 10) also died in the the flu epidemic in 1918.
    All glory is fleeting.
  • 19Lyds19Lyds Posts: 26,383 ✭✭✭
    Thanks for taking the time to pass this information on. image
    I decided to change calling the bathroom the John and renamed it the Jim. I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.



    The name is LEE!
  • Wow. I knew that was a bad flu pandemic but I didn't realize it had an effect on silver. Very interesting, thanks for posting.
  • Very interesting post. I also did not realize there was so many death caused by the influenza pandemic.
    - There are 10 kinds of people in this world...those who understand binary and those who don't!
  • LakesammmanLakesammman Posts: 15,444 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thanks for connecting the dots - hadn't realized the connections before.
    "My friends who see my collection sometimes ask what something costs. I tell them and they are in awe at my stupidity." (Baccaruda, 12/03).
    I find it hard to believe that he (Trump) rushed to some hotel to meet girls of loose morals, although ours are undoubtedly the best in the world. (Putin 1/17)
    Gone but not forgotten. IGWT, Speedy, Bear, BigE, HokieFore, John Burns, Russ
  • krankykranky Posts: 8,732 ✭✭✭
    Great, great post! image

    New collectors, please educate yourself before spending money on coins; there are people who believe that using numismatic knowledge to rip the naïve is what this hobby is all about.

  • Excellent thread......... I was out dove hunting about 10 yr.'s ago and found a mound, That i thought was an indian burial site. When i was walking towards it i ran into to an old man who told me that it wasn't. He told me the story of the epidemic, he called the "Swine Flu" and that the mound was a mass grave. He said that so many people died from it they just didn't have the resource's to enbalm the dead. So they started placing them there in layer's. And it eventually it became this large mound. I found the story and history of it in the county archive's. I had just been thinking about this again recently with the new threat of the Asian bird flu and the possibility of another pandemic.

    I also wonder about the impact of our economy and the effect's it might have on the enitre world, and not just the United State's. I suppose only time will tell?image
  • orevilleoreville Posts: 10,869 ✭✭✭
    It would be nice to compile different reasons for different rarities.

    Example; 1991 Canadian quarters are quite scarce since there was a major strike in that year which curtailed minting of the quarters.
    A Collectors Universe poster since 1997!
  • just curious what is meant by silver having anti-bacterial properties if known?
    image
    ----------------------------------------
    jr
  • orevilleoreville Posts: 10,869 ✭✭✭
    cullenbryant:

    just look up "colloidal silver" in yahoo or google. They are over 2,900,000 web sites explaining the 80 plus year record of silver in colloidal form which appears to have antibiotic properties although the FDA has chosen to ignore such claims and also refuses even to conduct or review independent controlled studies to confirm or refute such claims.

    A Collectors Universe poster since 1997!
  • Oreville,

    Man, I love it when you teach class!! image

    Glad I caught this one image


    Todd image




    “We are only their care-takers,” he posed, “if we take good care of them, then centuries from now they may still be here … ”
  • thanks oreville, never heard of this before. I'm not sure how though as big of a business as
    it is.
    I found a website with a lot of info and i'm going to read it. It had some interesting tid bits
    that i thought i would post:

    Silver is a powerful, natural prophylactic/antibiotic, used for

    thousands of years. Ancient Greeks lined their eating and

    drinking vessels with silver, as did many other cultures

    throughout the world.(5)

    Pioneers of the American West would put a silver dollar in a

    jug of milk to keep it fresh without refridgeration.(6)

    Did you ever wonder why silverware was made from silver?

    One of the properties of silver is that it kills bacteria on

    contact in six minutes or less.(7) It may be that gold and

    silver were first used as valued currency because of their

    medical properties.
    image
    ----------------------------------------
    jr

  • Interesting post Oreville - Thanks image
    image
    My posts viewed image times
    since 8/1/6
  • fcfc Posts: 12,697 ✭✭✭
    thanks for the interesting facts.
  • Oreville, you have great reads, but I disagree with you on one major aspect of your story, and I have brought this up before when this "era" has come up:

    WHAT LACK OF DEMAND/SILVER BUST OF THE 1920'S????

    The Pitman Act of 1918 melted OVER 270 MILLION silver dollars. WHY? Well, jus tlike you expressed, the price of silver was worth more than the coin. This wasnt the first time this had happened in history.

    But to say the mint resorted to only minting silver dollars in 1922, is misleading. You make it sound like there was a shortage demand for silver bullion then. NOT THE CASE. LOOK AT HOW MANY SILVER DOLLARS WERE MINTED IN 1921 AND 1922. IT MORE THAN MADE UP FOR ALL THE LOWER DENOMINATIONS THAT WERE PUT TO REST TEMPORARILY.

    $85,000,000 morgans and peace dollars in 1921, and $84,000,000 peace dollars in 1922. These numbers DESTROYED previous silver dollar mintages in the past for ANY PREVIOUS YEAR BY OVER 50%!!!

    GOLD still had a value higher than the coins in circulation, but silver had started to come down, (I guess this would be the bust) and the mint now justified the silver dollar bundles. They were making them as fast as they could - the Pitman act melted too many, and there was now a need more than ever for them.

    About the only "rarities" of the early 1920's are the Proof Peace dollars, the 1921 Saint (mainly because of melting) and the 1922 NO D Lincoln Cent. But to me, as a purist, believe the TRUE rarities are those that occur as naturally as possible, and no silver ones come to mind in the early 1920's.


    The Accumulator - Dark Lloyd of the Sith

    image
  • orevilleoreville Posts: 10,869 ✭✭✭
    lloydmincy: Ok, lets analyze your post (this is fun, having a debate!!!)



    << <i>WHAT LACK OF DEMAND/SILVER BUST OF THE 1920'S >>



    First of all, the general public was not demanding the millions of 1921 Morgan silver dollars and 1922 Peace Dollars even taking into consideration the melting down 270 million silver dollars.

    In reality, the silver dollars were not in favor in the populous Easterners (east of the Mississippi River) and only the dimes and quarters were in heavy demand among the average American as far as silver coinage with halves also circulating to a lesser extent until 1919. When the 1919-1922 era hit, demand for small silver coinage plunged. Simple as that.

    How can we prove this? Simple; look at the huge number of bags and rolls saved of the 1921 Morgans and 1922 and 1923 Peace Dollars that never saw circulation. I daresay that close to 60% of the 1921 Morgans and 1922-1923 Peace silver dollars never circulated except sitting in huge and smaller bank and mint bags collecting large number of bag marks while being moved within Federal Reserve Banks or within the US Mint loacations. They gathered dust for the most part.





    << <i>You make it sound like there was a shortage demand for silver bullion >>



    Never indicated or implied there was a shortage of demand for silver bullion. Instead there was a shortage of demand for silver COINS meaning the mid priced coins of 10c denomination through 50c denomination. Even the 5c denomination saw lessened demand than usual in the post 1919 era. The economic recession/depression played a huge role in this lessened demand as explained in my previous post.





    << <i>but silver had started to come down, (I guess this would be the bust) and the mint now justified the silver dollar bundles. They were making them as fast as they could - the Pitman act melted too many, and there was now a need more than ever for them. >>



    Well, I never commented on this in my previous posts but it makes me wonder that possibly the US Mint melted huge amounts of silver dollars in 1918 and 1919 because it was profitable to do so since silver hit as high as $1.336 an ounce and then in alarm, reversed track in 1921 AFTER the price of silver had collapsed and recoined much of the silver back into NEW silver dollars because it was once again profitable to do so???? It does NOT seem that it was because there was a sudden need for more of them. How can this be? We found out 40 years later in the 1960's that there were still huge quantities of mint bags of O and CC dollars that simply never went into circulation. Millions and millions of them. They became part of the famous GSA sales of the early 1970's.

    I do not know one coin collector of any age that does not know of the famous story of the 1903-O silver dollars in 1963.





    << <i>About the only "rarities" of the early 1920's are the Proof Peace dollars, the 1921 Saint (mainly because of melting) and the 1922 NO D Lincoln Cent. But to me, as a purist, believe the TRUE rarities are those that occur as naturally as possible, and no silver ones come to mind in the early 1920's. >>




    Here are the 1921 rarities:

    1921-P 50c 246,000 2nd rarest walker
    1921-D 50c 208,000 1st rarest walker
    1921-S 50c 548,000 5th rarest walker

    (3 out of the 5 rarest walkers in one year sound pretty rare to me)
    Also note that the 1921 year is the rarest year by date of the entire walking liberty half series
    Also note that the 1921 dated half is the rarest year by date of the entire 20th century!



    1921-P 25c 1,916,000 11th rarest standing liberty quarter but the 2nd rarest P mint quarter after the very rare 1916 sl quarter
    1921-D 25c -0-
    1921-S 25c -0-
    Also note that the 1921 year is the second rarest year by date after the 1916 sl quarter when combining all mints.
    Also note that the 1921 quarter is the rarest year by date of the entire 20th century!





    1921-P 10c 1,230,000 3rd rarest mercury dime
    1921-D 10c 1,080,000 2nd rarest mercury dime
    1921-S 10c -0-
    Also note that the 1921 year is the rarest year by date of the entire mercury dime series.
    Also note that the 1921 dime is the rarest year by date of the entire 20th century!


    These 1921 are rare as shown by their mintages and they are NOT rare so because of melting!!! In fact, VERY FEW 1921's 10c 25c or 50c were EVER melted!!!
    A Collectors Universe poster since 1997!
  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 36,019 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Oreville---You can add the 1921 Saint Gaudens double eagle to that list. Very rare coin.
  • Great Story, Thanks!

    TorinoCobra71

    image
  • In 1921, the mints were too busy coining tons of Morgans for the first time in 17 years, hence the low mintages of other silver coins.
  • PerryHall: I already said the saint.

    Oreville. A million of any coin is not rare, such as the 1921 mercury dimes. If I can pay $100 for one - that is as common as it gets.
    The Accumulator - Dark Lloyd of the Sith

    image
  • fcfc Posts: 12,697 ✭✭✭
    for a silver dollar, is not a minting of one million coins small?

    i know half eagles peaked at 1-5 million coins during one year, but they also
    had years with less than 80,000 coins.

    so what is a small mint run for peace or morgans during the 1920s?
    too lazy to look it up. someone will answer ;-)
  • orevilleoreville Posts: 10,869 ✭✭✭
    Here are the 1921 rarities:

    1921-P 50c 246,000 2nd rarest walker
    1921-D 50c 208,000 1st rarest walker
    1921-S 50c 548,000 5th rarest walker

    (3 out of the 5 rarest walkers in one year sound pretty rare to me)
    Also note that the 1921 year is the rarest year by date of the entire walking liberty half series
    Also note that the 1921 dated half is the rarest year by date of the entire 20th century!



    1921-P 25c 1,916,000 11th rarest standing liberty quarter but the 2nd rarest P mint quarter after the very rare 1916 sl quarter
    1921-D 25c -0-
    1921-S 25c -0-
    Also note that the 1921 year is the second rarest year by date after the 1916 sl quarter when combining all mints.
    Also note that the 1921 dated quarter is the rarest year by date of the entire 20th century!





    1921-P 10c 1,230,000 3rd rarest mercury dime
    1921-D 10c 1,080,000 2nd rarest mercury dime
    1921-S 10c -0-
    Also note that the 1921 year is the rarest year by date of the entire mercury dime series.
    Also note that the 1921 dated dime is the rarest year by date of the entire 20th century!


    The Canadian 1921 silver coins are also incredibly rare!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    A Collectors Universe poster since 1997!
  • orevilleoreville Posts: 10,869 ✭✭✭
    majorbigtime:



    << <i>In 1921, the mints were too busy coining tons of Morgans for the first time in 17 years, hence the low mintages of other silver coins. >>



    As stated before, the mint had little demand for minting the other silver coins.

    You are arguing the cart before the horse. It made sense to re-coin the silver bullion back into $1 silver coins from a financial point of view. There was very little else for the mint to do in 1921.

    A Collectors Universe poster since 1997!
  • Oreville:

    You should replace the words "rare, rarity, etc." with "lowest mintages" in your posts. Then it would make sense. Should I say the rarity of the roosevelt dimes is the 1955 P??? They made 12 million. BUT IT IS THE RAREST OF THE ROOSIES!!!!

    Adding the total of FACE VALUE SILVER of U.S. mintage EACH YEAR of the 20th century prior to 1930, these are the following years that are RARER than 1921, in no particular order:

    1900
    1901
    1902
    1903
    1904
    1905
    1906
    1907
    1908
    1909
    1910
    1911
    1912
    1913
    1914
    1915
    1916
    1917
    1918
    1919
    1920
    1922
    1923
    1924
    1925
    1926
    1927
    1928
    1929




    The Accumulator - Dark Lloyd of the Sith

    image
  • cohodkcohodk Posts: 15,260 ✭✭✭✭
    Fantastic post orevilleimage
    Master of Puppets----AKA The Boogeyman.
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  • orevilleoreville Posts: 10,869 ✭✭✭
    lloydmincy:

    I was taught that anything with a mintage of 1 million or so (or less) was considered to be rare relative to other issues. Certainly the 1921 sl quarter is a borderline case but with no other 1921-D or 1921-S to add to the numbers takes on more importance when it is the lowest mintage date of the entire 20th century including the 1916 barbers/sl quarters.

    Do you question the rarity of the three walkers of 1921? You call them scarce or rare?

    A Collectors Universe poster since 1997!
  • orevilleoreville Posts: 10,869 ✭✭✭
    lloydmincy: You just did an analysis of the following:



    << <i>Adding the total of FACE VALUE SILVER of U.S. mintage EACH YEAR of the 20th century prior to 1930, these are the following years that are RARER than 1921, in no particular order: >>



    Now please do the same EXCLUDING SILVER DOLLARS!!!!
    A Collectors Universe poster since 1997!
  • ShamikaShamika Posts: 18,615 ✭✭✭✭
    Facinating!

    Buyer and seller of vintage coin boards!



  • << <i>majorbigtime:



    << <i>In 1921, the mints were too busy coining tons of Morgans for the first time in 17 years, hence the low mintages of other silver coins. >>



    As stated before, the mint had little demand for minting the other silver coins.

    You are arguing the cart before the horse. It made sense to re-coin the silver bullion back into $1 silver coins from a financial point of view. There was very little else for the mint to do in 1921. >>



    I believe ethe follwing post says it alll:

    Adding the total of FACE VALUE SILVER of U.S. mintage EACH YEAR of the 20th century prior to 1930, these are the following years that are RARER than 1921, in no particular order:

    1900
    1901
    1902
    1903
    1904
    1905
    1906
    1907
    1908
    1909
    1910
    1911
    1912
    1913
    1914
    1915
    1916
    1917
    1918
    1919
    1920
    1922
    1923
    1924
    1925
    1926
    1927
    1928
    1929


    I believe coining all those unwanted Morgans was political in nature, and caused the low mintage minor coins.
  • orevilleoreville Posts: 10,869 ✭✭✭
    majorbigtime: Your post says nothing if you don't pull the silver dollars out of the equation.

    Since you and lloyd have not bothered to pull the silver dollars out of the equation to show the facts, I will do it for you!

    A Collectors Universe poster since 1997!
  • gyocomgdgyocomgd Posts: 3,148 ✭✭✭
    Some outstanding grass-roots education.
    image
    image
  • orevilleoreville Posts: 10,869 ✭✭✭
    Adding the total of FACE VALUE SILVER of U.S. mintage EACH YEAR of the 20th century dimes, quarters and halves combined for all years INCLUDING prior to 1930, these are the following years that are RARER than 1921, in no particular order:

    None.


    A look at the 19th century as well shows that the combined dimes, quarters and halves totalled LESS in face value of all years in the 1890-1899 decade as well!

    So including the famous 1893, 1894 and 1894 years in which the mintage of the silver dollars dated 1893, 1894, 1895 was at its lowest since the decade of 1860 to 1870, the 1921 dated silver dimes, quarters and halves still had LESS FACE VALUE minted than in 1893, 1894 and 1895!!!!



    A Collectors Universe poster since 1997!
  • orevilleoreville Posts: 10,869 ✭✭✭
    This is OT but going back further in time one will be astonished at the low mintages of 1889 fractional silver (10c, 25c and 50c) coinage and will realize that they are incredible buys!!!

    I know, I know, liberty seated collectors are going to yell at me for publicizing their little secret!
    A Collectors Universe poster since 1997!
  • coinlieutenantcoinlieutenant Posts: 8,903 ✭✭✭✭
    Excellent post Oreville. The ties to history are one of the biggest reasons why I collect.

    J
  • great reading oreville, nice to see your still teaching class image
    image

    Go BIG or GO HOME. ©Bill
  • orevilleoreville Posts: 10,869 ✭✭✭
    ttt

    saving from archives.
    A Collectors Universe poster since 1997!


  • << <i>just curious what is meant by silver having anti-bacterial properties if known? >>



    Great post! I use this machine instead of soap to do my laundry link and I notice it makes this statement " Kill germs without bleach
    LaundryPure adds silver nano-technology to wash water. A proven germ fighter, silver has been used for centuries to kill bacteria and fungi. "
    John
    Chance favors the prepared mind.
    imageimageimage


  • << <i>just curious what is meant by silver having anti-bacterial properties if known? >>



    History of colloidial silver.
    Humblepie

    I have found power in the mysteries of thought.

    It is always a question of knowing and seeing, and not that of believing.

    Our virtues, and our failings are inseparable, like force, and matter. When they separate, man is no more.

    .
  • RWBRWB Posts: 8,153
    Interesting old post, but I’d disagree with the initial cause/effect statements. Some of the comments about the Pittman Act silver are simply incorrect.

    Silver is well known for its antibacterial properties under certain conditions (not including normal coinage and tableware uses). However, the use of nanosilver in commerce has the potential for disastrous ecological effects as it migrates from the intended use into the environment.


  • << <i>Interesting old post, but I’d disagree with the initial cause/effect statements. Some of the comments about the Pittman Act silver are simply incorrect.

    Silver is well known for its antibacterial properties under certain conditions (not including normal coinage and tableware uses). However, the use of nanosilver in commerce has the potential for disastrous ecological effects as it migrates from the intended use into the environment. >>

    image
    Humblepie

    I have found power in the mysteries of thought.

    It is always a question of knowing and seeing, and not that of believing.

    Our virtues, and our failings are inseparable, like force, and matter. When they separate, man is no more.

    .
  • Oreville ... I always enjoy getting to see and chat with you at shows... and I always knew that you were much more than a "coin collector"...

    Posts/threads such as this confirm it...

    You are a true numismatist...

    Thank you for this most informative thread...



    Soooo...when will your book be getting published???image I would certainly want a signed copy when it is available...

    ...and if you haven't seriously begun one...I'd suggest that you gather your notes and get to it...

    "Anecdotal History of US Coins" by Oreville....image

    I like the idea...I like it alot!!

    (edited to add --- John Curlis might say that "Anecdotal" might not be the appropiate term...but I hope that anyone who reads my post gets the idea that I was attempting to put forth...)
    Re: Slabbed coins - There are some coins that LIVE within clear plastic and wear their labels with pride... while there are others that HIDE behind scratched plastic and are simply dragged along by a label. Then there are those coins that simply hang out, naked and free image
  • CoxeCoxe Posts: 11,230
    I believe a great deal of the light mintages of minors is owed to the Pittman Act and the provision to replace the melted and exported silver with fresh silver dollars. Nearly 90 million of them were minted in 1921 and then again in 1922 alone. Some melted silver was reclaimed but a lot was from depleting inventories, starving the other coinages. Resources were also highly focused on the silver dollar production to the deficit of the others.
    Select Rarities -- DMPLs and VAMs
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  • orevilleoreville Posts: 10,869 ✭✭✭
    World War I was ended by several treaties, most notably the Treaty of Versailles, signed on 28 June 1919, though the Allied powers had an armistice with Germany in place since 11 November 1918.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    <<<<The Pittman Act (of 1918) was a United States federal law sponsored by Senator Key Pittman of Nevada and enacted on April 23, 1919. The act authorized the conversion of not exceeding 350,000,000 standard silver dollars into bullion and its sale, or use for subsidiary silver coinage, and directed purchase of domestic silver for recoinage of a like number of dollars. Under the Act, 270,232,722 standard silver dollars were converted into bullion (259,121,554 for sale to Great Britain at $1.00 per fine ounce, plus mint charges, and 11,111,168 for subsidiary silver coinage), the equivalent of about 209,000,000 fine ounces of silver. Between 1920 and 1933, under the Act, the same quantity of silver was purchased from the output of American mines, at a fixed price of $1 per ounce, from which 270,232,722 standard silver dollars were recoined.>>>>>

    The US Mint was forewarned back in 1919 to commence production of the silver dollars as soon as possible. Waiting until 1921 to do so was not "as soon as possible."

    In fact, the US Mint did not commence minting ANY 1921 Morgan dollars until May 9, 1921!!!!!

    There was ample time in early 1921 to produce millions and millions of dimes, quarters and halves. There were no silver dollars being minted at all in early 1921. But the demand was very low for the dimes, quarters and halves as explained before.




    A Collectors Universe poster since 1997!
  • RunnersDadRunnersDad Posts: 1,081 ✭✭
    Great Post....I really enjoyed the educational read!
    Mike

    Visit my son's caringbridge page @ Runner's Caringbridge Page

    "To Give Anything Less than Your Best, Is to Sacrifice the Gift" - Steve Prefontaine
  • LanLordLanLord Posts: 11,453 ✭✭✭✭
    My sinserest condolences on the passing of your grama Eva.


    But seriously folks, very interesting post. How many people felt like running out and buying some 1921 silver coinage as they were reading this? I had some (a SH!%load of) money mentally spent about half way through!image
  • RWBRWB Posts: 8,153
    There were two primary reasons for small post-war mintages of minor silver coins.

    1) High demand earlier in the decade resulted a surplus of coin compared to the needs of the post-war economy. Much of the post-war demand could be met by issuing/reissuing coins struck in earlier years. Thus, there was no need for large mintages. Production was more regionally directed and local demand required production to meet local needs, not national. This reduced demand coincided in part in the temporary increase in silver price above the monetary level. This resulted in several proposals in Congress to reduce the fineness of US silver coins, but the silver price quickly declined and nothing more was done until 1965.
    2) The Treasury Dept. priority was to recoin the Pittman silver as quickly as possible to permit an increase in circulating paper silver certificates and to retire the 4% bonds issued. Sec. Mellon fantasized about the mints striking 1,000,000 new dollar coins per day and retiring the whole thing in a year. This didn’t happen, largely because the mints did not have the production capacity to meet such a goal. Although all the Pittman silver had been purchased by mid-1921, it took until 1928 to strike the replacement coins. Contrary to some sources, none of the melted pre-war dollars were used to produce subsidiary silver coins. (As correctly noted in the director’s report.) Silver dollar production consumed much of the Mint Bureau's capacity during the early 20s.

    You can learn the rest of the story from the book Renaissance of American Coinage 1916-1921 where the background of the Peace dollar is discussed. This also gives the correct dates for dollar coinage (Morgan and Peace) in 1921.
  • orevilleoreville Posts: 10,869 ✭✭✭
    Compare the following mintages in various years 1918 through 1923 of just the Philadelphia Mint. The story is pretty much the same for the San Francisco and Denver Mints.

    The capacity of the Philadelphia Mint is much larger than the actual coins minted in 1921 and 1922. The increased labor intensiveness of minting the silver dollars does not explain the near collapse in total coins minted in 1921 and 1922.

    It is clear that despite the passage of the Pittman Act in 1919, the fractional silver minted at the US Mint in 1921 and 1922 was a function of unused capacity (meaning lack of demand) NOT lack of capacity at the US Mint.

    It has been stated that "high demand earlier in the decade resulted a surplus of coin compared to the needs of the post-war economy. Much of the post-war demand could be met by issuing/reissuing coins struck in earlier years. Thus, there was no need for large mintages."

    Let's examine the statement again. The war ended in 1918. Yet mintages were at all time highs in 1919 and very close to all time highs in 1920 TWO YEARS AFTER WWI effectively ended. The post-economy began in 1919, not in 1921.

    My argument is that the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic had more of an effect on the post-war economy than most people realize and therefore, had more of an effect on 1921 and 1922 silver coin rarities than most people realize.

    To assert that the Pittman Act of 1918 was the single largest cause of the drop in mintages of minor coins does not make any sense in light of the facts.


    1918 Philadelphia:

    01C====288,104,634
    05C=====32,086,314
    10C=====26,680,000
    25C=====14,240,000
    50C======6,634,000
    $1m============0
    $20============0
    TOTAL==367,744,948

    1919 Philadelphia:

    01C====392,021,000
    05C=====60,868,000
    10C=====35,740,000
    25C=====11,324,000
    50C=======962,000
    $1m============0
    $1P======1,006,473
    $20============0
    TOTAL==501,921,473

    1920 Philadelphia:

    01C====310,165,000
    05C=====63,093,000
    10C=====59,030,000
    25C=====27,860,000
    50C======6,372,000
    $1m============0
    $1P======1,006,473
    $20========228,250
    TOTAL===467,754,723

    1921 Philadelphia:

    01C===39,157,000
    05C===10,663,000
    10C====1,230,000
    25C====1,916,000
    50C=====246,000
    $1m===44,690,000
    $1P====1,006,473
    $20=====528,500
    TOTAL=99,436,973


    1922 Philadelphia:

    01C==========0
    05C==========0
    10C==========0
    25C==========0
    50C==========0
    $1m===51,737,000
    $1P====1,006,473
    $20====1,375,500
    TOTAL==54,118,973


    1923 Philadelphia:

    01C====74,723,000
    05C====35,715,000
    10C====50,130,000
    25C=====9,716,000
    50C===========0
    $1m====30,800,000
    $1P=====1,006,473
    $20======566,000
    TOTAL=202,656,473
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