Silver dollars escaped - hiding in columns

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RogerB
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Silver dollars escaped - hiding in columns

Post by RogerB » Sat Feb 26, 2022 4:17 pm

This little letter might be of interest. Many silver dollars did not sit idly in bags and boxes. Some had adventures.

January 14, 1895

Hon. R. E. Preston,
Director of the Mint.

Sir:

I have the honor to report the counting of the silver dollars in vault C ended today so far as they could be found. Owing to the bursting of the bags it is more than likely that out of a shortage of $769, many will be found at the bottom of the iron columns, which support the roof of the vault, as the columns are open at the top, and offer a receptacle for any coin that might be pushed over them. It will be necessary to drill holes at the bottom of each column to ascertain if they contain any of the missing coin. As this will take a few days it will be necessary that not less than four or five men be retained until a thorough examination is made.

Col. Bosbyshell has requested the retention of four men besides himself. I think the search can be completed in three days. The count today summed up $49,999,231. I would also report the purchased nickel has for the past few days been running as poorly as the four boxes we were compelled to return some time ago.

Andy Hansen
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Re: Silver dollars escaped - hiding in columns

Post by Andy Hansen » Sat Feb 26, 2022 4:34 pm

Love the letter,
Thanks for posting.
Andy

RogerB
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Re: Silver dollars escaped - hiding in columns

Post by RogerB » Sat Feb 26, 2022 4:58 pm

FYI. The counting and re-bagging & boxing was completed before any 1895 circulation dollars were struck. That happened at the end of June.

The nickel reference concerns brittle planchets supplied by Scoville. The Mint had re-annealed some and they worked OK. The problem continued into the summer. There are reports from banks and businesses of 1895 nickels falling apart or breaking in half when dropped.

blh74
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Re: Silver dollars escaped - hiding in columns

Post by blh74 » Sun Feb 27, 2022 3:32 am

Fascinating! Drilling holes to receive lost coins, and nickels breaking in half. This is great.

JohnGoldsmith
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Re: Silver dollars escaped - hiding in columns

Post by JohnGoldsmith » Sun Feb 27, 2022 1:56 pm

So the missing 1895 P business strikes, fell through the cracks. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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LateDateMorganGuy
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Re: Silver dollars escaped - hiding in columns

Post by LateDateMorganGuy » Sun Feb 27, 2022 2:23 pm

Just a gee-whiz. I do a lot of work in old buildings and in 1895, the subject columns would have been cast iron. Think of a steel pipe, but cast iron. They are hollow, and things can get inside. In my case, I run into this quite often. If water gets inside the hollow column, and the temperature falls below freezing, the water expands and busts the column. So yes, things can get inside.
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LateDateMorganGuy
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Re: Silver dollars escaped - hiding in columns

Post by LateDateMorganGuy » Sun Feb 27, 2022 2:32 pm

I guess another possibility would be columns built like this.
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vampicker
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Re: Silver dollars escaped - hiding in columns

Post by vampicker » Sun Feb 27, 2022 5:03 pm

It would be the very definition of serendipity if you got to work on one of the old Mint buildings
often the crusher of hopes and dreams

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LateDateMorganGuy
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Re: Silver dollars escaped - hiding in columns

Post by LateDateMorganGuy » Sun Feb 27, 2022 5:24 pm

The first photo is from an 1888 building. The second is from a 1898 building.

That being said, I would rather find gold inside the columns than silver. Just saying.

RogerB
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Re: Silver dollars escaped - hiding in columns

Post by RogerB » Sun Feb 27, 2022 6:31 pm

The second photo has open-base columns similar to those in the Philadelphia Mint in 1895. Moisture seepage had caused thousands of bags to rot and spill out. More counting and boxing was done about 4 years later in preparation for moving to the new building. Millions of coins were manually counted.

Excellent photos and great for illustrating what must be a foreign concept to most readers.

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PacificWR
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Re: Silver dollars escaped - hiding in columns

Post by PacificWR » Sun Feb 27, 2022 10:34 pm

Thanks for the good info.

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