A 1885 Tour of U.S. Mint

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lioncutter
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A 1885 Tour of U.S. Mint

Post by lioncutter » Sat Mar 19, 2022 7:41 pm

I love reading old newspapers and this article caught my eye. A reporter's tour of the Philadelphia Mint in 1885 explaining how silver dollars are made. It starts on the first column under "The Silver Dollar".
A good read.

https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn ... nge&page=2
I may not be the best, but I do not know anyone better.

keilg1
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Re: A 1885 Tour of U.S. Mint

Post by keilg1 » Sun Mar 20, 2022 5:19 pm

Aweseome find, awesome read. Thanks for sharing.

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messydesk
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Re: A 1885 Tour of U.S. Mint

Post by messydesk » Sun Mar 20, 2022 5:43 pm

I'm going to have to block out some time to read that. Nothing like the grandiloquence of a 19th century newspaper article.
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Longstrider
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Re: A 1885 Tour of U.S. Mint

Post by Longstrider » Sun Mar 20, 2022 6:04 pm

Very cool. Thanks.

Geseas
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Re: A 1885 Tour of U.S. Mint

Post by Geseas » Sun Mar 20, 2022 6:35 pm

messydesk wrote:
Sun Mar 20, 2022 5:43 pm
I'm going to have to block out some time to read that. Nothing like the grandiloquence of a 19th century newspaper article.
I had to look up six words/phrases I didn't know in the article...now one more.

Does this learning ever end? :)

Thanks. Great article!

RogerB
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Re: A 1885 Tour of U.S. Mint

Post by RogerB » Mon Mar 21, 2022 4:16 pm

The US Mints were among the most popular tourist attractions in Philadelphia and San Francisco. They were not only similar to many factories, but they held unimaginable wealth that people could see being handled as if it were blocks of scrap metal.

The 1880s were an especially rich period for newspaper articles about the mints and for photos of operations. Although most photos were awful - poor lighting, blurring, lens flare, limited dynamic range, posed rather than candid - publications had prints made, and illustrators then copied and "improved" them into the engravings commonly seen in publications of the time. (Compare Johnston's photo originals to illustrations made from them.)

George G. Evans was able to gain a virtual concession at the Philadelphia Mint. His book on the mint was sold to visitors on-site just as were proof sets, dime-size Lord's Prayer tokens and other souvenirs. Except for proof sets and Mint medals, the "Conductors" split the profits on books and tokens. This resulted in some overly aggressive selling, and letters of complaint. Here's an example from May 26, 1885.


Complaint has been made that a guide who conducts visitors through the Mint Building presents a medal made for the Louisville Exposition which he claims to be gold and gives to visitors, but to those only who purchase a book [Evans'] which he offers for sale.

As the Conductors are paid for their services they ought not to annoy visitors by importuning them to buy articles in their possession they may have for sale; and if on inquiry you find any cause for the complaint, please take such action to prevent it as you deem for the interests and reputation of the service.
Last edited by RogerB on Mon Mar 21, 2022 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

RogerB
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Re: A 1885 Tour of U.S. Mint

Post by RogerB » Mon Mar 21, 2022 4:25 pm

It is not widely known among coin collectors, but the San Francisco Mint had a nice cabinet of locally produced coins and private gold pieces, plus a full set of U.S. Mint medals on display along with ore samples from western states. Records, if they still exist, are at NARA San Bruno.

Here's a letter about the number of visitors for FY 1896 at Philadelphia:

Philadelphia
June 30, 1896
The number of persons from all parts of the United States, and in fact the World, who
have visited, and have been escorted through the Mint, and witnessed the coining of money, and
the other work done under your supervision, during the Fiscal year, ending 30th June were One
hundred and five thousand, three hundred and eighty four, 105,384.

blh74
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Re: A 1885 Tour of U.S. Mint

Post by blh74 » Tue Mar 22, 2022 1:17 am

Really good old days.

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