When does stamped metal become a coin?
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A member asked this in a PM on one of the other message boards, and I though the answer might be of general interest.

 

In the traditional U.S. Mint environment (up to the end of precious metal coinage), a stamped metal disc became a coin at the moment two events occurred:

 

1. The Coiner declared certain pieces met all the specifications of legal tender coinage and ordered them to be counted and bagged; and,

2. When the Coiner officially delivered the legal tender pieces to the Superintendent (or his surrogate, the Cashier) and the Superintendent accepted them by value.

 

Until these two things occurred, the pieces were tracked by metal weight, not count or legal value.

 

As can be seen, there was no magical "monetization" or other irrelevant nonsense. It was a straight forward administrative action performed several times a day at each mint. Notice that the Treasury Department, the Secretary of Treasury and Mint Director had no position in metal becoming a coin.

 

[Coins could be condemned by either the Coiner or Superintendent if it was later determined that they were defective. That created a bookkeeping headache for the clerks who had to convert the coins back into bullion and deduct any seigniorage that had been reported.]

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14,311 posts

hm In today's society, I guess it also include nails that (apparently) were thrown into the coining chamber.

 

Chris

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397 posts

The concept of monetization was invented by some lawyer to complicate something that isn't complicated.

 

In a simple world, there's nothing to keep lawyers busy.

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"Monetization" was invented in the 1935s to permit silver bullion to be counted as backing for silver certificates without having to be coined. It was NEVER used to convert bullion into an actual coin. (The use of the term in relation to the Farouk 1933 DE is meaningless. The piece was a coin in all legal aspects as soon as the conditions in the first post were met. It does not matter how or when the piece left the Philadelphia Mint.)

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Do you think early American trappers should have monetized their beaver pelts?

 

Chris

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A serious question.....if a Mint employee in, say, 1902 got caught trying sneak a gold coin out of the coining room in his shoe, that never went through the processes described above, was he prosecuted for stealing BULLION, or prosecuted for stealing COIN? Surely there must be some prosecution records on file. That might put the lie to the fiction that the Langbord 10 had never been "monetized."

 

TD

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A serious question.....if a Mint employee in, say, 1902 got caught trying sneak a gold coin out of the coining room in his shoe, that never went through the processes described above, was he prosecuted for stealing BULLION, or prosecuted for stealing COIN? Surely there must be some prosecution records on file. That might put the lie to the fiction that the Langbord 10 had never been "monetized."

 

TD

 

It would also affect the so called "fantasy" pieces that many, myself included, have been very critical of.

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In the multiple defalcation cases I've read, they were charged with theft of government property valued at some amount of money. It didn't matter if the theft was of customer deposits, unrefined bullion, good delivery bars, precious metal scrap, sweeps, or struck coins. Theft of coins seems to have been the least common event. Most cases involved either someone shorting weight of deposits or stealing bars. The Dimmick theft of gold coins and the McCain-Rupp defalcation in 1940 were two of the few that involved coins. In the McCain case, the total value was only a few hundred dollars.

 

Several of the cases are listed in From Mine to Mint.

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Do you think early American trappers should have monetized their beaver pelts?

 

Chris

 

I think beaver pelts were more a Barter item. hm

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