By the early 1920s, the American film industry had concentrated in Hollywood. However, the industry found itself in serious trouble following a number of lurid scandals. Even in this era of silent films, there was also criticism of Hollywood for sexual explicitness. Facing the prospect of a public boycott and government intervention, the industry looked for ways to improve its image.
Today, we all know the U.S. dollar as an iconic currency that is recognizable to people around the world.
How and why was it conceived, and why do we call it a “dollar” or a “buck”? How did the dollar’s early history help to shape today’s world?
Captain James Cook became the first European to reach the Hawaiian Islands on his third voyage in January 1778. After exploring the further reaches of the Pacific over the following year, he stopped in the Hawaiian Islands again and was killed in an altercation with natives. A century and a half later, Hawaii was a territory of the United States. A group of Hawaiian socialites set out to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Cook’s landing; one of their proposals was a commemorative half dollar. The proceeds were slated for the establishment of a memorabilia collection related to Cook’s voyage, which today resides in the Bishop Museum in Honolulu.
Global gold demand in Q1 2017 was 1,034.5t. The 18% year-on-year decline suffers from the comparison with Q1 2016, which was the strongest first quarter. Inflows into ETFs of 109.1t, although solid, were nonetheless a fraction of last year’s near-record inflows. Slower central bank demand also contributed to the weakness. Bar and coin investment, however, was healthy at 289.8t (+9% y-o-y), while demand firmed slightly in both the jewellery and technology sectors.
The proliferation of commemorative coins in the 1920s and 1930s had led to a number of abuses. First, many issues were produced at multiple mints over multiple years, leading to an excessive number of varieties for collectors to obtain a full set. For example, there are a total of fourteen varieties of the Oregon Trail Memorial half dollar. Low mintages of some of these varieties exacerbated the problem. Naturally, coin dealers delighted in the issuance of multiple varieties, which often proved extremely profitable for them.
The National Sesquicentennial Exhibition Association was chartered by an Act of Congress in March 1925, tasked with organizing the world’s fair in Philadelphia to celebrate the 150th anniversary of American independence. Though the governing body of the fair was called the Exhibition Association in the authorizing legislation, the event came to be known to history as the Sesquicentennial Exposition, instead.
The one cent coin was the first official coin struck by the United States Mint in 1793, but by the 1840s, it was an increasingly unpopular denomination. Because the copper cents contained no gold or silver and were not legal tender for trade, many merchants would not accept them or only accepted them at a discount. These “large cents,” produced until 1857, were indeed large and awkward – modeled after the British pennies, they were about the same size of a modern-day Susan B Anthony or Sacagawea dollar.
Due to increases in the cost of copper in the 1850s, the US Mint reduced the size of its one-cent coin. The Flying Eagle cent, officially introduced in 1857, was the first “small cent.” It replaced the original “large cent,” which was nearly the size of a contemporary half dollar. However, the design of the Flying Eagle cent did not strike well in the hard 88% copper, 12% nickel alloy. Mint Director James Ross Snowden ordered a new design, which became the Indian Head cent in 1859.
The Coinage Act of 1792 established the United States Mint and provided for the construction of a facility in Philadelphia, the new nation’s first federal building. The same law also established a decimal-based currency system in the United States, with the dollar as its cornerstone and “money of account.” The Mint building was constructed in 1792 and began production the following year.
The Money Project is an ongoing collaboration between Visual Capitalist and Texas Precious Metals that seeks to use intuitive visualizations to explore the origins, nature, and use of money.
The value of money is not static. In the short term, it may ebb and flow against other currencies on the market. In the long-term, a currency tends to lose buying power over time through inflation, and as more currency units are created.
Inflation is a result of too much money chasing too few goods – and it is often influenced by government policies, central banks, and other factors. In this short timeline of monetary history in the 20th century, we look at major events, the change in money supply, and the buying power of the U.S. dollar in each decade.