It is fitting that President William McKinley is honored on a gold coin. McKinley highlighted his successful 1896 bid for the Presidency with his support of “sound money” – the gold standard, in other words. This stood in contrast to his opponent in that year’s election, William Jennings Bryan, who campaigned fiercely for a “bimetallic” standard of silver and gold. Economic issues largely dominated the 1896 campaign, as the economy was still mired in depression after the Panic of 1893.
Global gold demand amounted to 993t in Q3 2016 (-10%), as high gold prices discouraged consumers. ETPs were the only bright spot during the quarter, with 146t of inflows helping to counterbalance weak demand elsewhere, notably in jewellery (-21%), bars and coins (-36%) and purchases by central banks (-51%). Total Q3 supply was up 4% to 1,173t (from 1,127t in Q3 2015). Recycling was the primary driver of this growth, up 30% year-on-year as the higher price encouraged consumers to sell some of their existing gold holdings. Mine production - virtually unchanged year-on-year (-0.5%) – continued to plateau, while Q3 saw net de-hedging (of 15t) for the first time in four quarters.
The first term of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration saw a flourish of new commemorative half dollars issued. For the most part, the intent of the Mint in issuing these commemorative half dollars was to benefit some organization or cause of national interest. In theory, an association of some sort would purchase the full issue at face value, and in turn sell the commemorative coins on the secondary market at a premium price. The profits generated were intended to benefit the issuing organization and the cause or mission it represented.
Donald Trump's U.S. presidential victory has spurred safe-haven buying of physical gold in Europe, but traditional bullion holders in the United States are standing pat. After all, many of them are optimistic after voting for Trump.
The contrast in reactions to Trump's surprise victory shows a wide difference in how investors in the two markets evaluate risk. For many outside the United States, Trump's pledge to rewrite the playbook on trade and international relations prompted defensive gold buying. U.S. investors were more likely to be dumping gold in favor of stocks and bonds.
The Lincoln Cent is the longest-running coin design in American numismatic history. Its story begins with another US President, Theodore Roosevelt, who was instrumental in its creation.
Roosevelt pushed for the redesign of all US gold coinage, as well as the cent, during his time in office. The Mint actually contracted sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to redesign the cent, but he had only completed designs for gold coins before his death in 1907. There was a greatly renewed public interest in Abraham Lincoln as 1909, the centennial of his birth, approached. Teddy Roosevelt was a great admirer of Lincoln and sought to honor him on the cent.
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Huguenots were French Protestants who were frequently persecuted in majority-Catholic France in the 16th and 17th centuries. After decades of oppression and failed rebellions in the 1620s, many Huguenots fleeing persecution emigrated from Europe to destinations around the world. The ship Nieuw Nederlandt landed in what is now New York in May 1624, carrying Huguenots primarily from Wallonia (now part of Belgium). Famous Huguenots include Peter Minuit, who “purchased” Manhattan Island in 1626, and Huguenot settlers were influential in the early development of the colony.
In 1922, an association established by the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America (comprised of various Protestant churches) sought to honor the upcoming 300th anniversary of Huguenot settlement in the present-day United States. The association was led by Reverend John Baer Stoudt and had assistance in pursuing a commemorative coin from PA congressman and Fred Gernerd, both of whom were of Huguenot descent.
Though 300,000 coins were authorized by Congress, only about 142,000 were actually produced. The Huguenot-Walloon half-dollar was unusual in that its unsold production was released into circulation rather than melted down (as was the case for many other commemoratives). Around 55,000 were officially released into circulation, though judging by the lack of worn coins it would appear that savvy collectors quickly removed them.
Reverend Stoudt provided sketches for the design to George T. Morgan, the US Mint’s Chief Engraver best known for his eponymous Morgan dollar. Stoudt’s original sketches included Peter Minuit purchasing Manhattan Island on the obverse, and the ship Nieuw Nederlandt on the reverse. For unknown reasons, the final design does not feature Peter Minuit but instead bears the jugate portraits of Gaspard de Coligny and Price William I of Orange, two martyred Huguenot leaders.
The choice of Coligny and William on the Huegenot-Walloon half-dollar proved to be controversial. Both were killed decades before the 1624 anniversary being honored, and neither had a distinct connection to Huguenot settlement in the Americas aside from their religion. The coin’s design was publicly criticized by a number of Catholic sources, who objected to the issuance of an official United States coin perceived to be specifically honoring an anti-Catholic religious denomination.
This criticism had farther reaching consequences. The following year, when Minnesota Congressman and Lutheran minister Ole J. Kvale sought a similar commemorative coin honoring the arrival of Norwegian immigrants, the Mint was concerned about attracting similar criticism. Kvale and the Lutherans would have to settle for a medal, instead.
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 day before the 2016 US Presidential Election, most pollsters and statistical models had pegged Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning at greater than 90%.
However, as we noted yesterday, the consensus view is not to be trusted in a post-Brexit world.
Here’s what went wrong:
With one of the world’s largest economies and a growing financial sector, China continues to rise as a global power.
The country’s currency, the Chinese yuan (officially the Renminbi), is also starting to mature. The most recent evidence of this? The IMF’s decision to include the yuan as a part of its SDR international reserve asset, a basket of major world currencies:
Just as the California Gold Rush resulted in the San Francisco Mint’s creation, the discovery of Nevada silver precipitated the Carson City Mint. In particular, the massive Comstock Lode created immense fortunes for prospectors in Nevada. It was first identified by two veterans of the California Gold Rush in 1857, but a miner named Henry Comstock was one of the first to lay claim to the area. Word of the massive discovery spread quickly and Northern Nevada exploded in population. The town of Virginia City NV, for instance, had over 10,000 residents in 1880 but now has fewer than 1,000 today.
A problem soon arose: what should be done with the massive amount of silver extracted from the earth? Nevada was truly isolated from the rest of the nation, which made selling and refining the silver difficult. The closest major population center was San Francisco, but transporting metal to California was logistically challenging and treacherous. Railroads had not yet reached Nevada, so the only way to move metal was via horse or mule.
Eventually, in 1863, Congress approved the establishment of a branch mint in Carson City. Unlike in San Francisco, where the new branch mint opened extremely quickly, construction of the Carson City mint dragged on for years. The facility eventually opened with just one solitary coin press in 1870. Not surprisingly, the very first coin struck at Carson City was a Silver Dollar – a reflection of the tremendous quantity of silver available in the area. Indeed, for the mint’s entire history, the primary focus was on issuing silver coins instead of gold.
The earliest Carson City gold coins are wildly rare and extremely valuable. In 1870, for example, just 3,789 Double Eagles were issued at the branch mint – and just several dozens are known to collectors today. They routinely sell for hundreds of thousands each. The Carson City Mint also began producing $5 Half Eagles and $10 Eagles for circulation, but also in relatively limited quantities. The number of coins struck was purely a function of how much gold was mined in the area. With silver being the primary metal extracted in Nevada, there was only a small amount of gold ore available for coinage.
The Carson City Mint continued operations until 1893 when the mining bonanza began to end. The “low-hanging fruit” was completely spoken for by that point and remaining mineral deposits were either too difficult to access or commercially unviable. Some silver and gold were recovered from the Comstock Lode in the 20th century, but only as a result of new technologies and dramatically higher bullion prices. Whereas hundreds of mining companies existed in the mid to late 19th century, just a few were in existence by the 1920s and 1930s.