• When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Small gold & silver wanted in Washington Territory, 1859

10 posts in this topic

RG104 entry 216 vol 19


Fort Vancouver, W.T. [Washington Territory] November 21, 1859


Hon. Howell Cobb Secretary of the Treasury Washington City




I venture to represent to you the propriety of directing the Superintendent of the Branch Mint in San Francisco to have coined more small gold coins, as the amount now current on this coast in insufficient for the wants of the community. The amount has become comparatively small, the mint having ceased to coin them and “foreign” small coins being driven away (or sent to the Mint to be recoined) by the decision of the Merchants, etc., of San Francisco several months since, to receive them at less than their real value. A large amount of “California” small coin has also in like manner been driven into the Mint to be recoined.


The Paymasters of the Army require a very large amount of small coin. The pay of a private soldier for two months is $19.75 or for four months 39.50 dollars, requiring the largest possible amount of small coins and silver.


Therefore I hope that I may be pardoned for taking this mode of urging upon the Secretary the propriety of directing the constant coinage of a reasonable amount of small coin. In this request I would particularly include three and one dollars gold pieces which are more convenient for my use than any other coin.


As the business community on this coast also complain of the diminution of small coin, I hope that you may be able to give such directions as will meet the views of the undersigned.


I have the honor to be, With great respect, Your obedient servant

Charles H. Alvord, Paymaster, U.S. Army


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wouldn't do any good to give a soldier a double eagle that he couldn't spend anywhere because nobody had change!

Similar problem to what they had in England during the early years of the industrial revolution (1780's) Severe shortage of coins and employers would have to get four or five workers together and give them a one pound note to satisfy the wages of all of them. Then the whole group had to go off together to try and find someplace where they could get change. Usually the only place would be the local pub. And of course they couldn't just get change, they would have to make purchases.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, but beer back then was real beer, today it's Bud.


You've heard the story, right?


They sent some off to compete in some famous European beer competition.


About a month later they received a letter back from the Department of Veterinary Studies: "We have received your sample and regret to inform you that the horse is likely to die in the near future."

Link to comment
Share on other sites