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Calculating 3-cent CuNi redemption

2 posts in this topic

In the 1870s the Mint redeemed millions of minor coins. Here's a letter from 1878 which suggests there was confusion about paying for the coins. What do you think?

[Mint of the United States

at Philadelphia]


July 12, 1878


W. M. Pyle, P.M.

Wilmington, Del



            I enclose herewith Counter’s report of the count of your deposit of 3¢ nickel coin, for redemption. In all cases the deposit is weighed before it is counted, and if the amount claimed by the depositor does not agree with our count, a calculation is made from the weight.

            In this case the weight was 237 Troy oz. and the calculation found the count to be $107-64/100 for which amount you state you received draft. The error seems to be in your count.

            Very respectfully,

James Pollock, Superintendent

Per J. C. Eyster, Redemption Clerk


[Ed Note: A 3¢ copper-nickel coin weighed 30 grains when new. Payment of $107.64 is equal to a piece count of 3,588 coins. Assuming full weight coins (that is, ignoring wear) this was 107,640 grains or 224.25 Troy ounces. The Mint’s reported weight was “237 Troy oz.” equal to 113,760 grains. If this is divided by the 3¢ coin’s nominal weight of 30 grains, the deposit contained 3,792 pieces or $113.76. Thus, the minimum face value of the coins was $6.12 greater than the amount paid the depositor. Worn coins would weigh less, meaning that there were more worn coins per ounce than new coins.]


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