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NNP Blog

Mar 14 2021

Coinage of 1888 Designed to Avoid Speculation

Recently added to Newman Portal is correspondence from the National Archives that reveals the rationale behind certain of the 1888 U.S. coinage. James Kimball, Mint Director, writes to Philadelphia Mint Superintendent Daniel M. Fox, ordering the additional coinage of 10,000 one-dollar gold pieces, 5,000 three-dollar gold pieces, and 10,000 three-cent nickels. Fox was instructed to put the coins directly into general circulation, so as to avoid speculation. Collectors by this time were already seeking out the scarce 1880s denominational silver coinage, as most of the Mint’s attention was diverted toward producing massive quantities of Morgan dollars under the directive of the 1878 Bland-Allison act. The 1888 coinage production, as directed by Kimball, succeeded in avoiding rarities, although the three issues mentioned here remain highly desirable to collectors today.

Link to Mint Director Kimball correspondence on April 11, 1888 on Newman Portal: https://archive.org/details/coinsmallgoldtoavoidspeculation18880411/mode/2up
Link to National Archives content on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/Library/Archives?searchLetter=U
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