Coinage Act of 1792
The Coinage Act of April 2, 1792
(1 Stat. 246)
Chapter XVI.-- An Act establishing a Mint, and regulating the coins of the United States.
Section I. Be it enacted by the Senate and
House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, and it
is hereby enacted and declared,
That a mint for the purpose of a national coinage be,
the same is established, to be situate and
a carried on at the seat of the government
of the United States, for the time being; and that for the well conducting of the
business of the said mint, there shall be the following officers and persons, namely,
--a Director, an Assayer, a Chief Coiner, an Engraver, a Treasurer. ...
Section 9. And be it further enacted,
there shall be from time to time struck and coined at the said mint, coins of gold,
silver, and copper, of the following denominations, values and descriptions, viz.
EAGLES--each to be of he value of ten dollars or units, and to contain two hundred and forty-seven grains and four eighths of a grain of pure, or two hundred and seventy grains of standard gold.
HALF EAGLES--each to be of the value of five dollars, and to contain one hundred and twenty-three grains and six eighths of a grain of pure, or one hundred and thirty-five grains of standard gold.
QUARTER EAGLES--each to be of the value of
two dollars and a half dollar, and to contain sixty-one grains and seven eighths of a grain of pure, or sixty-seven grains and four eighths of a grain of standard gold.
DOLLARS OR UNITS--each to be of the value of a Spanish milled dollar as the same is now current, and to contain three hundred and seventy-one grains and four sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or four hundred and sixteen grains of standard silver.
HALF DOLLARS--each to be of half the value of the dollar or unit, and to contain one
hundred and eighty-five grains and ten
sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or two
hundred and eight grains of standard silver.
QUARTER DOLLAR--each to be of one fourth the value of the dollar or unit, and to contain ninety-two grains and thirteen sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or one hundred and four grains of standard silver.
DIMES--each to be of the value of one tenth
of a dollar or unit, and to contain thirty-
seven grains and two sixteenth parts of a
grain of pure, or forty-one grains and three fifths parts of a grain of standard silver.
HALF DIMES--each to be of the value of one
twentieth of a dollar, and to contain
eighteen grains and nine sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or twenty grains and four
fifths parts of a grain of standard silver.
CENTS--each to be of the value of the one
hundredth part of a dollar, and to contain
eleven penny-weights of copper.
HALF CENTS--each to be of the value of half a cent, and to contain five penny-weights
and a half a penny-weight of copper.
Act of May 8,1792.
Section 10. And be it further enacted,
That, upon the said coins respectively, there shall be the following devices and legends, namely:
Upon one side of each of the said coins there shall be an impression emblematic of liberty, with an inscription of the word Liberty, and the year of the coinage; and upon the reverse of each of the gold and silver coins there shall be the figure or representation of an eagle, with this inscription, "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and upon the reverse of each of the copper coins, there shall be an inscription which shall express the denomination of the piece, namely, cent or half cent, as the case may require.
Section 11. And be it further enacted,
That of gold and silver the proportional value of gold and silver in all coins which shall by law be current as money within the United States, shall be fifteen to one, according to quantity in weight, of pure gold or pure silver; that is to say, every fifteen payments, with one pound weight of pure gold, and so in proportion as to any greater or less quantities of the respective metals.
Section 12. And be it further enacted,
That coins, and alloy the standard for all gold coins of the United how to be regulated States shall be eleven parts fine to one part alloy; and accordingly that eleven parts fine to one part alloy; and accordingly that eleven parts in twelve of the entire weight of each of the said coins shall consist of pure gold, and the remaining one twelfth part of alloy; and the said alloy shall be composed of silver and copper, in such proportions not exceeding one half silver as shall be found convenient; to be regulated by the director of the mint, for the time being, with the approbation of the President of the United States, until further provision shall be made by law.
And to the end that the
necessary information may be had in order to the making of such further provision, it
shall be the duty of the director of the of mint, the practice, at the expiration......
(Mint "touching"=testing-Arch.)......of a year commencing the operation said mint, to report to Congress the practice
thereof during the said year, touching the of composition of the alloy of the said gold coins, the reasons for such practice, and the experiments and observations which shall have been made concerning the effects of different proportions of silver and copper in the said alloy.
Section 13. And be it further enacted,
coins--the standard for all silver coins of the
United States, shall be one thousand four
hundred and eighty-five parts fine to one
hundred and seventy-nine parts alloy; and
accordingly that one thousand four hundred
and eighty-five parts in one thousand six
hundred and sixty-four parts of the entire
weight of each of the said coins shall
consist of pure silver, and the remaining
one hundred and seventy-nine parts of alloy; which alloy shall be wholly of copper.
Sections 14 -18--Contributed by:: email@example.com (Dave Hayes)
Sec. 14. And be it further enacted,
that it shall be lawful for any person
or persons to bring to the said mint gold and silver bullion in order to
their being coined; and that the bullion so brought shall be there assayed
and coined as speedily as may be after the receipt thereof, and free of
expense to the person or persons by whom the same shall have been brought.
And as soon as the said bullion shall have been coined, the person or
persons by whom the same shall have been delivered, shall upon demand
receive in lieu thereof coins of the same species of bullion which shall
have been so delivered, weight for weight, of the pure gold or pure silver
That it shall be at the mutual
option of the party or parties bringing such bullion, and of the director
of said mint, to make an immediate exchange of coins for standard bullion,
with a deduction of one half percent from the weight of the pure gold, or
pure silver contained in the said bullion, as an indemnification to the
mint for the time which will necessarily be required for coining the said
bullion, and for the advance which shall have been so made in coins. And
it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to furnish the said
mint from time to time whenever the state of the treasury will admit
thereof, with such sums as may be necessary for effecting the said
exchanges, to be replaced as speedily as may be out of the coins which
shall have been made of the bullion for which the monies so furnished
shall have been exchanged; and the said deductions of one half percent.
shall constitute a fund towards defraying the expenses of the said mint.
Sec. 15. And be it further enacted,
That the bullion which shall be
brought as aforesaid to the mint to be coined, shall be coined, and the
equivalent thereof in coins rendered, if demanded, in the order in which
the said bullion shall have been brought or delivered, giving priority
according to priority of delivery only, and without preference to any
person or persons; and if any preference shall be given contrary to the
direction aforesaid, the officer by whom such undue preference shall be
given, shall in each case forfeit and pay one thousand dollars; to be
recovered with costs of suit. And to the end that it may be known it such
preference shall at any time be given, the assayer or officer to whom the
said bullion shall be delivered to be coined shall give to the person or
persons bringing the same, a memorandum in writing under his hand denoting
the weight, fineness and value thereof, together with the day and order of
its delivery into the mint.
Sec 16. And be it further enacted,
That all the gold and silver coins
which shall have been struck at, and issued from the said mint, shall be a
lawful tender in all payments whatsoever, those of full weight according
to the respective values herein before declared, and those of less than
full weight at values proportional to their respective weights.
Sec. 17. And be it further enacted,
That it shall be the duty of the
respective officers of the said mint carefully and faithfully to use their
best endeavours that all the gold and silver coins which shall be struck
at the said mint shall be, as nearly as may be, conformable to the several
standards and weights aforesaid, and that the copper whereof the cents and
half cents aforesaid may be composed, shall be of good quality.
Sec. 18. And the better to secure a due conformity of the said gold and
silver coins to their respective standards, Be it further enacted,
from every separate mass of standard gold or silver, which shall be made
into coins at the said mint, there shall be taken, set apart by the
treasurer and reserved in his custody a certain number of pieces, not less
-than three, and that once in every year the pieces so set apart and
reserved, shall be assayed under the inspection of the Chief Justice of
the United States, the Secretary and Comptroller of the Treasury, the
Secretary for the department of State, and the Attorney General of the
(who are hereby required to attend for that purpose at the
said mint, on the last Monday in July in each year,)
or under the
inspection of any three of them, in such manner as they or a majority of
them shall direct, and in the presence of the director, assayer and chief
coiner of the said mint; and if it shall be found that the gold and silver
so assayed shall not be inferior to their respective standards herein
before declared more than one part in one hundred and forty-four parts.
the officer or officers of the said mint whom it may concern shall be held
excusable; but if any greater inferiority shall appear it shall be
certified to the President of the United States, and the said officer or
officers shall he deemed disqualified to hold their respective offices.
Section 19. And be it further enacted,
Section 20. And be if further enacted, That
the money of account of the United States
shall be expressed in dollars, or units,
dimes or tenths, cents or hundredths, and
the milles or thousandths, a dime being the
tenth part of a dollar, a cent the hundredth
part of a dollar, a mille the thousandth part
of a dollar, and that all accounts in the
public offices and all proceedings in the
courts of the United States shall be kept and
had in conformity to this regulation.
basing the coins....if any of the gold or silver coins which
shall be struck or coined at the said mint
shall be debased or made worse as to the
proportion of the fine gold or fine silver
therein contained, or shall be of less weight
or value than the same out to be pursuant to
the directions of this act, through the
default or with the connivance of any of the
officers or persons who shall be employed at
the said mint, for the purpose of profit or
gain, or otherwise with a fraudulent intent,
and if any of the said officers or persons
shall embezzle any of the metals which shall
at any time be committed to their charge for
the purpose of being coined, or any of the
coins which shall be struck or coined at the
said mint, every such officer or person who
shall commit any or either of the said
offenses, shall be deemed guilty of felony,
and shall suffer death.
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