Well worn Copper's Blog

28 Apr 2020

The 1878 Bland-Allison Act: Missed Opportunities for Small Change?

| Well worn Copper

The Bland-Allison Act of 1878 recently popped into my head and got me wondering about a couple things. While the act's main purpose was to resuscitated the silver dollar, I've always wondered why it didn't do more. Five years earlier the "Crime of 1873" was passed and eliminated the silver dollar. Also eliminated were the 3 cent silver coin, and the silver half dime. At the time, both of these coins were doing okay and were actually being hoarded. They were replaced by their nickel counterparts, namely the 3 cent nickel and the 5 cent nickel coin. Between 1873 and 1878, the 20 cent piece was introduced (which was a failure) as well as the trade Dollar (also a failure). 1878 would witness the demise of both coins and see the return of the silver dollar. Now here's my question: With the western silver mining states successfully lobbying for the return silver dollars, why didn't they also press for the return of the silver trime and half dime? Both of these coins could have easily made up the difference from the demise of the 20 cent piece, which was only introduced by the silver lobby to make use of more silver. I believe silver trimes and half dimes could have been struck and circulated well into the end of the 19th century if reintroduced, and could have provided better use of silver than an abundance of silver dollars sitting in bank vaults.



Level 5

It was and still is all about the Politics.


Level 6

More about the lobbying of politicians by special interest groups, proving that politics and the money that fuels it has never changed throughout the history of this great Republic.

Long Beard

Level 5

The trime was tied to the postage rate at the time of issue and also the lightest of coinage. So even in large quantities it wouldn't justify their reissue. The twenty cent, on the other hand, as proposed by Nevada Senator John P. Jones could have been re-struck had it not been so close in size to the quarter. Like the Susan B. Anthony it was a flop with public.


Level 5

It may have been covered by Mokester but let me put it another way, the nickel miners wanted their palms greased like the silver miners. I guess there was plenty of grease to go around.


Level 6

Well, Mokie pretty much took care of that question. Good question by the way. I was inking of doing a more extensive blog on the Act. Maybe..I also agree with Mike. The Trade Dollar did a fair job but, for sure, the Asian countries, it was intended for, preferred the Real coins of Spain and Mexico among other Latin America countries. Thanks.


Level 6

Beautiful picture BTW, is that yours? The western silver lobby were interested in reviving the Silver Dollar because A. it kept people employed and mine owners wealthy B. it uses a lot more silver to make a Dollar than to make a trime or half dime. C. because westerners were not fond of fiat money and always supported the silver dollar even when easterners did not. D. The trime was a very specialized denomination associated with the cost of a contemporary postage stamp and was not eliminated, just superseded. the half dime was also not dropped, just superseded by the nickel and both nickels and nickel trimes had their own proponents in the mining industry.


Level 5

Great for silver dollars. Wonder how long the coinage would last if brought back in those days? Having a 3 cent piece today would be interesting. Thanks for the information.


Level 7

Good blog. Actually the trade dollar were used what they were made for trade with the east. They wanted silver and thats what they got. Some were returned with Chop Marks. Some were advertisements some had the stores name. Today they bring a good price for an Xfine. For me they were a success. The others i will agree with you. Thanks allot good reading.

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