I don’t have much to say tonight, on the “current events” front. It’s about 1 PM here in Colorado and it’s pretty quiet at the moment–and I might not have the opportunity to update this if something big does break.
Let’s see. Sullivan still being an ass, exculpatory information still coming out in fairly large buckets (I can see why some think he’s drawing this out with the knowledge and approval of people on our side). Still got Leftists of various different types running around loose in our urban areas.
And rumors that Durham is simply going to drop his work. I sure hope not.
Reminder of the Most Important Thing about the MAGA Movement
Yes, I am going to harp on this, because it is the most important thing President Donald J. Trump has to do, and he hasn’t really gotten started on it yet.
Our movement is about replacing a failed and corrupt political establishment with a new government controlled by you, the American People...Our campaign represents a true existential threat, like they’ve never seen before.Then-Candidate Donald J. Trump
Lawyer Appeasement Section
OK now for the fine print.
This is the WQTH Daily Thread. You know the drill. There’s no Poltical correctness, but civility is a requirement. There are Important Guidelines, here, with an addendum on 20191110.
We have a new board – called The U Tree – where people can take each other to the woodshed without fear of censorship or moderation.
And remember Wheatie’s Rules:
1. No food fights
2. No running with scissors.
3. If you bring snacks, bring enough for everyone.
4. The gun is always loaded.
4a. If you actually want the gun to be loaded, like because you’re checking out a bump in the night, then it’s empty.
5. Never point the gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy.
6. Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
7. Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
(Hmm a few extras seem to have crept in.)
Now it wouldn’t be one of my posts without a coin, would it?
What we have here is one of the rarest coins on Earth, and it’s a “legit” coin. It was intended to be used as money, was released as money, was issued legally, isn’t a pattern, a restrike or a fantasy piece. Many of the more famous rarities (1804 dollars, 1913 Liberty Head Nickels, for instance) fall into one of these later categories–they weren’t made to be used, and may have been illegally produced.
To my knowledge the lowest legitimate mintage for a coin was 24 dimes made in San Francisco in 1894. Ten are still known to exist. In this case, though, 17,796 half eagles (i.e., five dollar gold pieces) were made in 1822. But unless someone kicks over a rock and finds a stash of these things (not impossible), there are three of them today. And the Smithsonian has two of the three. So that leaves one in private hands. Apparently it sold in 1982 for $600,000, and was up for sale in 2016 in an auction but I can’t find any indication as to whether it sold and for how much, so I assume it did NOT sell–the owner was asking too much. (Surely there are people who would pay well into seven figures.)
Why so rare? I don’t know the complete answer to that, but any gold from before 1834 is tough to find. (There are relatively common dates, for instance this particular design, if you do find one for sale, will most likely be an 1813, which at least costs less than a new car even in the lower uncirculated grades.)
But I do know a large part of the reason for this is that although our original laws specified that gold and silver were to be minted at a 15:1 ratio, this had become out of date. What does that mean? That means if you took a pound of silver to the mint, you’d get a certain amount of coins back in return (this was a free service by the US mint, provided you were willing to wait for them to actually make the coins from your silver; if you wanted your coins immediately, there was a 1% charge). If you took a pound of gold in, you’d get back coins worth fifteen times as much. A pound of gold was legally worth fifteen pounds of silver. The problem was, this ratio had been slowly dropping since ancient times. In ancient Egypt, silver was actually worth more than gold; in the mid 1700s the ratio had shifted from 14:1 to 14.5:1. It was pretty much an unbroken trend, and lately the ratio is near 100:1 (sometimes over depending on the specific day).
[Note: as of 13:13 Colorado time, gold is at $1799/ozt, silver is at $18.75/ozt, for a ratio of 95.946666…:1.]
What happened when silver dropped relative to gold? The gold became over-valued. One could accumulate ten dollars of silver coinage, exchange it for ten dollars in gold (as two half eagles, most likely, as eagles weren’t being made then)…and the gold would actually be worth more. So you could melt it and sell it for more than ten dollars’ worth of silver.
So most of that old gold coinage is long gone, much of it now likely in Fort Knox or the gold “eagles” being produced today. Or in your wedding band.
Some people hung onto some pieces, and sometimes the mint or treasury had retained a small group in a vault somewhere, often all of the same date, which is why some dates are still obtainable, and others aren’t. Apparently no one happened to hang onto a stash of 1822 half eagles.
This page: https://www.pcgs.com/coinfacts/coin/1822-5/8130 discusses this coin, and has a picture of the two Smithsonian specimens as well. So now you’ve seen them all. They show prices below, but those can only be educated guesses when the coin, and I do mean the coin, as there’s only one outside of museums, hasn’t appeared on the market in 38 years.
The weight of gold was reduced in mid-1834, with a design change to go with it so you could tell the coins apart, and the problem was solved, for a while.
In the early 1850s, with the economy being flooded by gold coming out of California, the shoe was on the other foot for a change and silver became scarce. The problem was solved by deliberately reducing the silver in coinage (other than silver dollars) so much that now the silver in a coin was worth considerably less than face value, and that was the end of free coinage of silver. (This was in 1853, and the change was denoted by placing little arrowheads on either side of the date.) No more dropping your silver off at the mint to be made into coins, because they could only issue as much silver as there was gold to back it. For the rest of the century, whether or not silver should be freely coined was a huge political issue, and a large part of William Jennings Bryan’s support was from people who wanted free coinage of silver (and then, probably would have complained about the resulting inflation).
This sort of thing is why I don’t believe that we should switch to a bi-metallic monetary system…the ratios of values of the coins shift constant. Unless we set up two different, parallel denominations (silver dollars and gold ducats for instance) and let them float against each other, we’d have all sorts of problems. But there’s no reason we couldn’t go to a single-metallic system.
For some reason, my comment about you getting to look at all of the 1822 half eagles reminded me of a very old joke…from about 1980. You can update it as needed. Pedro and Luis run into each other in Mexico City. They hadn’t seen each other in a couple of years. After getting caught up on happenings in their lives, Pedro says, “Did you know that the US debt is now up to a trillion dollars?” Luis, thinking that sounds like a big number, asks, “How much is that in pesos?” Pedro answers, “All of them.”
And yes, that joke is woefully out of date, especially since our previous two presidents each doubled the national debt. Another advertisement for either a gold or a silver standard, but not both.
Disclaimer: Neither this, nor any other coin I post, is mine. [In this case: DUH!!!] With older coins, I’m going to find the best pic of one on the internet, so even if I happen to have one, it’s not the nicest one on earth…and some coins are worth more than my net worth so I certainly won’t have those!
Just one more thing, my standard Public Service Announcement. We don’t want to forget this!!!
Remember Hong Kong!!!
Zhōngguò shì gè hùndàn !!!
China is asshoe !!!