The basic reason for this one-way flow was theexisting weight ratiosbetween the American money and foreign currency. On the Europeanmarket, the bullion value of the American coins was more than theirface value, and as a result, many of these coins found their way to themelting pot.
The problem was especially acute for silver dollars, because wornSpanish dollars of lesser weight were readily swapped for new UnitedStates silver dollars, meaning many of the new dollars left the countrysoon after they were minted.
The metal imbalance situation got so out of hand that in 1804,President Thomas Jefferson ordered a suspension of gold $10.00 Eagleproduction. In 1806, Jefferson likewise halted silver dollarproduction. Not until 1836 did coinage of silver dollars resume. Forthree decades, then, the basal United States coin was not even minted.
In the absence of the dollar, the half dollar, in effect, became the"coin of the realm", produced in larger numbers than any other silverdenomination. But rather than finding its way to the general public,the half dollar replaced the discontinued dollar as the coin most oftenheld in bank reserve vaults, or transferred between banks to consummatelarge transactions. Both circumstances prevented many half dollars fromever experiencing heavy circulation, explaining why an unusually highpercentage of the early half dollars survive to this day in aboveaverage condition.
The strips were then washed to remove thelubricant, passed through theannealing oven again, cut lengthwise to make multiple narrow strips,and brought to a screw press machine to cut out circular planchets fromthe metal strip. Each planchet was annealed and later cleaned. Unusedmetal from the perforated strips were returned to the furnace formelting down into other coins.
By 1795, the Mint was operating three planchet cutting presses, with atotal punching capacity of 15,000 to 18,000 planchets daily.
The planchets were then weighed. Those heavier than their permittedtolerance range were filed across the face to remove material. This iswhy some of the earliest United States coins bear ghastly file marks, aresult of weight adjustments by the mint's original employees, much tothe chagrin of today's collectors. Underweight planchets were doomed tothe furnace to begin the entire process over again. The survivingplanchets were placed individually on a milling machine where reeded orlettered edges were impressed, as dictated by the coin's design. Coinsintended to have smooth edges bypassed this step.
E Pluribus Unum. This motto is found on all United States coinage. It means "out of many, one," indicating that the United States is just that — a united confederacy comprising several states, each with its own laws. But, should each mint its own coins?