The second installment of David Finkelstein's examination of the work flow of the first United States Mint is provided in the June 7 edition of the JR Newsletter, a weekly electronic publication of the John Reich Collectors Society.
In the first installment, Finkelstein identified the five major steps to convert bullion into money: bullion deposit, melting and refining, coining and recycling of clippings, coin delivery and coin return.
In Part II, Finkelstein looks closely at the melting and refining aspects of Mint operations.
The following text is published with permission:
"The objectives of the Melting & Refining workflow phase were as follows:
"1. The silver bullion was melted, removing all alloys and impurities. Copper was then added to the silver, creating a silver to alloy ratio that was 1485 parts silver and 179 parts copper. The mixture was then poured into ingots.
"2. The gold bullion was melted, removing all alloys and impurities. Silver and copper was then added to the gold, creating a gold to alloy ratio that was 11 parts gold and 1 part silver and copper. The mixture was then poured into ingots.
"The Mint & Coinage Act [of April 2, 1792] did not define the position of Melter & Refiner. As a result, silver and gold bullion deposits could not be legally melted and refined into ingots with the proper bullion and alloy percentages as mandated by Congress. This issue was discussed in my April, 2015 John Reich Journal article titled 'How The Mint Act of 1792 Prevented The Deposit of Bullion & The Striking Of Silver & Gold Coins.' "