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in the commercial world, viz., the assumption that previous estimates were correct. I have shown that the estimate made in 1868–69 of the amounts of gold and silver coin in Germany were made upon premises that were worse than worthless. They were made from statements of the coinage of nine different states of Germany, but there was no correspondence whatever in the periods; they varied from 33 to 103 years, and no allowance was made for the recoinage of the coins of other states, so that the same metal may have been coined three or four times by different governments of Europe; neither was any allowance made for the import or export of specie. Mr. Ernest Seyd, in his estimate of $3,750,000,000 of gold in circulation in the commercial world at present, arrives at it by assuming that there was $2,000,000,000 in circulation before 1848, and that up to 1875 $1,750,000,000 had been added; and yet there is not the slightest ground for the assumption of $2,000,000,000 in circulation before 1848 except conjecture. Indeed, so much do these authorities differ in their guessing that we find even the more moderate ones differing by amounts that make the whole matter seem ridiculous. Thus Professor Jevons estimated the amount of coin in the United Kingdom, in 1868, at £94,000,000, while in McCulloch's Commercial Dictionary, in the article on Coins, page 332, we find the following in regard to coin in Great Britain, viz.:
“On the whole, however, we shall not be far wrong if we estimate the stock of coin at present (1868) in possession of the public and of the different joint stock banks (exclusive of Bank of England) at £30,000,000.”
The coin and bullion in the Bank of England at the time referred to by McCulloch was probably about
£15,000,000, thus making an aggregate of £45,000,000 against Professor Jevons' £94,000,000. There is reason to think that Professor Jevons' estimate is much the nearest to correct, though he acknowledged at the time of the estimate that the amount of gold coin might not be above £70,000,000, instead of £80,000,000, which latter estimate I have used in the table of coin in the United Kingdom. These facts serve to show how unsubstantial is the foundation for the estimate of $2,000,000,000 in circulation in the commercial world before 1848. It is, of course, probable that in my own estimates of the coin and paper money in different countries of Europe and America, based largely on the ability of the people to hold or have money, I have made some erroneous estimates, but none, I think, which would change the total amount of gold, silver or paper money in either Europe or America over 15 per cent. As regards Asia and Africa, there is absolutely nothing to assist the statistician — it is all conjecture. With these reservations I should state the amount of each kind of money in the different quarters of the globe about as follows in millions of dollars of United
* The proportion of subsidiary silver and base metal coins is probably onetenth of the amount under the head of silver and base metal.
The largest amount in the foregoing table is the $4,000,000,000 set down as an estimate of the aggregate of silver and base metal coins, bars, ingots, and even ornaments, used as mediums of exchange in Asia. Unfortunately for economic science this largest amount is the very one about which the least is known, and I have arrived at the above estimate only upon the following hypothesis, viz. :
The total production of silver in the world in the last one hundred years has, according to the best information attainable, been about $5,000,000,000. The value of silver consumed in the arts is very small compared to the value of gold consumed (in the last quarter of a century it has not been more than one fifth as much per annum). If, therefore, we assume that $1,000,000,000 of silver was consumed in the arts in Europe and America in the last hundred years, it would leave $4,000,000,000 for other purposes. The aggregate of silver coin in Europe has probably increased $500,000,000 in a hundred years, thus leaving, say $3,500,000,000 for distribution to the rest of the world. Of this latter amount probably not less than $3,000,000,000 has gone to Asia, and if we estimate only $1,000,000,000 of silver in use as a medium of exchange in Asia one hundred years ago, it would give the aggregate of $4,000,000,000 estimated in the table. It is probable that the amount in use there at that period was very much larger than $1,000,000,000, but in semi-barbaric countries a much larger estimate must be made for loss by abrasion of coins and for loss in wars and by casualties; and in view of these features the amount of silver in use by the nearly 800,000,000 of people in Asia cannot be estimated below $4,000,000,000, and is probably larger than that.
THE ERA OF GOLD.
T will be seen that at the close of the preceding arti
cle the total stock of gold, silver and base metal coinin the world is estimated at $10,400,000,000. Deducting from this, say, $400,000,000 for coins composed wholly of other metals than gold and silver, and we have a total of $10,000,000,000, of which, say, $6,300,000,000 are silver, and $2,700,000,000 are gold. This estimate, it must be remembered, has been arrived at by a totally different method from any ever used before, and without the slightest thought of making the result correspond with any of the numerous estimates of the stock of coin made by the usual method of adding the production of the mines (less the amount presumed to be used in the arts) to some estimated amount presumed to have been in existence at some previous period.
But as the increase or decrease of the annual production of gold and silver have an important bearing on finances and prices generally, we may now proceed to the questions of the production, consumption and remaining stock of the precious metals from the beginning of the present century down to 1875.
Singularly enough, there seems to be much more harmony among the acknowledged authorities in regard to the annual production of gold in the remotest part of the period in question than there is with reference to the last fifty years, or even twenty-five years.
Birkmyre estimated the amount of pure gold produced in America, Europe and Asia (exclusive of China and Japan) in 1801 at $13,060,000.
Professor W. P. Blake, one of the United States commissioners to the Paris Exposition in 1867, made an elaborate and very valuable report on the precious metals, in which, after reviewing the essays of Chevalier, Humboldt, Jacob, Dauson and others, he says (page 207): “It will thus be seen that all these authorities concur in estimating the annual product of gold at the commencement of the present century at about $13,000,000 per annum, in round numbers."
Mr. R. W. Raymond, United States Commissioner of Mining Statistics, in his report for 1875, estimates (though without citing any previous authority) the product of gold (pages 477, 478) at the beginning of the present century at $15,000,000 per annum, and the product of silver at $40,000,000 per annum.
The entire gold product of the world was constant at about this average annual rate of $13,000,000 to $14,000,000 per year until the development of the Russian and Siberian mines, about 1825. From an annual product of less than $4,000,000, from the Russian and Siberian mines, between 1825 and 1830, there was an increase in the amount to about $15,000,000 annually between 1840 and 1850. This, together with some revival of the gold product of South America, contributed to increase the total annual gold product of the world to about $30,000,000 in 1846, and $93,000,000 in 1850.* we come to the period in which it is well known there was an increase in the production of gold so vast as to well
* The last two amounts are the estimates of Birkmyre, who made a table (reproduced in Blake's Report, page 358) of the gold and silver product of all