No. 182.
Mr. White to Mr. Evarts.

No. 48.]

Sir: Referring to your instruction No. 7 of the 23d of May last, calling for certain information for the Secretary of the Treasury, respecting the amount of gold and silver coin and bullion and paper currency in Germany, I have the honor to state that the legation applied to the imperial foreign office for the information desired, on the 17th of June last, and that a reply, under date of the 30th ultimo, has been received to its communication.

Copies of this correspondence, as well as copies of the inclosures accompanying the foreign office note, together with translations of such of them as are not in print, are herewith inclosed.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 to No. 48.—Translation.]

The undersigned has the honor to inclose to Mr. Andrew D. White, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America, a memorial together with four inclosures, containing the information regarding German coinage, the production of gold and silver, and commercial relations respecting these metals in Germany, as requested in his esteemed note of the 17th of June last.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to the envoy the assurances of his most distinguished consideration.

[Inclosure 2 to No. 48.—Translation.]


1. The amount of gold coin and bullion in the imperial treasury, in the banks, and in circulation in Germany?

2. The amount of silver coin in the imperial treasury, in the banks, and in circulation in Germany?

The changing of the coinage in Germany, occasioned by an act of December 4, 1871 (Imperial Statute Book, page 404), and July 9, 1873 (Imperial Statute Book, page 233), has been so far completed that now only the one thaler pieces of the old coin of [Page 399] the country yet remain in circulation, whereas the withdrawal and demonetization of all the other old gold and silver coin of the country has been furnished.

More complete information concerning the carrying out of the German coinage laws will be found in the seventh memorial laid before Parliament by the imperial government on the 15th February last, two copies of which are herewith inclosed. Concerning this memorial, the following is remarked:

Heretofore the total sum of old gold and silver coin of the country withdrawn amounts to 90,948,480 marks in gold coin, and 1,079,734,456 marks silver coin, viz:

Old coin of the country

In gold coin. In silver coin.
Marks. Marks.
To the end of 1873 21,813,632 59,779,188
To the end of 1874 69,134,848 89,161,909
To the end of 1875 217,556,636
To the end of 1876 276,537,625
To the end of 1877 302,891,176
To the end of 1878 107,120,557
To the end of 1879 26,687,365
(to the end of May.)
Total 90,948,480 1,079,734,456

The amount of one thaler pieces not yet withdrawn cannot be stated.

According to page six of the subjoined memorial the number of one thaler pieces coined amounts to 395,537,532, of which 195,432,540 thalers had been withdrawn and demonetized at the close of the year 1878, so that, at that time, 200 million thalers remained to be withdrawn. From this amount a deduction would have to be made on account of the disappearance of one thaler pieces from circulation, caused by smelting, loss, &c., and could not therefore be considered at the withdrawal. It is impossible to fix this amount before the withdrawal has been completed.

Besides this, a large portion of the “Veriens thaler” and “Veriens doppelthaler” coined in Austria until the close of the year 1867, to the amount of 31,115,849 thalers, are, under an act of the 20th April, 1874 (Imperial Statute Book, page 35), current in Germany and still in circulation.

Respecting the circulation of imperial gold and silver coin, there has been coined at the German mints:

In imperial gold coin (partly on account of the empire, partly on account of private persons). In imperial silver coin (on account of the empire).
Marks. Marks.
To the end of 1873 1,015,837,020 2,350,295
To the end of 1874 93,507,380 46,331,621
To the end of 1875 166,420,850 115,558,995
To the end of 1876 159,424,280 210,080,236
To the end of 1877 112,539,475 46,222,943
To the end of 1878 124,970,080 6,564,974
To the end of 1879 25,019,850
(to the end of May.]
Total 1,697,718,935 427,109,064

In estimating the actual amount of gold and silver coin in circulation, the amount of 120 million marks coined, and under an act of the 11th of November, 1871 (Imperial Statute Book, page 403), deposited as a war fund, and the amounts exported to foreign countries, must be deducted. The latter, according to information gathered on the subject, amounted, at the end of the year 1878, to about 173,840,000 marks, of which about 102,970,000 marks have been melted down in foreign mints, whilst the remaining 70,870,000 marks, at the close of the year 1878, was in foreign banking houses.

According to the statement, after deducting the 120 million marks deposited as a war fund, from the amount of imperial gold coined before 1873, and the sum of [Page 400] 173,840,000 marks in equal parts, which passed into foreign countries from the imperial gold coin coined in the years 1875, 1876, 1877 and 1878, there would remain in circulation in Germany, in gold and silver coin (together with the funds in public treasuries and banking-houses), a total estimated, for the few years past, as follows:

Gold coin, marks. Silver coin, marks. Total marks.
Old. Imperial. Old. Imperial.
At the close of the year 1878 1,378,859,085 399,000,000 427,109,064 2,204,968,149
At the close of the year 1877 1,297,349,005 506,120,557 420,544,090 2,224,013,652
At the close of the year 1876 1,228,269,530 809,011,733 374,321,147 2,411,602,410
At the close of the year 1875 1,112,305,250 1,085,549,358 164,240,911 2,362,095,519
At the close of the year 1874 989,344,400 1,303,105,994 48,681,916 2,341,132,310
At the close of the year 1873 69,134,848 895,837,020 1,392,267,903 2,350,295 2,359,590,066

Respecting the cash of the imperial treasury and banking institutions, it must be remembered that the imperial treasury holds no cash of its own, as its business is conducted by the Imperial Bank (Reichs bank), from whose cash it is never separated.

In estimating the cash of the Imperial Bank and the other German banks issuing notes, the amount of current German gold in coin and in bars or foreign coin, the pound fine must be counted at 1,392 marks, according to§ 8 of the law of the country, of May 14, 1875 (R. G. Lb., p. 177).

The balance in cash of the banks referred to, averaged—

In the year 1876 640,231,000
In the year 1877 618,465,000
In the year 1878 579,803,000
In the year 1879 621,439,000
(to the end of May.)

How this cash on hand is divided, as regards coined and uncoined metal, cannot be stated, since the banking-houses make no reports upon the subject.

3. The amount of outstanding paper currency in Germany?

Upon this point the law of April 30, 1874 (R. G. B., p. 40), comes under consideration, according to which the withdrawal of the paper currency issued by the individual German states is ordained for July 1, 1875, at the latest, and the Imperial Government authorized to issue imperial bank-notes. In consequence of this authorization, there have been issued, up to the present time, 163,097,900 marks, in imperial bank-notes, of which—

60,396,800 marks, in notes of 5
50,858,140 marks, in notes of 20
51,842,900 marks, in notes of 50

Of this currency (imperial bank-notes) nevertheless, according to a provision of § 3 of the above-mentioned law, 43,097,900 marks are to be gradually withdrawn by 1891.

The circulation in imperial bank-notes, which is regulated by the law of the country of March 14, 1875, already mentioned, amounted on the average, to—

In the year 1876 946,957,016
In the year 1877 909,137,684
In the year 1878 820,607,263
In the year 1879 801,592,160

4. The amount of gold produced annually from mines in Germany?

5. The amount of silver annually produced from mines in Germany?

The information asked for in questions 4 and 5, concerning the yearly production of gold and silver in Germany, will be found in inclosure A.

6. The amount of silver annually coined, imported, exported, and consumed in the arts and manufactures in Germany?

Respecting the amount of silver coined in Germany, to the information contained in 1 and 2 is added, that in coining all kinds of imperial silver coins, according to article 3, § 1, of the coinage laws of April 9, 1873 (R. G. L. 233), one pound fine of silver is contained in 100 marks.

For the production of the 427,109,064 marks coined by the government up to the end of May last, about 4,271,091 pounds of silver fine have, therefore, been consumed.

[Page 401]

A summary of the import and export of crude and coined silver in Germany, according to information obtainable, will be found in inclosure B.

Respecting, finally the annual consumption of silver for industrial purposes in Germany, the desired information cannot be given, since no researches have been made upon this point.

[Translation of A to inclosure 2 of No. 48.]


The production in Germany, according to official statistical investigations, amounted to:

A. in Gold.

In the year 1850 3.8
In the year 1851 9.4
In the year 1852 13.6
In the year 1853 19.5
In the year 1854 12.9
In the year 1855 15.7
In the year 1856 8.7
In the year 1857 14.7
In the year 1858 15.2
In the year 1859 20.5
In the year 1860 43.0
In the year 1861 28.5
In the year 1862 9.8
In the year 1863 46.0
In the year 1864 42.1
In the year 1865 35.4
In the year 1866 105.1
In the year 1867 84.8
In the year 1868 115.1
In the year 1869 79.0
In the year 1870 68.1
In the year 1871 82.3
In the year 1872 327.5
In the year 1873 315.0
In the year 1874 365.1
In the year 1875 332.3
In the year 1876 281.3
In the year 1877 307.9
In the year 1878 308.7

(According to present results.)

The above figures refer only to gold obtained in smelting houses, but not from private refineries (especially from smelting old silver coin).

Of the gold obtained from German smelting houses, there was produced from imported foreign ores:

In the year 1874 105.5
In the year 1875 55.1
In the year 1876 94.2

Since the year 1877 no distinction is made as regards the production from foreign or native ores.

B. in silver.

Period. No. of.
Total. Proportionally each year.
Kilos. Kilos.
1851–1855 5 244,800 48,960
1856–1860 5 307,550 61,510
1861–1865 5 341,640 68,320
1866–1870 5 445,620 89,125
1871–1875 5 715,400 143,080
In the year 1876 139,778.5
In the year 1877 147,612.1
In the year 1878 166,911 (*)
[Page 402]

The increase in the production of silver in Germany since the year 1871, was caused principally by the smelting of foreign ores (derived chiefly from the western shores of America) which, however, has again decreased since the year 1874. From foreign silver ores, there were produced in Germany:

In the year 1871 7,424
In the year 1872 26,265
In the year 1873 84,957
In the year 1874 46,032
In the year 1875 23,152
In the year 1876 16,633

In the statistics for 1877 and 1878, no distinction is made between the production from foreign or domestic ores.

[Translation of B to inclosure 2 to No. 48.]


Statement of the imports and exports of crude and coined silver in Germany.

Years. Imported,
Kilograms fine.
Kilograms fine.
1872 923,500 382,000

1872–1877, inclusive. To the amounts of exports as stated in the official statistics of commerce, the silver exported on account of the empire is added. The exports and imports of silver on account of the State, occasioned by the payment of the French war indemnity, has not been considered, because that portion of the silver which flowed into Germany through the war indemnity, as far as it consisted of French coin, was soon again returned by the government to France, and as far as it consisted of German coin, had probably been taken there by German troops.

For 1878, the official statistics have not yet appeared. The statement is, therefore, confined to the exports on account of the empire.

1873 1,035,500 1,260,000
1874 312,500 1,610,000
1875 189,500 316,000
1876 147,500 1,826,500
1877 191,500 5,592,000
1878 2,312,000
  1. According to present results.