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great production of gold. One of the most elaborate of these was printed in the Journal des Economists for March, 1876, and has been much referred to as an authority.* But had there been any data upon which a table of the annual product of the precious metals could be made in such detail for each year, United States Commissioner Blake, who made such an elaborate and valuable report for the time down to 1867, would probably have found them. In fact, all the "authorities" on the product of both gold and silver are extremely vague and discordant in their estimates for particular years, and I should be inclined to make a large allowance from the apparent exactness for each year in the Journal des Economists table. Reference to the table of Mr. Newmarch will show how much even "authorities" differ on this point.
* The following is the Journal des Economists table of the production of gold and silver each year since 1852:
But in order to make an approximate estimate of the amount of gold produced in the world from 1850 to 1875, it is necessary to harmonize, as near as possible, the conflicting estimates. For this purpose I have taken Blake's estimates, or the authorities cited by him, whenever they were for specified years, with the following result:
1840 to 1844.. 1845 to 1849. 1850 to 1854. 1855 to 1859. 1860 to 1864.
1865 to 1869.
1869 to 1874.
TOTAL PRODUCT OF GOLD IN THE WORLD FROM 1840 TO 1874 (INCLUSIVE) BY PERIODS OF FIVE YEARS EACH.
Total for thirty-five years
In the foregoing table the total product of gold in the world in the 35 years to 1874 inclusive, is estimated at $3,391,000,000. But in the preceding chapter on Gold and Silver Coin in Europe, the total stock of gold coin and of bullion used as bank reserves in the world was estimated not to exceed $2,700,000,000. What then has become of the $639,000,000 difference, and of all the stock of gold coin existing at the beginning of the period in question ?
All estimates of the consumption of gold in the arts and of loss by wear, by casualties, etc., have been only guesses without method, and yet it is only by adopting some method or rule of general application for the consumption of gold that any approximation can be made to the amount of gold coin in existence at any previous period.
Undoubtedly the largest item in the consumption of gold is the manufacture of jewelry and personal orna
ments, and though the jewelry is not consumed, it is pretty well understood that very little ever comes back into the market as "old gold." Articles of jewelry are as a rule kept as souvenirs even after they are no longer worn by the owners, and there is good reason for the belief in a continually increasing stock of jewelry and gold ornaments in the world. In the endeavor to estimate the amount of gold thus annually withdrawn from circulation as coin, we must first approximate to the amount of jewelry manufactured and sold.
The United States census for 1870 shows that 681 jewelry manufacturing establishments in the United States produced goods annually to the amount of $22,000,000, and that the value of the materials used in the manufacture of this amount of goods was $9,187,000. Besides this the manufacture of watchcases amounted to $2,333,340, in which the value of the materials was $1,152,979. The declared value of the net imports of foreign jewelry into the United States was $1,020,000 in 1871, $1,040,000 in 1872, $866,000 in 1873, and $275,000 in 1874. This includes neither watches nor watch movements, though the value of the import of both these aggregates from $2,000,000 to $3,000,000 annually. The amount of jewelry smuggled is believed to be larger than the amount reported to the customs officers. With these data we may estimate an annual supply of something near $27,000,000 of jewelry per annum for a population of say 40,000,000 in 1873. It would also be a moderate estimate to say that the total value of gold used in the manufacture of the $27,000,000 worth of jewelry is one fourth of the whole, say $7,000,000. But the jewelry manufactured as above mentioned is only the product of large establishments;
an addition of at least $500,000 more gold per annum must be made for articles manufactured by individual working jewelers. The amount of gold leaf and gold foil manufactured in the United States is between $2,000,000 and $3,000,000 annually, all of which is consumed here by dentists, gilders, photographers, etc. These items make an aggregate of at least $10,000,000 of gold per annum used in the arts in the United States. This amounts only to the apparently insignificant sum of 25 cents to each individual of the presumed population of 40,000,000 in 1873. But if we extend this ratio to 3,500,000 of population in Canada and 4,500,000 (half the population) of Mexico, it gives a total of $12,000,000 per annum, and if we extend it to the 300,500,000 population of Europe, it aggregates $87,100,000 per annum. It is, however, not to be presumed that the people of Europe and North America are the only consumers of gold in the 1,300,000,000 population of the globe, and we must reckon at least 150,000,000 more in Asia Minor, the northern coasts of Africa, the coasts of South America, the West Indies and Australia, thus giving at least 500,000,000, and omitting entirely 800,000,000 of the people of the world as either too poor or too barbarous to use gold either as ornaments or in the arts. Extending the ratio of 25 cents per capita per annum to this 500,000,000 it gives an aggregate of $125,000,000 per annum.
But something must be estimated for the abrasion of coins and for the loss of coin in fires, shipwrecks and other casualties. Dr. Farr, the English actuary for life insurance computation, made an elaborate calculation, based on experiments as to the loss from abrasion of coins, and arrived at the conclusion that the wear on
British gold coins was of 1 per cent per annum, or 1 per cent in 25 years. This is sustained also by the testimony of Mr. J. Miller, of the weighing room of the Bank of England, given before a royal commission in 1868. The loss by fires, wrecks and other casualties can scarcely be computed, but it is probably larger than the loss by abrasion.
McCulloch estimated in 1857 that the value of gold and silver in Great Britain at that time in the form of plate and jewelry was about $20 to each individual. He also estimated that the annual consumption of gold and silver in the arts in Europe, North America and Australia was at least $80,000,000 per annum, but that of this $80,000,000 about 20 per cent was obtained by the fusion of old plate, the burning of lace, picture frames,
With these data we may proceed to estimate the consumption of gold in the arts about 1873 as follows, viz.:
Total gold used in the arts, and in the loss, wear and accumulation of jewelry
Deduct 20 per cent of the amount used in jewelry, returned as old gold, say
Add, for loss and abrasion of gold coins
Total consumed and absorbed annually
Jacob estimated the amount of gold and silver consumed in the arts in 1830 at about $30,000,000. This has been thought by all other authorities as too low. But at the same time he estimated so large an amount for the loss and abrasion of coins that he concluded the whole supply of precious metals between the years 800 and 1492 had been only about sufficient to keep the stock on hand equal to what it was in 800. From the