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Annual Assay

mint, pieces, coins, weight, united, trial, coinage, presence and director

ANNUAL ASSAY. An annual trial of the gold and silver coins of the United States, to ascertain whether the standard fineness and weight of the coinage is maintained.

At every delivery of coins made by the coiner to a superintendent, it is made the duty of the super intendent, in the presence of the assayer, to take indiscriminately a certain number of pieces of each variety for the annual trial of coins, the number for goid coins being not less than one piece for each one thousand pieces, or any fractional part of one thousand pieces delivered; and for silver coins, one piece for each two thousand pieces, or any fractional part of two thousand pieces delivered. The pieces so taken shall be carefully sealed'up in an envelope, properly labelled, stating the date of the delivery, the number and denominations of the pieces en closed, and the amount of the delivery from which they were taken. These sealed parcels containing the reserved pieces shall be deposited in a pyx, des ignated for the purpose at each mint, which shall be under the joint care of the superintendent and assayer, and be eo secured that neither can have access to its contents without the presence of the other, and the reserved pieces in their envelopes from the coinage of each mint shall be transmitted quarterly to the mint at Philadelphia. A record shall also be kept of the number and denomination of the pieces so delivered, a copy of which shall be transmitted quarterly to the director of the mint; Sect. 40, Act of Feb. 12, 1873 ; U. S. R. S. § 3539. To secure a due conformity in the gold and sliver coins to their respective standards and weights, it is provided by law that an annual trial shall be made of the pieces reserved for this purpose at the mint and its branches, before the judge of the dis trict court of the United States for the eastern district of Pennsylvania, the comptroller of the cur rency, the assayer of the assay office at New York, and such other persons as the president shall from time to time designate for that purpose, who shall meet as assay commissioners, on the second Wednes day in February annually, at the mint in Philadel phia, to examine and test, in the presence of the director of the mint, the fineness and weight of the coins reserved by the several mints for this pur pose, and may continue their meetings by adjourn ment, if necessary ; and if a majority of the com missioners shall fail to attend at any time appoint ed for their meeting, then the director of the mint shall call a meeting of the commissioners at such other time as he may deem convenient, and if it shall appear that these pieces do not differ from the standard fineness and weight by a greater quantity than is allowed by law, the trial.shail be considered and reported as satisfactory ; but If any greater deviation from the legal standard or weight shell appear, this fact shall be certified to the president of the United States, and if, on a view of the cir cumstances of the case, he shall so decide, the offi cer or officers Implicated in the error shall be thenceforward disqualified from holding their re spective offices; § 48, Act of Feb. 12, 1873 (U. S. R.

S. § 3547); id. §5 49, 60 (R. S. §§ 3548, 3549). As to the standard weight and fineness of the gold and silver coins of the United States, see eections of the last-cited act. The limit of allowance for wastage is fixed; § 43, Act of Feb. 12, 1873; R. S. § 3542. For the purpose of securing a due conformity in the weight of the coins of the United States, the brass troy pound weight procured by the minister of the United States (Mr. Gallatin) at London, in the year 1827, for the use of the mint, and now in the custody of the director thereof, shall be the stand ard troy pound of the mint, of the United States, conformably to which the coinage thereof shall be regulated; and it is made the duty of the director of the mint to procu'e and safely keep a series of standard weights corresponding to the aforesaid troy pound, and the weights ordinarily employed in the transactions of the mint shall he regulated ac cording to such standards at least once in every year under his inspection, and their accuracy test ed annually in the presence of the assay commis sioners on the day of the annual assay ; Act of Feb. 12, 1873; R. S. § 3548.

In England, the accuracy of the coinage Is re viewed once in about every four years; no specific period being fixed by law. It is an ancient custom or ceremony, and is called the Trial of the Pyw; which name it takes from the pyx or chest in which the specimen-coins are deposited. These specimen pieces are taken to be a fair representation of the whole money coined within a certain period. It having been notified to the government that a trial of the pyx is called for, the lord chancellor Issues his warrant to summon a jury of goldsmiths who, on the appointed day, proceed to the Exchange Office, Whitehall, and there, in the presence of sev eral privy councillors and the officers of the mint, receive the charge of the lord chancellor as to their important functions, who requests them to deliver to him a verdict of their finding. The jury proceed to Goldsmiths' Hall, London, where assay ing apparatus and all other necessary appliances are provided, and, the sealed packages of the speci men-coke being delivered to them by the officers of the mint, they are tried by weight, and then a cer tain number are taken from the whole and melted into a bar, from which the assay trials are made, and a verdict is rendered according to the results which have been ascertained; Encyc. Brit titles Coinage, Mint, Money, Numismatics.