Western Silver Mines Shut Down in 1893 – Barber Ten Cent Coin

Today, the Barber Ten-Cent Coin remembers the silver losses and subsequent mine closures 123 years ago.

The Los Angeles Herald of late June 1893 provided the following silver mining announcements:



All the Mills and Mines Colorado to Be Closed

Denver, June 29. —A large number of representative smelting and mining men of the state met this afternoon and unanimously decided to completely close down all the smelters, mills and silver mines in Colorado.

Ex-Governor J.B. Grant, of the Omaha and Grant smelter, presided.

Resolutions adopted declare the world cannot transact business without silver money; that the actual cost and value of the metal far exceeds the incorrect views the mono-metallists have formed; that the inevitable course of events will quickly demonstrate that the enormous sums of money invested in railroads, loans and other properly will so depreciate in value that the mono-metallists will also be convinced that some action must be taken with silver to restore it to its legitimate use, which it has held from time immemorial.

It was therefore resolved to completely close down all silver mines, mills and smelters in Colorado until such a time as silver is appreciated at its proper worth.

This action will throw many thousands of persons out of employment.

A new and vigorous move was made by the smelter men who met here this afternoon.

Late tonight ex-Governor Grant of the Omaha and Grant smelter, who was chairman of today’s meeting, gave out the following for publication:

In accordance with resolutions passed by the miners and smelters’ meeting this afternoon, the smelters of the Missouri valley, representing almost 90 per cent of the smelting business of the United States, have decided to cease purchasing silver ores, and go out of business.

They have approximately but 5,000,000 ounces of silver in stock.

With this limited supply the government cannot purchase the amount made obligatory by the Sherman bill during the next two months.


It Will Not Be Closed on Account of the Depression in Silver.

Helena, Mont., June 29.—Ex-Governor Houser, the chief owner of the Helena smelter, which is turning out $300,000 of bullion every month, says it will not close up, as there are enough gold and lead ores in Montana to keep it running in spite of the low prices of silver.

Houser says the present situation will cause a reaction in favor of silver.

Every silver mine that closes down reduces the production of gold 25 to 40 per cent.

The result will be a contraction of the gold product to less than $65,000,000 per annum, an amount which is consumed every year in the arts alone.

Money will become scarce and gold will go to a premium, and this scarcity will compel an increased use of silver.

Hauser thinks the next congress will repeal the Sherman law and pass a law for the coinage of $3,000,000 or $4,000,000 silver per month, on an increased ratio.

Hauser is one of the largest mine owners in Montana.


Nearly Every Mine in the Region Closed Down.

Spokane, Wash., June 29.—Mining in the Coeur d’Alenes is practically suspended.

The Morning mine closed down Wednesday, and the Gold Hunter will stop tomorrow.

This leaves only the Poor Man and the Tiger in operation among the big producers of the region.

Mr. Clark of the Poor Man went to Butte today, and a conference there will determine whether that mine will also close down.

It is not the prospect of making money that keeps these properties in operation, but the pumps must be kept going or the mines will fill with water.


The Barber Ten-Cent Coin shows with a group of burros waiting outside a silver mine in Colorado, circa 1898.

Barber Ten-Cent Coin