Today, the Indian Princess Gold One Dollar Coin remembers when the U.S. Mint’s Philadelphia location discovered they had 5000 ounces less of gold than they expected.
From the Evening Herald newspaper of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, September 16, 1893 edition:
There May Have Been a Mistake.
Agent Morgan, of the Treasury Department, Will Not Admit a Deficiency, While Chief Clerk Cobb Doubts the Correctness of the Statement.
Washington, Sept. 16. — Acting Director of Mint Preston yesterday admitted the truth of the report of the loss of $134,000 worth of gold bullion from the Philadelphia mint, but refused to make any official statement.
It is said Mr. Bosbyshell, the present superintendent of the mint, will be compelled to make good the shortage.
Philadelphia, Sept 16. — The bullion missing from the mint is part of $15,000,000 worth of gold bullion which was brought from New York and deposited in the vault in 1887, when Daniel M. Fox was superintendent of the mint.
The vault was locked and sealed at that time, and to all appearances the seals had never been removed.
The seal in question is placed by an official of the treasury department, and is known as the department seal.
The orders issued by the secretary of the treasury a short time ago to coin gold made it necessary to draw upon the bullion in this vault.
In order that the condition of the bullion might be officially ascertained Superintendent Bosbyshell requested Acting Director of the Mint Preston that he or some other official of the treasury department should be present when the vault was opened.
When Superintendent Bosbyshell assumed charge of the mint he gave his receipt for this bullion without having it weighed, because the seals of the vault were intact, and Director Preston informed him that as he had no question as to the contents of the vaults at that time he was solely responsible, and the presence of a treasury official would, therefore, make no difference.
But finally the director agreed that the treasury should be represented when the vault was opened and the bullion re-weighed, and a few days ago William E. Morgan came here from the mint bureau in Washington.
On Tuesday the seals of the vaults were removed, the vault opened and the bullion re-weighed, Mr. Morgan being present.
Then it was that the discovery was made that there was over 5,000 ounces, or about $134,000 worth of bullion less in the vault than what there should have been.
Mr. Morgan said this morning that he wasn’t prepared to admit that there was any shortage at all. “All men are liable to err,” said he, as he referred to a possible mistake on his own part.
Chief Clerk Cobb doubted the correctness of the story. He believed a mistake had been made, and everything would end satisfactorily,
“The seal was not tampered with,” said he, “and there is no evidence of felonious entry. There is a gallery around the vault, and it is under surveillance all the time.”
An air of mystery still surrounds the alleged shortage. A report was current last night that a mint official had been arrested on a charge of stealing the gold and held under heavy bail, but all efforts to confirm this rumor were fruitless.
Acting Mint Director Preston arrived here last evening from Washington and was in conference at the Lafayette hotel for several hours with Chief of the Secret Service Drummond, Superintendent Bosbyshell, of the mint; Treasury Agent Morgan, David K. Tuttle, smelter and refiner at the mint, and Treasury Agent Underwood.
It was said that the accused was closeted with the above, and that an effort was being made to make him confess, but when the conference ended none of the participants would talk.
All attempts to learn the outcome were met with rebuffs.
The anxiety of the mint officials, and the fact that everybody concerned absolutely refuses to discuss the matter, in a measure substantiates the original report of the actual shortage.
The Indian Princess Gold One Dollar Coin shows with an image of the Philadelphia Mint, circa 1900.