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Monetary Statistics of the United States: Estimates, Sources, Methods



Sources and Accuracy of Basic Data This PDF is a selection from an out-of-print volume from the National Bureau of Economic Research Volume Title: Monetary Statistics of the United States: Estimates, Sources, Methods Volume Author/Editor: Milton Friedman and Anna Jacobson Schwartz Volume Publisher: NBER Volume ISBN: 0-870-14210-0 Volume URL: Publication Date: 1970 Chapter Title: Sources and Accuracy of Basic Data Chapter Author: Milton Friedman, Anna Jacobson Schwartz Chapter URL: Chapter pages in book: (p. 205 - 213) 6 SOURCES AND ACCURACY OF BASIC DATA DATA FOR SPECIE (gold and silver), currency, and deposits—both their totals and their distributions among the the banks, and the public—come typically from d,ifferent sources. The reasons are both sta- tistical and institutional. 1. Sources of Data Specie Official yearly compilations of the U.S. monetary gold stock and the stock of silver begin only with June 30, 1873, the first date for which the Director of the Mint made estimates. That year was chosen as the start of the series because it was believed the stocks at the time could be accurately estimated. Gold was at a high premium. Nearly all the gold coin in the country was either in the Treasury or the banks. Silver dollar coinage had been discontinued in 1873 and few, if any, dollars of the old series were believed to be in circulation. Silver bullion in the Treasury was known. Subsidiary silver coinage circulated mainly on the Pacific coast. Annual gold, stock and subsidiary silver coin estimates, 1860—72, keyed to the Director of the Mint's 1873 estimates, were published by the Treasury in 1922. The figures were described as "only estimates" since the records are not complete for the early years.1 The Treasury 1 The 1860—72 estimates, which were first given in the 1922 Treasury annual report(p. 524), are described in the 1928 annual report (p. 551, footnote 1). In Treasury

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