1904 and 1909 Gold Shortages
1904 and 1909 Gold Shortages

IMS Kronprinzessin Cecilie disguised as White Star Line's Olympic
at Bar Harbor, Maine, upon her return to the US
after the commencement of hostilities in Europe.

World War I had commenced. There is no treasure here; the Kronprinzessin Cecilie was not a casualty of war but returned safely to a then neutral United States.

The announcement here of the arrival of the North German liner Kronprinzessin Cecilie at Bar Harbor [Maine] at 6 a.m. yesterday solved the mystery in which the ship, with its gold freight of more than $10,000,000, has been involved since her sailing on Tuesday of last week for Bremen. ...
With a cargo of $10,000,000 in gold and $3,400,000 in silver, consigned to
[British and] French bankers, with an estimated value of over $5,000,000 in herself, the Kronprinzessin Cecilie has constituted probably the finest sea prize open to capture.

[The captain said], 'We have reached an American port in safety and that was more than I had dared to hope. We have been in almost constant danger of capture, and we can consider ourselves extremely lucky to have come out so well.'...

Journal of Commerce, August 5, 1914, 8:5
See also ship's history at Great Ships

What happened to the Cecilie's gold?

Gold on the Cecilie

Opinions seem to differ as to what disposition shall be made of the $10,600,000 in gold aboard the North German Lloyd liner Kronprinzessin Cecilie which [once war broke out in Europe] has put back into Bar Harbor, Me. In the opinion of the North German Lloyd Line, the gold is subject to orders for disposition from the other side, the gold having been consigned to London and Paris bankers. [Emphasis supplied for implication of title transfer of gold from the seller to the consignee upon its delivery to the carrier.]
According to Max May of the Guaranty Trust Co., which is the shipper of nearly half the amount of gold aboard, its consignment will be undoubtedly returned to the Guaranty Trust Co. The gold was consigned to the Guaranty Trust Co. in London. ...

Wall Street Journal, August 5, 1914, 4:4.

[Discussing the disposition of gold aboard the Kronprinzessin Cecilie one week after her return to the U.S.,] Vice President Max May in charge of the foreign exchange of the Guaranty Trust Co., said that the $5,000,000 gold was purchased in this market by the Bank of England, so that it belonged to that institution. [This remark indicates transfer of title to the ultimate purchaser upon seller's delivery to the carrier's pier or ship.]
A. J. Hemphill, president of the Guaranty Trust Co., announced that $5,000,000 gold shipped by the company on the Kronprinzessin Cecilie and returned to it this week will ultimately be forwarded to Ottawa in accordance with the arrangement whereby deposits with the treasurer of the Dominion of Canada may be credited to the Bank of England.
[Mr. Hemphill added,] "In my opinion all of the $10,600,000 gold returned by the Kronprinzessin Cecilie will be sent to Ottawa."
[However,] Vice President Gardin of the National City Bank, who did not take kindly to the action of the English Government in drawing gold from New York through Canada at this particular time, said that the gold shipped by his bank on the Cecilie [$2,104,254 shipped to Paris] and returned to it will stay here [in the U.S.]. Mr. Gardin estimated that Europe owed the United States over $100,000,000 and that gold should be coming this way instead of going out of the country. ...

Journal of Commerce, August 13, 1914, 3:5

The $10,600,000 of gold taken to Bar Harbor by the Kronprinzessin Cecilie and subsequently returned to the shippers in this city, also is expected to go in large part to Canada. The bankers hold that inasmuch as the gold was withdrawn for shipment to London and Paris and commitments were made against its arrival in those cities, the consignees have the right to say what shall be done with it now. [Emphasis supplied for title transfer] The Guaranty Trust Company, which attempted to send $5,000,000 to its London office, against which advances were made by the Bank of England, expects the money to go to Ottawa to be used by the Bank in the Dominion. ...

New York Times, August 13, 1914, 5:1.

This story provides some other useful information. Title to the gold is transferred from the seller to the consignee/purchaser upon its delivery to the carrier. And, although the July 28th engagement was reported in the U.S. Customs export report as shipped on the LA SAVOIE, it was evidently on the KRONP. CECILIE. The LA SAVOIE was, apparently, just another empty "shell" in an elaborate gold shipment shell game.

La Savoie, Compagnie Generale Transatlantique (French Line)

Gold Coin Correlation - 1904 and 1909 Shortages.

Similarly, an examination of yearly coin comparisons indicates a consistent pattern of French import overages except for the shortages that occur in 1904 and 1909. The close to $25,000,000 coin overage imported by France in 1905 has already been touched upon. She also received almost $5,000,000 in U. S. coin in 1907 when no gold coin was reportedly exported, and nearly $9,000,000 in 1914, without any corresponding U. S. export. And, although the amount of gold coin shipped in 1908 was relatively small by comparison, France received $1,400,447 or 30% more than the $1,055,000 reportedly exported from the U. S. Except for the 1914 bar shortage previously identified and documented, and the coin shortages of 1904 and 1909, France consistently received more U. S. bars, combined bars and coin, and coin than the U. S. reported as exported to France.

1904 Gold Coin Shortage.

The 1904 coin shortage can be identified from our 1904 coin correlation table as follows:

Engagement Coin Exports Coin Imports
April 29 $1,750,000  
May 2 $750,000  
May 6 $1,250,000  
May 16 $2,500,000  
Totals $6,250,000 $4,392,400
Shortage ($1,857,600)

The data suggests that, in all likelihood, the April 29th engagement did not arrive. This is the closest amount to the shortage and, if it were deducted from the total, $4,500,000 exported would be compared against imports of $4,392,400 allowing a margin of error of only 2.4%, which could be attributable to conversion error. A further investigation indicates:

EXPORTS. - The following is a detailed report of specie exported from the district of New York for the week ending April 30, as compiled by the Custom House:
Steamer.............................................................................. Amount
St. Louis - London - U. S. gold coin............................. $1,750,000

Journal of Commerce, May 2, 04, 3:7

And, therefore, the April 29th engagement probably did go to England, rather than to France.

Three shortages become apparent when we compare US export and French import data. We have discovered the reasons for the 1904 gold coin and 1914 gold bar shortages. No other shortages exist within our 1904 through 1914, eleven year, gold commerce study - except for the gold coin shortage of 1909.