USMS (United States Mail Ship) St. Louis, American Line


The National City Bank Sends $2,000,000
to Paris.

The expected continuation of the gold export movement materialized yesterday in engagements of $2,000,000 by the National City Bank. All of the shipments will go forward to Paris to-day by the St. Louis of the American Line. Between this shipment and all others on the present movement to Paris or other European countries there is the important difference that the greater part of it is in coin, while all previous shipments have been in bars. The consignors took $500,000 in bars - all that remained in the Assay Office - and secured the rest in coin. Exchange rates were up higher than at any previous time of the export movement, and despite the engagements the demand rate closed at 4.8715@4.8720, 15 points up on the day.

N. Y. Sun, January 9, 09, 11:3

The National City Bank on Friday engaged $2,000,000 gold for export to Paris, $1,500,000 in gold coin and $500,000 in gold bars. The later was taken from the assay office and was practically all there was on hand there.
This gold will be shipped on the steamer ST. LOUIS sailing to-day. ...

Wall Street Journal, January 9, 09, 1:3

The engagement of $1,800,000 gold, nearly all in coin, for shipment to Paris, was the principal incident of the day [yesterday -January 8th]. Conditions are ripe for a resumption on rather a large scale of the movement that was inaugurated before the end of the year. The only drawback is the absence of bars suitable for export, and as the Assay Office receives only about $1,000,000 weekly, shippers of gold will have to resort to coin, which of course, entails more expense and is less satisfactory in every way. Instead of the engagement causing sterling to decline, final quotations last night were at the top, namely 4.87 1/4 for demand and 4.8740 for cables. ...

Journal of Commerce, January 9, 09, 3:1

To-day $1,800,000 gold will leave New York for Paris, while $500,000 will be sent to Argentina. Of the former amount only $400,000 consists of bars, the remainder being in gold coin, since the supply of bars suitable for export has been exhausted. ...

Journal of Commerce, January 9, 09, 12:3


The National City Bank yesterday engaged in all $2,000,000 gold for export to Paris, $1,500,000 in coin and $500,000 in bars. The latter was taken from the assay office and was practically all there was on hand there. This gold will be shipped by steamer St. Louis, sailing today. The National Bank of Commerce, which engaged $500,000 gold coin Thursday, for shipment to Buenos Ayres, Argentine, withdrew this from the Sub-Treasury Friday, and the metal will go by the steamer Swedish Prince, sailing today. Bankers are of the opinion that owing to the large inflow of currency that has now set in from the interior, further gold exports may be expected.

Boston Evening Transcript, January 9, 1909, 12:3

The market was irregular throughout Friday's session, with a developing tendency to lower quotations. In the early forenoon announcement of the engagement of $2,000,000 gold for Paris checked a disposition in the opening hour to advance prices - that is, as has often been the case, by pushing up some of the inactive and low-priced stocks.

Financial Age, January 11, 1909, 67:2


Using the January 8th engagement total of $1,900,000 [derived from a report prepared by the Assay Office 1 ] the aggregate composition of gold exported and purportedly shipped aboard both the ST. LOUIS and OCEANIC, as stated within newspaper accounts through January 13th, is:

Engagement Bars Coin Vessel
January 8th $400,000 $1,500,000 ST. LOUIS
January 11th and 12th, respectively $520,000 $3,000,000 OCEANIC
  $920,000 $4,500,000 Totals

This composition of gold exports was stated again on January 15, 1909.

The total transactions of the Sub-Treasury with the banks this week amounted to $69,751,000. The receipts from the banks included $3,678,424 for customs and $929,864 for gold bars taken for export. Payment to the banks included $2,619,000 for pensions and $1,980,750 for new gold, namely: $1,157,872 on New York Assay Office checks, $723,182 on San Francisco Mint checks, and $99,696 on Seattle Assay Office checks. The Sub-Treasury sent $8,068,000 in mutilated currency to Washington, and received $1,496,000 in new currency from Washington.
The preliminary estimates of the movement of currency this week indicate that the banks have gained $7,000,000 net cash. These figures, of course, take in the gold export, of which only the $929,864 paid for bars at the assay office is included in the net results of the transactions of the banks with the Sub-Treasury. The rest of the export was in United States gold coin.
[Emphases supplied.]

The Globe and Commercial Advertiser, January 15, 1909, 13:3

HOWEVER, newspaper accounts describe the composition of exports contained within the January 16th export report differently, as follows:

Shipments Total $5,930,000 - ... There was $5,300,000 gold exported during the week, of which $2,290,000 in bars and $2,500,000 coin went to Paris, and $510,000 coin went to South America.

New York Commercial, January 16, 09, 11:4

... Gold exports were $5,930,000, of which to Paris $2,920,000 in bars and $2,500 in coin, and to South America $510,000 in coin.

Wall Street Journal, January 16, 09, S2, 8:3

Each of the two descriptions is flawed. The morning paper, the New York Commercial, indicates that $2,290,000 in bars and $2,500,000 in coin was shipped to Paris and $510,000 in coin to South America, for a total gold export of $5,300,000 which is the total that is discussed, but it is not the total of exports of $5,930,000. After reading the Wall Street Journal, an afternoon paper, this discrepancy appears to be corrected with the new bar total of $2,920,000 and suggests that the New York Commercial had erred by interchanging the 2 and 9, except that the totals do conform to the total of $5,300,000 discussed by the New York Commercial. The Wall Street Journal, after all, has its own obvious typographical error; "and $2,500 in coin." In any event, a discrepancy in the January 16th export report figures is apparent and will continue to be apparent throughout the rest of our discussion.

Of the exports [for the week ending Jan. 16, 1909], $2,010,000 were America gold coin ...

The Commercial and Financial Chronicle, Jan. 23, 09, 210:2.

The Commercial and Financial Chronicle also reported the exports from New York for the week ending January 16, 1909. Of the total $5,930,000 gold exported, $510,000 in American coin (the January 7, 1909, engagement) was exported to Argentina. The balance of its reported coin exports, or $1,500,000, (apparently the coin component of the January 8, 1909, engagement) was exported to Paris. According to the Commercial and Financial Chronicle, only $1,500,000 in coin was shipped to Paris, along with the balance, to Paris, of $3,920,000 in gold bars.

Other inconsistencies regarding the exact composition of exports contained in the January 16th export are as follows:

EXPORTS - The following is a detailed report of specie exported from the district of New York from January 11, 1909, to January 16, 1909, inclusive:

Oceanic- Paris- Gold Bars (ass'y)...................$3,520,000
St. Louis - Paris - Gold Bars (Ass'y).................$400,000
St. Louis - Paris - U. S. gold coin.................$1,500,000

Journal of Commerce, January 18, 09, 2:3

According to this report, then, the bar and coin composition to Paris should have been $3,920,000 bars, and $1,500,000 coin.

Another newspaper account reports the exports as follows:


National City Bank's Shipment to
Paris All in Gold Bars.

Considerable interest was aroused yesterday [January 13] when it became known that the entire shipment of the National City Bank, $2,500,000, to the Bank of France, was in gold bars instead of the $520,000 in bars and the rest in coin. It is known that $520,000 was the entire amount in bars procurable at the Assay Office [reported on January 11th] , and it had been supposed the bank would call upon the Sub-Treasury for the gold coin. No request was made by the National City Bank [by the date of this article, emphasis supplied], but Goldman, Sachs & Co. obtained $1,000,000 in coin.

N. Y. Herald, January 14, 09, 17:3

According to this report, the Oceanic would have carried $2,500,000 in bars and $1,000,000 in coin.

And, finally, the following article indicates an additional approximately $500,000 was engaged through National City Bank.

The Gold Export Movement.

The following table shows engagements of gold for France on the present movement, which began January 8:

National City Bank ............................................................$5,000,000
Goldman, Sachs & Co........................................................$1,000,000

Total ..............................................................................$6,000,000

In addition, $750,000 has been taken for shipment to South America.

New York Evening Post, January 16, 1909, Financial 6:4.

There appears to be some confusion as to the amount and composition of gold actually engaged and "shipped."

Monthly cumulative reports that emanated out of the New York U. S. Customs House and were provided to the Treasury Department, and from the Treasury Department were transmitted to the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Statistics, all indicate that $2,920,000 in bars and only $2,500,000 in coin was shipped to France during the month of January, 1909. These reports can be traced to data transmitted by the New York U. S. Customs House, prepared by U. S. Customs Collector E. S. Fowler and dated January 30th, one week after the REPUBLIC disaster.2


1Statement of U. S. Gold Coin and Gold Bullion Exported from the Port of New York, ENLARGED.

2Approximate Imports and Exports of U. S. Gold Coin during the month of January, 1909, Bureau of the Mint, Letters Received, #276 077, U. S. National Archives, Washington, D.C.