Death Valley Days - The Private Mint of Clark, Gruber and Co. (1962)
Denver Colorado bankers Clark, Gruber, & Co. mints their own coins
This episode of "Death Valley Days" shows privately made gold coins being manufactured, in bank trays,
and being held by various people.
"double eagles", the largest coins made by the United States mints.
and ran from 1952 to 1970.
old west lawman.
The miners would deposit their gold dust with the Clark, Gruber, and Co. bank and receive US gold coins.
with the US government.
The program's logo of a Borax twenty-mule team was present on all episodes.
2. The Old Ranger introduces the program
He appears to be wearing a belt buckle with a silver dollar on it.
Howdy folks, I'm the Old Ranger
from sea level to the 16th step of the old courthouse was the farthest outpost of the frontier.
Now despite it's fine weather and good black soil, gold was the bait.
school, and what was destined to add one of the most fantastic chapters to our American history, a bank.
The Clark, Gruber, and Co. bank is run by Milton Clark and Emmmanuel "Manny" Gruber.
Milton's wife Martha is the third partner in the enterprise.
3. Milton Clark and a customer
The sign on the teller's cage reads:
5% BROKERAGE CHARGE FOR COIN, GREENBACKS OR TRADE
IN EXCHANGE FOR GOLD DUST.
The bank weighs the gold dust using special weights which are five per-cent over normal.
At home, the three partners discuss business.
4. Gruber and the Clarks discuss business
The bank has been losing money by exchanging dust for coin.
Martha suggests that they make their own money.
Clark asks Martha to go bake a cake or something or go wash the dishes but Gruber says that
she may have a good idea.
The three set up minting equipment in a building.
who joins them.
5. Weighing the first coin
The coin has the correct weight and the four pass it arround.
6. Byers holds the coin
The coin is an obvious prop coin with a smooth edge, and it's size indicates it is a twenty dollar gold piece.
7. Newspaper headline
The newspaper headline reads:
DENVER MINT STARTED
Gruber and Clark Mint Own Coins
The coins are now ready for business and many appear in the coin trays at the bank office.
8. Martha stacks the coins
Many prop coins are used, possibly they are the same ones used in other "Death Valley Days" episodes.
9. Gruber pressing planchets
He is using a "Niagara" press.
A pair of United States Marshalls show up and arrest Clark and Gruber for counterfeiting.
The men are then put on trial at a federal court.
10. Gruber and Clark on trial
The prosecutor, George Fenner, gives his opening statement:
And we intend to prove that these two men, despite the fact that our nation is and was
at that time embroiled in a civil war which threatens our very dissolution,
did conspire to, and actually made, counterfeit coins, in the denomination of
two dollars and a half, five dollars, ten dollars and twenty dollars.
The defense attorney Richard Barton, using scales and a Philadelphia Mint metallurgist,
demonstrates that the Clark-Gruber coins weigh more than official US coins by five percent and are
gold and 10% copper, the same alloy used by official US coins.
11. Defense attorney Barton holds a coin
Clark and Gruber realize that they used their special five percent extra weights for the coins.
prohibiting the making of gold coins and the judge orders the charges dismissed.
12. Charges dismissed
The partners and their attorney celebrate and later receive a visitor.
13. The US Marshall has a request
The Marshall brings a letter from the US Treasury Department requesting the bank to stop
making coins and offering to buy the Clark-Gruber mint for $25,000.
official US mint in Denver as a branch of the Philadelphia mint.
14. The Old Ranger explains mintmarks
The United States government accepted their terms, and established the Denver Mint
on the spot previously owned by the banking firm of Clark, Gruber & Co.
The little 'D'?
Formerly owned by Clark, Gruber & Co.
Stanley Andrews as the Old Ranger
John Lupton as Milton Clark
Jerry Paris as Emmanuel Gruber
Sue Randall as Martha Clark
Writer: Richard Sanville