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Source: Encyclopedia of Banking & Finance (9h Edition) by Charles J Woelfel
(We recommend this as work of authority.)

The amount of pure metal in a bar, ingot, or coin; the degree of purity of a metal as expressed in terms of parts, percentages, or carats.

Pursuant to the Coinage Act of 1965, the half-dollar clad U.S. coin containing silver had a fineness of 40% (gross weight 11.5 grams, of which 4.6 grams were silver).  By contrast, the previous standard silver dollar weighed 12,5 grams, of which 11.25 grams (90% fineness) were silver.  Former gold coins of the U.S. (nationalized in 1933 and pursuant to Gold Reserve Act of 1934) were in their last authorized coinages 0.900 FINE.  Commercial silver bullion held by the Treasury is 0.999 fine and miscellaneous silver bullion is 0.830 to 0.998 fine, while coinage silver, as noted above, was 0.400 fine.

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