The Bureau of Mines has long been active in promoting the purchase of coal for government use under specifications that define the requirements in terms of heating value of the coal, expressed in British thermal units, and the composition as shown by proximate analyses. To these, when required, are added the ash-softening temperature, the free-swelling index, and the hardgrove grindability index. Under most of these specification contracts, the bidders guarantee the quality of the coal, and that guaranteed by the successful bidder becomes the standard of his contract. The deliveries are sampled in accordance with instructions issued by the Bureau of Mines, and the samples are analyzed in the Bureau laboratory to determine whether the coal is of the quality guaranteed by the contractor; if it is not, a price adjustment is made. The government, with the exception of the Tennessee Valley Authority, purchased approximately 5.5 million tons of coal in fiscal year 1971. In connection with these purchases, the Bureau analyzed 4,366 samples. These are published (table 1) for the use of government officials and the public. Such analyses of delivered coal and tipple samples (samples collected at mine tipples as coal is being loaded into railroad cars or trucks) provide valuable data for use in evaluating future bids. In addition, the continuous sampling of coal as delivered is a check on the practical results obtained in burning the coal.