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My latest collecting interest is Bryan Money and other related tokens and medals covering the politics in the wake of the "Crime of 1873." Congress demonetized silver indirectly by eliminating the silver dollar coin and making the gold dollar the nation's standard unit of value. The specifications for minor silver coinage was set in the statutes. A five year depression followed and silver interests urged a return to bimetallism. The 1878 Bland-Allison Act called for expanding silver coinage, but did not restore silver to the same status as gold. Economic problems followed again in 1884 and the 1890 Sherman Silver Purchase Act again failed to restore silver to the same status as gold. More deflation followed as well as the Panic of 1893. Bryan called for the free coinage of silver and gold at the ratio of 16 to 1. The ratio goes back to the founding of the nation and the establishment of the first US coins. The 1794 to 1803 silver dollars carried the edge inscription, HUNDRED CENTS ONE DOLLAR OR UNIT. Of course the ratio of the value of silver to gold changed over time. Free coinage of silver according to the Republican Party meant one could could take 53 cents of silver to the mint and get a dollar in exchange. It was okay for the government to make that profit because the guaranteed the silver with gold, but it was not okay for silver interest to make that profit. Okay, that is an over simplification of the political battles, but it sets the general stage for the political pieces. William Jennings Bryan ran for president on the Democratic ticket in 1896 and 1900 calling for the free coinage of silver at the ratio of 16 to 1.

 

Most of the satirical pieces noted the size that a silver dollar would have to be if it were minted at a ratio that reflected its actual value in relation to gold. Most pieces are "dollars" or dimes ("One Dam"). Some are struck in good silver, most are cast to various blends of pot metal, often the spent type from printing, hence the term "type metal."

 

The first piece here was produced by L. H. Moise in San Francisco. I collect tokens and medals produced by Moise, so it is naturally the first piece for this thread.

 

6109862149_d8d21c345f_b.jpg

 

Zerbe and Schornstein refers to the two standard catalogs for the series. There is not much difference between the two except that Zerbe's appeared in a 1926 issue of the Numismatist and leter reprints had become hard to find. The Schornstein book was published by the Token and Medal Society in 2001, has better images, is readily available, but otherwise does not add much new to what Zerbe originally published.

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Very interesting. Nice "dollar". Super photo work.

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Bryan called for the free coinage of silver and gold at the ratio of 16 to 1. The ratio goes back to the founding of the nation and the establishment of the first US coins.

 

Not quite, the original ratio was 15:1 and even that was a decline from the 14:1 ratio prevalent in Europe earlier in the 18th century.

 

The fact that the ratio tends to change is a fundamental problem with bimetallism. The coinage of one metal becomes too pricey in terms of the other, and then those coins get melted down. If the silver is deliberately made subsidiary to the gold (or vice versa, but we made silver subsidiary so I will stick to that) that problem ceases but then a new problem could arise, inflation, if the government _freely_ coins the subsidiary metal (silver). To avoid that, the subsidiary coins have to be backed by the standard ones, which means the government cannot simply mint however many silver coins it wants to.

 

If the coins are made _extremely_ subsidiary (say, for example, if the government had decided to reduce the silver in a silver dollar to half what it was) then another problem arises in that people might counterfeit the silver coins and try to buy gold coinage with them. When the gold/silver price (not coinage) ratio became even wider, counterfeiting silver coins apparently started to become a problem.

 

The fact that we could go through several decades of slow inflation before the value of silver got high enough the mint could not continue using silver in our coinage indicates that the gold/silver ratio had widened considerably by the time of the great depression.

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Agreed that the details are more complex than in my cursory summary. I tried to keep it simple primarily to explain the "16 to 1-Nit." It relates to that original dollar edge inscription or Unit. Bryan and free silver proponents argued that it was the founders' original intent that the silver dollar be the "unit" of American money and hence the edge inscription.

 

I believe the "Crime of 1873" was a reaction to the widening balance between the value of gold and silver and the impact it had on the supply of circulating coins. The Republican response to the free coinage of silver was to tie it to an international agreement to adopt bimetallism and fix the prices of the two metals. Other items that I will include in my new collecting topic are things like Bickford dollars:

 

957546.jpg

 

Dana Bickford proposed creating an international coinage that would save the US government the expenses of recoining foreign coins that came into the country and ease the complexities of money and travel for US citizens.

 

The brass center plug reads, REPUBLICAN DOLLAR INTERNAT'L. It would be gold in an actual currency. The outer ring, aluminum on his medals would be silver in the actual coins. The obverse inscription reads, "This combination coin will when adopted be good in all nations, heal all differences between Gold & Silver men and fully settle all financial questions. Approved by all good businessmen." The mound at the bottom is inscribed, "Gold and Silver."

 

The reverse states, "Here is shown the value of our dollar in the coin of different nations of the world." The eight links read, "Sterling 4.2 Francs 5.20 Kronen 3.80 Gulden 2.8 Marken 4.16 Guilder 2.50 Rouble 9.65 Yen 1.1." The inner ring reads, "Invented and Protected by Dana Bickford."

 

Congress failed to act on Bickford's plan. It was so simple. Go figure.

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East Coast silversmiths were more dignified in their response to the Bryan plan. They commented directly on the silver value of the U.S. silver dollars. The size in comparison to what a silver dollar wouls be if it contained a full dollar of silver. Some have a cartwheel on one side in the size of an actual silver dollar to make the comparison more immediately obvious. Mine is blank.

 

995582.jpg

 

52mm

 

Schornstein 7, Zerbe 6

 

These silver pieces are also collected as so-called dollars. The piece pictured here is listed as Hibler & Kappen 781

 

This piece is in a large NGC slab. I need to work on making a better photograph.

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My interest in Bryan money was sparked by the acquisition of a Whipple Dollar. I love enigmatic pieces and the Whipple Dollar certainly fits the bill.

 

6087465133_7c41f5825b_b.jpg

 

Whipple dollars are gilt bronze embossed shells. They carry the name of C.M. Whipple and Co. of Westfield, Mass., a buggy whip manufacturer. I've just started trying to research Whipple and I believe he was involved in Republican politics in Massachusetts. If that is the case, this piece might be considered an anti-Bryan piece. The issue is complex as not all Republicans supported the gold standard and not all Democrats supported the free coinage of silver. Where you were located in the country and the needs of local business interests had as big an impact on where you stood as did your party affiliation. I believe the Legal Tender inscription is an important clue to deciphering the purpose of these "store cards."

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Great Whipple Dollar. I've only seen one other and that was at the last FUN show I attended. It wasn't slabbed and it was quite expensive.

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Another of the large "silver dollar" satiricals. This one mede in Worchester, Massachusetts.

 

995620.jpg

 

Cast in "type metal" (used printer's type), 85.5mm

 

Schornstein 714

Zerbe -

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Another large satirical although I do not know where this one was made. Although one maker received a design patent for the basic design, the Secret Service began seizing these satirical medals as counterfeits, as if one might mistake them for a real silver dollar.

 

995935.jpg

 

Cast in type metal, 87mm

 

Schornstein 814

Zerbe -

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Agreed that the details are more complex than in my cursory summary. I tried to keep it simple primarily to explain the "16 to 1-Nit." It relates to that original dollar edge inscription or Unit. Bryan and free silver proponents argued that it was the founders' original intent that the silver dollar be the "unit" of American money and hence the edge inscription.

 

I believe the "Crime of 1873" was a reaction to the widening balance between the value of gold and silver and the impact it had on the supply of circulating coins. The Republican response to the free coinage of silver was to tie it to an international agreement to adopt bimetallism and fix the prices of the two metals. Other items that I will include in my new collecting topic are things like Bickford dollars:

 

957546.jpg

 

Dana Bickford proposed creating an international coinage that would save the US government the expenses of recoining foreign coins that came into the country and ease the complexities of money and travel for US citizens.

 

The brass center plug reads, REPUBLICAN DOLLAR INTERNAT'L. It would be gold in an actual currency. The outer ring, aluminum on his medals would be silver in the actual coins. The obverse inscription reads, "This combination coin will when adopted be good in all nations, heal all differences between Gold & Silver men and fully settle all financial questions. Approved by all good businessmen." The mound at the bottom is inscribed, "Gold and Silver."

 

The reverse states, "Here is shown the value of our dollar in the coin of different nations of the world." The eight links read, "Sterling 4.2 Francs 5.20 Kronen 3.80 Gulden 2.8 Marken 4.16 Guilder 2.50 Rouble 9.65 Yen 1.1." The inner ring reads, "Invented and Protected by Dana Bickford."

 

Congress failed to act on Bickford's plan. It was so simple. Go figure.

 

The wording of it probably isn't exactly the best:

 

US$1 = 5.2 LMU Francs, 3.8 Scandanavian Crowns, 4.16 (Finnish or German?) Marks, 2.5 Dutch Guilder or 1.1 Japanese Yen makes sense.

 

But it seems unclear in other ways:

 

The sterling reference seems to be $1 = 4s2d (thus valuing the £1 at $4.80), but appears to imply that $1 = £4.2

 

And the Rouble value of 9.65 is just :confus:

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Although it is not exactly related to Bryan money, it is related to the Whipple dollar and may be a part of the more general societal comment on the status of silver:

 

995936.jpg

 

A shell as is the Whipple dollar, except this one has an actual insert. This shell card is believed to have been issued for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. It is an advertising piece for Howe Scales and the number written into the Weight space is presumable the weight of the person receiving the shell card. The choice of the Trade Dollar design is a nice contrast with the Morgan dollar design on the Whipple dollar.

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While Bryan money is primarily satirical, poking fun at the silver ratio with gold, McKinley pieces focused on sound money. These took the form of "gold bugs" among other pieces.

 

A McKinley supporter may have worn this lapel stud in support of gold:

 

997053.jpg

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Nice. What's the lapel pin made of?

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Nice. What's the lapel pin made of?

 

Brass or maybe a plated pot metal. It is light weight.

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Something a little different for the collection and something I know little about:

 

7560214766_95538926e5_b.jpg

 

The badge is from the Republican Party parade in Chicago, October 27, 1900 for McKinley's re-election campaign. The theme was Commercial Industrial & Sound Money. About 35,000 paraded through Chicago for six hours. The badge was made by S. D. Childs & Co. in Chicago. The design on the obverse is the seal for the city of Chicago as rendered by Childs. I have not decyphered all the meanings of the designs on the reverse, but it appears to be a quill pen (for the legislative process of drafting laws?), a farmer, a miner, ships at sea, and a gold dollar. Appropriate designs for commerce, industry, and sound money in the form of the gold standard. It is a heavy, large, impressive gold-plated badge.

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Very nice, a complete medal. I love Chicago, it is a great city. If you ever visit be sure to take the river cruise to be able to fully appreciate the architecture along its banks. The reversal of the river Chicago from flowing into lake Michigan to flowing south is an interesting story. The completion of the Sanitary and Ship Canal was the final act in this long proccess of reversal and took place in 1900, the same year as the Republican Party's parade in Chicago.

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In an earlier post (that means back in 2011) I showed a silver Gorham Mfg piece I acquired. It is easily the most common of the large silver sound money campaign pieces. One would associate these with the Republican sound money campaign, but a recent acquisition is a good reminder that there were sound money Democrats as well. In fact, they had their National Democratic Party convention in Indianapolis in early September 1896 to nomination a sound money Democratic slate. We don't hear much about them, but my purchase reminded me that they did exist.

 

23112854061_b1ae051893_c.jpg

 

So who was O.N. Frenzel and why is the engraving on the reverse of the "dollar" important?

 

O.N. Frenzel and his older brother John started as teenage "gofers" in the Merchants' Bank of Indianapolis. Both worked their way up. John eventually became president and Otto became vice-president and cashier. Otto later became president, but that was after 1896.

John and Otto were hard currency Democrats. When Bryan became the party nominee for president, hard money Democrats met in convention in Indianapolis in September 1896 as the National Democratic Party. They nominated their own candidates and John became treasurer of the party. Otto spoke at hard money forums. This piece of Bryan money engraved was issued shortly after the convention, so it is not directly related to the convention activities. But, Otto obviously used the political pieces associated with the Republican Party to promote the message of the National Democratic Party.

 

The reverse features a number of "bagmarks" from silver dollars. Seems ironic that a piece advocation against the free coinage of silver would have been stored with silver dollars!

 

After my research, the piece begged to be included in my coin composite compositions:

 

23075468266_13b0b31cfb_c.jpg

 

 

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And Constanius, I did make the journey up (well really down as you note) the Chicago River.

 

9925926045_3f52f7e08e_c.jpg

 

And enjoyed a few psychedelic moments along the way!

 

9926065233_2780726526_c.jpg

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BIll,

I have not been on this site for some time, pleased to see your interest in Bryan money. I have a number of unlisted pieces that I have not made any effort to research, beyond reviewing the 2012 supplemental price guide TAMS published in 2012. Do you know a dedicated group or forum for Bryan Money collectors?

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No, I am not aware of a specific site. We do have discussions of Bryan money that is listed in the So-Called Dollar catalog. The site is so-calleddollar.com. But, I am not aware of anything else.

 

I co-edit the TAMS Journal. I would be happy to publish something about your unlisted pieces.

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