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Yanko-Spanko War


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I bought the token pictured here 20 years ago meaning some day to learn more about it. I know the term Yanko-Spanko was a satirical reference to American jingoism and the belief that America instigated the war based on an accident or deliberate act. The token carries the manufacture's mark, Hutchins Mfg, Springfield, Mass. It is 29mm in diameter and made of aluminum. Does anyone know any more about this or similar tokens?

 

Bill Hyder

 

 

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I bought the token pictured here 20 years ago meaning some day to learn more about it. I know the term Yanko-Spanko was a satirical reference to American jingoism and the belief that America instigated the war based on an accident or deliberate act. The token carries the manufacture's mark, Hutchins Mfg, Springfield, Mass. It is 29mm in diameter and made of aluminum. Does anyone know any more about this or similar tokens?

 

Bill Hyder

 

 

The "Remember the Maine" is the clue, this is in reference to the Spanish American War of 1898-1899. This was a war based on the premise that the Spanish blew up the USS Maine in Havana, Cuba in early 1898. In fact now in 2005 it is believed the Maine was blown up not by a Spanish mine, but in fact by fire in the powder magazine, or perhaps the steam boilers. Several prominent figures, notably the press mogul William Randolph Hearst, drummed up the alleged Spanish complicity in blowing up the Maine, and then the Empire builders, ala Theodore Roosevelt got on the bandwagon and advocated the seizure of Spanish colonies in the Far East of Asia(notably Guam, and Phillipine Islands and Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Americas.

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I guess I need to be more specific with my query. My apology for assuming too much in my brief query. I know the token relates to the Spanish-American war. The term -- Yanko-Spanko -- was coined by the British press as I understand it, but I don't know any more about it than that. I know that William Randolph Hearst is credited with a statement to one of his reporters to the effect that the reporter shouldn't worry about the lack of a war, he would deliver the war (through his press). I know of at least one pinback refering to the Yanko-Spanko war showing a Spaniard (with a bandana, not what appears to be a sombrero) over Uncle Sam's knee being paddled with a board with a nail in it. The Spaniard is labelled "S-PAIN." The button appears as if it might be a patriotic piece, but it could be satirical as well. I also know the country was divided over the imperialism versus anti-imperialism represented by the war. I am assuming the statement on the reverse, Dewey, Remember the Maine He Did, is a statire on the numerous patriotic Dewey buttons and tokens imploring the country to Remember the Maine. I'm wondering if this piece is linked to any specific movement such as the Anti-Imperialist League or other political group. I may be misinterpreting the "sombrero" and exhibiting a total ignorance of Spanish hat styles of the period (to which I will confess now).

 

The manufacturing company that signed the piece made aluminum bodies for stringed instruments up to 1898. It apparently switched gears or already had an expanded product line (more likely). That suggests to me a political group in the northeast, but even that may be out of line. (I can draw some weak, but interesting links, such as the fact that C.L. Hutchinson was a member of the Anti-Imperialist League and chaiman of the Fine Arts Committee of the World's Columbian Exposition, certainly no stranger to the production of aluminum tokens given their prevelant use in the exposition.)

 

Anyway, just sharing some thoughts about where my research is leading me (perhaps to a dead end beyond what I can discern from the piece itself).

 

Thanks for looking.

 

Bill

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