Jim C. writes: Hi Doc, I’ve got a coin that is not currency, but I can’t seem to find any info on. Perhaps you can help. It is slightly larger in diameter than a Morgan silver dollar and it has a picture of a wagon wheel on one side, and the following text on the other. “A government dollar contains 412 1/2 grains coin silver 900/1000 fine. This piece contains 823 grains coin silver in value the equivalent of one gold dollar. Sept 16th 1896. Gorham Mfg Co. Silversmiths” Any ideas? Thanks.
You have a “Bryan Dollar” made for the Presidential campaign of 1896 and 1900. Williams Jennings Bryan ran on a platform demanding parity between gold and silver. The Gorham company pieces were made to illustrate how much silver should be in a dollar to equal the value of gold in a gold dollar. Bryan’s crusade was too late, the country was already heading for a credit system, The Federal Reserve was only thirteen years away. Read about this period in American History to get a better understanding of this medal.
“Bryan money” is popularly collected and are considered an important part of Americana. Besides a three time Presidential candidate, Bryan was also an Evangelist that believed in the literal interpretation of the Bible. He was the prosecutor in the landmark “Scopes Monkey Trial” (Clarence Darrow vs. William Jennings Bryan) in July of 1925 that tried science teacher John T. Scopes for teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution in a Tennessee school.
Value Range: $150 – $400 depending on type and grade.