Coin and Paper Money Collecting/Mckinley Dollar
Hi Ron, I have an old silver dollar, the back side is definitely a Morgan silver dollar, The front has been smoothed out and at the top is ( 16 to 1 ) in circles, the middle has in old script writing( I dream of the past), and ( McKinley )below that. The bottom has ( Nov.3, 1896 ). I have taken it to a coin shop but they had never seen one and I can not find one on the internet . I`m hoping you can tell me.
I'm not familiar with your piece, but I can at least let you know about my past dealings with engraved dollars, as well as the possible significance of "16 to 1" in reference to McKinley.
First, as you know, impossible to date the coin, with the obverse engraved and the date missing. Next, the coin is considered altered. The altered dollar at least 93 year's old, if made from the latest Morgan dollar dated 1921. With the "McKinley" engraving, it is likely older. It is not an original mint product, and very unlikely done by the original coin's designer, Morgan. Some alterations can be quite valuable, especially if they can be pedigreed and the engraver identified.
The Silver Question - "In 1837, Congress established a relationship between silver and gold at the ratio of 16 to 1 (meaning that 16 ounces of silver were to be equal in value to one ounce of gold). In 1873, reacting to market realities, the Grant administration demonetized silver, leaving gold as the sole standard of the nation's currency. Silver became simply another commodity whose value would be set by supply and demand. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act (1890), obligated the government to purchase the silver mines' nearly entire output each month, but these purchases were to be at market rates, not at the predetermined ratio favored by the farmers and miners. New western states had recently joined the Union and were responsible for this limited victory. Panic and depression struck the country again in 1893. Conservative leaders pointed to the Sherman Silver Purchase Act as the root of the nation's ills, but the farmers blamed eastern economic interests. The country had split over the silver issue. The Democratic Party, despite the prominence of Grover Cleveland, was largely in the hands of the free silver forces. The Republicans called for strict adherence to gold alone. Silver played a prominent, if ill-fated role in the presidential elections in 1892, 1896 and 1900."
And from: http://projects.vassar.edu/1896/currency.html
The Currency Question: The Gold Standard, Bimetallism, or 'Free Silver'? "The bitter controversy surrounding the issues of free silver and sound money, so central to the 1896 campaign, has proved difficult for historians to explain. Partisans on both sides made exaggerated claims of the impact monetary policy could have on the nation's economic health. They implied that coinage of silver (on Bryan's side) or adherence to the gold standard (on the Republican side) was the single key to prosperity--and sometimes to the nation's honor. Oddly, before 1896 both McKinley and Bryan had focused more attention on the tariff than on currency issues. Free silver at "16 to 1" would have expanded the money supply, but as a lone measure it would hardly have solved the nation's economic woes, and it would have (as Republicans argued) substantially raised the value of silver in relation to gold. In 1896, McKinley's victory reassured investors and financial institutions, whose leaders were frightened of Bryan, resolution of the issue may have had an indirect economic impact. After the campaign, the currency question faded quite rapidly from political debate."
I did find several sites that sell engraved coins. You may be able to find out more there. see: http://www.armstrongengraving.com/other-engraved-coins.html
Your piece could be worth well over several hundred dollars. My suggestion is to consign it in a major coin auction.
Hope this helps. Good Luck. Let me know what you find out. Please remember to go to the experts site to rate this answer. Check the nomination box on the rating page below any comments you may have.