Since we're on the topic of monetary systems I wanted to mention an article published in Bank Note Reporter by Bob Van Ryzin, available online at NumisMaster.com. It's about an 1885 proposal by Nicholas Veeder of Pittsburgh for a " Co-metallic" monetary system.
The U.S. Mint has experimented at times with some interesting blends of metals. For instance, in the late 1870s patterns were minted in "goloid"—a combination of gold, silver and copper it was argued would provide the solution to the then raging battle over the monetary standard.
Knowing this, I was intrigued by an 1885 proposal I ran into by Nicholas Veeder describing a new coin and paper money system he envisioned called "cometallism." In a lengthy paper, titled Cometallism: Gold and Silver Coinage, Uniting and Blending their Values in Paper Money, and for Establishing a Composite Single Standard Dollar of Account, written after the beginning of the Free Silver agitation and during the period of falling silver values, Veeder looked to address the problem of a lower value metal driving the higher value metal from circulation and the complaints associated with a depreciated currency.
[Veeder] called for the issuance of "coin certificates" (a $10 note is shown here), "which could be made payable in cometallic coin, or in separate gold and silver coins or bars, constituting an equal number of dollars of each metal..." "Such coin certificates," he added, "would be the most perfect money possible for use as general currency, as they would be issued only against a specific deposit always held in readiness for specific redemption, and would, therefore, in all probability be redeemed, even if, for some now unforeseen reason, the payment of specie for greenbacks and bank notes should be suspended."
There's much more to Veeder's plan, 67 pages in all, including the definition of a new "Dollar of Account" (linked to his cometallic coin), and specifications for the coin certificates. His cometallic coin would be called a "dollar," a gold coin issued not in cometallic form would an "orum," a silver coin not in cometallic form an "argent" and a paper dollar a "greenback."
To read the complete NumisMaster article, see:
Certificates Part of 'Cometallic' Proposal
It was Van Ryzin's inclusion of an image of one of Veeder's $10 certificates that caught my eye. I was unaware that any had been actually issued. But a closer look revealed that the source of the image is the same as mine - it's taken from page 61 in Veeder's 1885 pamphlet. The pamphlet also has a great color plate with image of Veeder's proposed 25-cent, fifty-cent and one dollar co-metallic coins.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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