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The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 27, July 2, 2017, Article 13

1896 ARGENTUM UNIVERSALE ONE TALENT LOCATED

The newly discovered Davis Flight Medal isn't the only interesting find to come to light this week. -Editor

In our March 5, 2017 issue I wrote:

I'm familiar with the 1886 Eutopia dollar and the 1897 Bickford dollars, but was unfamiliar with the 1896 talents mentioned in the previous article by Tom DeLorey. A search of The Numismatist archives provided a few hits.

May 1934, p336: "one Talent Argentum Universale, United States of America 1896"

March 1910, p85: "Mr. Woodin, as usual, had several rare patterns of the highest interest, among them a proof of the "United States 'Talent' " of 1896, bearing on obverse and reverse the opposing hemispheres of the globe, with "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA"

These are not listed in Adams-Woodin or Judd as official patterns of course, but I checked anyway. I did find two short listings in the 5th edition of Unusual World Coins, p545. The entries for 1/5 Talent (x# 1) and Talent (X# 2) are unillustrated and marked "reported, not confirmed."

So... can anyone point me to more information on these enigmatic pieces? Thanks. -Editor

1896 Universale Argentum One talent obverse 1896 Universale Argentum One talent reverse

An email arrived yesterday from web site visitor Kenny Stephenson who has one of the One Talent pieces and provided these images. Thanks! He's been trying to research it and came up as empty as we have. So I'd like to put this out there again - can anyone help with this? There must be other information available somewhere, but where? Any leads would be appreciated. I'm happy at least to confirm that the piece exists.

I reached out to Tom DeLorey, who didn't have any new information. Tom notes that this example "looks like somebody's pocket piece." The wear is unfortunate.

Kenny adds:

My wife received the piece from her great grandfather which already had the wear marks on it. Although unfortunate it's still an awesome piece.

I also reached out to Saul Teichman who runs uspatterns.com, and he sent a listing not mentioned in Tom's earlier article. Woodin displayed a One Talent and a Fifth Talent at the 1914 American Numismatic Society exhibition page 95). He also notified me that a one-fifth talent piece is coming up in a future Heritage sale. Here's the lot description and link. No image has been posted yet. -Editor

Woodin 1914 display Universale Argentum pieces

1896 Fifth Talent
Private Coinage Proposal

1896 Fifth Talent, Judd-Unlisted, Krause X#1, Silver, Uncirculated Uncertified. 24.3 mm., 6.5 grams. Offered in the pattern section following the precedent set in the 1914 ANS Exhibition catalog, this privately-produced piece illustrates a proposal for a universal world-wide coinage in an alloy combining silver and gold. These pieces are known in two sizes, 37 mm. that is denominated "one talent" and 24 mm. that is denominated "one-fifth talent." The obverse depicts a map of the Eastern hemisphere with the legend ARGENTUM - UNIVERSALE and the date. The reverse depicts a map of the Western hemisphere with the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and FIFTH TALENT. This lovely example is sharply struck and lustrous with original deep gold patina.

Our consignor provided a newspaper article dated July 7, 1896 from the Evening Sentinel of California. Mr. Emil Greeff, who appears in New York City Directories as an importer, is identified as the originator of these pieces that were described as "one part gold to four parts silver." The article notes:

He believes that the union of gold and silver in a single coin in a definite, unvarying proportion of weight and measure would solve the problem of a common money standard or measure of value. This coin could be used as a universal legal tender, with which all international debts could be liquidated.

To read the complete lot description, see: 1896 Fifth Talent, Judd-Unlisted To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
QUERY: 1896 ARGENTUM UNIVERSALE ISSUE (http://www.coinbooks.org/v20/esylum_v20n10a29.html)

Hedley Betts ad01


Wayne Homren, Editor

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