Charm advocating the Gold Standard, and promoting William McKinley for president and Garret Hobart for vice president, 1896.
After the Civil War, government fiscal policy favored the speculator and tycoon at the expense of working men and farmers. By the late 1890s, unrest over the economy was reaching a crisis. Everyone seemed to owe money, and cash was scarce. Enter William Jennings Bryan, the populist Midwestern Democrat. Breaking with the conservative Cleveland wing of the party, Bryan led the Democratic Party in embracing the doctrine of "Free Silver," the unlimited coinage of silver. This would have had the effect of flooding the market with hard currency at a time when it seemed only banks had it.
Backed by monied interests, Republicans spared no expense in giving Bryan and Free Silver a black eye. A classic ploy was this unique mechanical trinket, resembling a U.S. $20 gold piece, which shows what would happen if Bryan became president: the noble eagle is crestfallen and the dollar discounted to a few cent's worth! It admonishes the voter to avoid "Bryan, Sewall and Adversity" in favor of "McKinley, Hobart and Prosperity."
Truly one of the most unusual campaign items ever made, it is a collector favorite. We offer a fine example in choice, working condition (natural patina may vary).
Note: See also the McKinley-Roosevelt version (#1938).