They didn’t have the donkey token, but they did have a few other interesting things. One of them was this massive, five inch in diameter, suspended shell medal. This William McKinley piece was issued during the 1896 presidential campaign. It was not something for your “average Joe” to wear. It was for state or district chairman or perhaps candidate to wear in political parades. I doubt that McKinley ever wore one; it was not his style to be so flashy. He conducted a "front porch campaign" when the people came to hear him speak while William Jennings Bryan traveled the nation by rail and gave a dozen or speaches a day. What I liked about this piece was that it was not terribly bent up. This piece is made of embossed brass, and it is quite fragile. The very first one I say was perfect. I didn’t realize at the time how unusual that was. After that I saw perhaps three or for more, and they were all beat up. The reverse is even more interesting. It covers the major issues between the candidates during the race, which was, of course, headed by the free silver program that Bryan pushed. You will note that James Murdock, Jr. from Cincinnati, Ohio manufactured this piece. Murdock is a familiar name to U.S. token collectors. His father, James Senior, made Civil War tokens and the James, Junior, who lived from 1839 to 1902, continued in the business. He made tokens, badges and other novelties. One of the really interesting statements for me is near the bottom of the piece. “Reciprocity” refers to deals that McKinley proposed to make with foreign leaders on tariffs. Though out the 19th century, the Republicans and their Whig ancestors supported protective tariffs for American industry. Here McKinley is proposing to lower tariffs with other countries if they agree to do the same. I knew that McKinley made some of these deals toward the end of his presidency, but I didn't realize that it was part of his 1896 campaign. There are other aspects of this piece that we could discuss, but I will leave that to future posts, if there is any interest.