The Yocum Dollar, and other legends

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Tom Maringer, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. Tom Maringer

    Tom Maringer Senior Member

    I'm just wondering what people think about the tales of the Yocum Dollar. (and the other legendary silver coins, such as the Sprinkle Dollar and the Bear Hollow Dollar). I recall as a kid hearing the Yocum Dollar spoken of at coin shows and to me it was the holy grail of collecting.

    I live here in the Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas, where tales of lost mines and buried treasure still circulate. I had occasion to investigate one of these tales quite closely (The Bear Hollow story), I've got copies of all the ANA articles about the subject, and I have formed some opinions on the matter that extend beyond the single case to the general class of these coin legends and lost mine stories.

    Anybody ever seen a Yocum Dollar? Has any example ever been examined and authenticated by a knowledgeable authority? I know there are at least two different fantasy types... one of which was passed off as real in the 1980s and the other more recent which is made and sold as a modern fantasy. But does a real coin lie at the root of the fable or is it an entirely spurious story?
    OldSilverDollar likes this.
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  3. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

    From the Shire Post web page: This coin was made by Shire Post Mint to emulate the famous "Yocum Dollar" coin that has become legendary in the Ozarks since the early 1800s. Interestingly, while many earestly tell the tale of the legendary coin, not one single example of the real article has ever been authenticated to exist! The tale is far too complex to reiterate here, but can be found by searching on "Yocum dollar" (also try different spellings: Yokum, Yoachum, Yochum, Joachim, etc.) In all seriousness it is considered likely that the "real" Yocum Dollar (if it ever truly existed) was in all likelihood a zinc counterfeit of foreign circulating coinage. But still, it's fun to play around with it. Here is a coin that matches the legendary tale exactly. . . and while it may not be the true article of legend, it IS truly one full ounce of .999 fine silver! (the 1935 silver quarter is shown just for scale)
  4. Tom Maringer

    Tom Maringer Senior Member

    Well... okay... that's from my webpage on the subject... but I was wondering if there are other opinions, or perhaps people who've actually seen an authenticated example of which I was unaware... or people who still believe the coin existed despite all evidence to the contrary.
  5. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

    Sorry about that, I should have read your Profile more carefully.
  6. satootoko

    satootoko Retired

    Perhaps it circulated in Dogpatch. :D
    Hookman likes this.
  7. Drusus

    Drusus Pecunia non olet

    Tom, let me work for you at your mint :) please?
  8. Bonedigger

    Bonedigger New Member

    Your work is awesome. I purchased a couple of "silver conchos" on eBay about a year ago. Not sure if you were the one selling them or somebody else. They are just like your bottons and made with a silver Mexican Cinco Peso piece.

    Again, your work is stunning and your site has been bookmarked for future...

    Take Care
  9. Drusus

    Drusus Pecunia non olet

    I saw a lot of your coins (LOTR, new france, etc...) in the Krause unusual world coin catalog...from there I went to your site.
  10. Tom Maringer

    Tom Maringer Senior Member

    Yocum Dollar

    to Satootoko: Actually not far off! the "Dogpatch" theme park (now closed) was near Jasper Arkansas, just about fifty miles down Highway 7 from the "Silver Dollar City" theme park which still exists outside of Branson Missouri. Silver Dollar City was actually NAMED after the Yocum Dollar which supposedly had origin in the nearby hills of Taney County! Many people in that area believe wholeheartedly in the Yocum Dollar legend. In fact, I was taken to task by an elderly Yocum descendant for my analysis of the legend... and was told in no uncertain terms that her uncle actually had one, and as a child she'd seen it. But of course she couldn't remember exactly what it looked like, and nobody in the family knows what happened to it after he died! Sound familiar?

    to Drusus: Actually, visitors to the mint are welcome, and if you stay very long I'll probably sit you at a press and put you to work. just remember, the HANDS MUST BE ON THE KNEES before you trip the footpedal! But every visitor to the mint gets to stick their hand into the "coffee can" that sits under the 50 ton Zeh and Hahnemann press and pick something out... that's where most of the off-metal trial strikes, offcenter strikes, brockage errors, clipped planchets, die-alignment proofs, and other weirdo screw-ups end up. We're not sticklers about errors around here!

    to Bonedigger: I don't recall ever making any buttons or conchos out of Mexican 5-peso pieces, so they're not mine, but I probably use a similar technique to do the ones I make. Thanks for the comments, glad you enjoy the stuff!

    to Treashunt: No problem! Actually, there are even more bizarre twists to the story... such as the fact that the Yocum family in the US (and the various different spellings of the name, such as Yokum, Yoakum, Yoachum, Yochum, etc) all had origin in immigrants with the old-world name "Joachim". And of course that is the name of the valley "Joachimsthal" in Bohemia (now Czech Republic) where a great deal of silver was mined and where the first large and extremely popular "thaler" (Joachimsthaler) silver coins were minted in the early 1500s. So the Yocum name is connected not only to a local dollar coin legend, but in reality to the origin of the very denomination that eventually became known as the "dollar"! Curious and curiouser!
  11. Mikjo0

    Mikjo0 Numismatist

  12. AdamL

    AdamL Well-Known Member

    I've been to Silver Dollar City several times, and I never knew that was how it got its name. Here's a fake morgan that I got there about 10 years ago:

    Attached Files:

  13. CaptHenway

    CaptHenway Survivor

    I handled two of the hoard of eight Yoachum dollars allegedly discovered in a cave in the Ozarks in the early 1980's. At the time I was told that they were made from native silver ore mined by the Indians.

    However, when we did X-ray tests on them, we found that they were made out of very precise sterling silver, .925 fine pure silver and .075 fine pure copper with virtually no trace elements, such as you might get if you melted down a few sterling silver spoons. This is impossible on native ore crudely smelted.

    Now there is a story in another thread alleging that the silver was mined by the Spanish conquistadors in 1541 but then left behind and discovered by the Indians circa 1820. This still does not explain how the silver is miraculously .925 with no trace elements.

    Tom DeLorey
  14. Tom Maringer

    Tom Maringer Senior Member

    Excellent detective work! Indeed, I have not handled any of those, but I have some photographs. Apparently that was a "fantasy" that was used in an attempt to sell them as genuine. It's a good story... and as a fantasy it could have sold several... but you're absolutely right that a closely defined sterling alloy would have been impossible to create. Thanks for going to the trouble to have those assayed!

    And the addendum... what was the disposition of those coins? Are they still circulating around?

    The Yocum fantasies I make are .999 silver... struck on 1 troy oz blanks I buy from the refiner. And I make no claims of 'authenticity'... it is a fantasy pure and simple.

    But those Ozarkers coins... they have a numismatic interest even as fakes! I wouldn't mind having one at a reasonable price.
  15. CaptHenway

    CaptHenway Survivor

    They were returned to the submittor.
    Do a search on here for Yoachum and see my post in another thread.

    What is on the other side of your copper miner token? My grandmother was a yooper born in Lake Linden. Great grandpa worked for one of the mines.

    One of my brothers graduated from Michigan Tech in 1980. My niece was born in one of the dorms.

  16. Tom Maringer

    Tom Maringer Senior Member

    Hi Captain!

    I graduated from da tech in '76. The reverse of the coin shows the #2 shaft house at Quincy Mine, now a national historic site. Lake Linden is one of the nicest towns in the UP! Which mine did your grandpa work in?

    Attached Files:

  17. Troodon

    Troodon Coin Collector

    It's really impossible to prove that something doesn't exist... you can always say that the fact it hasn't been found may mean that nobody's looked in the right place... but what can be said, is no direct evidence points to its existance. There may be some kernel of truth that forms the basis of the legend, but if so, nobody's discovered it yet, they've only speculated what it might be.

    Of course to prove it exists, you merely have to find and authenticate one, and there you go. But usually the default belief should be that something doesn't exist, until it's proven that it does, if the only evidence it ever existed consists of legends and speculation; there's not even a trail of good circumstantial evidence really. Not saying absense of evidence equal evidence of absense of course... but extraordinary claims should require extraordinary evidence before being acceptable as even plausible, much less likely to be true.
  18. CaptHenway

    CaptHenway Survivor

    My great-grandfather worked for one of the mines. My grandfather was an ironworker who came to Lake Linden to build a copper mill. Grandma met him at a church dance, and married him just to get out of town. Guess she didn't care for small town life, or the winters. It lasted 45 years.

    Where is/was the Quincy Mill? If it was in Lake Linden, I'd like to buy a few for my siblings.
  19. CaptHenway

    CaptHenway Survivor

    Well, I bent over backwards trying to be as objective as possible on these, declaring a "No Decision" on the original two-coin submission even though I felt in my heart that the x-ray results were particularly damning. Perfet sterling silver, without trace elements, does not occur in nature.

    It wasn't until one of these very coins was returned six months later as a purported ninth specimen from a Northern state, with a story that was proven to be a lie, did I become utterly convinced that the pieces were bogus. My opinion has not changed since.

    I am curious as to why, if there were allegedly eight coins found in the hoard, and we had only seen two specimens, the submittor sent in one of the original two specimens as the purported ninth specimen from a Northern state? Did the other six coins actually exist? Had there not been a deliberate attempt to deceive us by resubmitting a coin that we had already photographed and weighed (which allowed us to prove the attempted deception) we (and I) would have maintained our neutrality in the matter. I am no longer neutral in the matter.

  20. John Rossey

    John Rossey New Member

  21. John Rossey

    John Rossey New Member

    There's a great story about the Yocum Dollar here

    Notice how it says at the bottom that there are some diary pages that exist. Just pointing it out.

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