EAGLE. Obverse: Bust of Liberty facing left, with the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around and the date 1874 below. Liberty wears a diadem inscribed LIBERTY and her hair is tied in the back. The diadem is ornamented with six stars. An olive wreath is tied around Liberty's neck. Reverse: The weight, 16.72 GRAMS, the standard of the metal, 900 FINE, and the word UBIQUE are inscribed within a design of six rope sections. UBIQUE is an allusion to the objective of the international coinage scheme, signifying that such pieces would be accepted everywhere. In the different rope sections are representations of the coin's value in six different currency units; these being as follows: DOLLARS 10; STERLING £2.1.1; MARKEN 41.99; KRONEN 37.31; GULDEN 20.73; FRANCS 51.81. The designs of both the obverse and reverse are attributed to Dana Bickford.
Dana Bickford and his coinage proposals received considerable attention during the mid 1870s. The Coin & Stamp Journal published in Kansas City, Missouri contained an article titled "Dana Bickford's International Coin," (February 1876 issue) from which we quote the following:
The leading journals throughout this country and Europe are discussing the necessity for an "international coin," having been aroused to its importance by a resolution offered in the Senate by Senator Sherman. But Mr. Sherman's plan will meet with the same difficulty that our government has contended with for years, viz., to obtain a coin having a relation of value to die present coins of other nations, without having their denominational value and design changed. This difficulty has been overcome, and to Mr. Dana Bickford, of New York City, the original inventor of the automatic knitting machines, belongs the honor.
Mr. Bickford, while traveling in Europe, experienced the difficulties and inconveniences that European travelers are subjected to, of having to provide money current in each country he visited, and at times ignorant of its value in our money. Having upon one occasion been particularly annoyed, he determined, if possible, to overcome the difficulty, and being a man of great inventive capacity, was not long in arriving at his present plan, and designed a coin that shows on its face its value in our money and that of the principal commercial nations of the world.
The United States and foreign governments have endeavored for years, and spent thousands of dollars, to perfect a system of "international coinage," but have been unable to get a coin that would prove acceptable to the principal nations, as each one has a peculiar design for its coin, which it is unwilling to change entirely. With Mr. Bickford's coin this difficulty is removed, as each government can fully display its design and value on one side, and on the other show the value of the coin in the currencies of the different nations, also the fineness of the metal and number of grammes without altering their values, and but slightly changing designs.
Shortly after Mr. Bickford returned from Europe he called on Dr. Henry R. Linderman, the director of the Mint, and submitted to him his design for an international coin. After carefully examining it the director was so impressed with its importance, and the great saving the adoption of such a coin would be to our government, that with his usual foresight and penetration he at once ordered sample coins struck off at the Philadelphia Mint, which proved entirely satisfactory and practical. It is not generally known that the annual expense to our government for recoinage and waste on coin entering this country from abroad is half a million dollars, and the same waste and expense is incurred by foreign governments.
The Bickford patterns are considerably greater in diameter than the regular-issue $10 gold pieces. This increased diameter may have been the Mint's response to the renewed problem of "filling," whereby genuine U.S. gold coins were being defrauded by individuals who sawed them in half edgewise, hollowed them out, and then reassembled them with a disk of less-expensive platinum taking the place of the missing gold.
1519. Copper. Reeded edge. Rarity-6. Davis-378, AW-1367, Judd-1374, Taxay-EP962. Reported weights in grains: 221.7, 222.2, 223.5, 224.1, 229.2, 234.0, 235.5, 239. Diameters range from 1.371 to 1.372 inches. All examples seen have a 180° die alignment.