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    Goldfield, NV- Exploitation Mercantile Company (Industrial Workers of the World) $5 circa Jan.-Mar. 1908
    A fascinating and excessively rare Goldfield strike/political scrip that shines a light on a little-remembered sliver of Nevada's history. This note was issued by the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World union, aka the "Wobblies") during the Goldfield miners strike. The strike began as a response to the mine owner's introduction of scrip to pay their workers after the Panic of 1907. The IWW, which had been founded in 1905, was a revolutionary union dedicated to the overthrow of capitalism by uniting all skilled and unskilled workers to rebuild society in a socialist direction. The miners, who had been split into several opposing union camps, some conservative and some radical, united in protest and struck the mines, stopping production and infuriating the mine operator, the Goldfield Consolidated Mines Company. Unfortunately for the miners, the company was owned by two politically well connected individuals: prominent industrialist George Wingfield and banker/mine operator/United States Senator George Nixon. The mine owners were determined to break the strike, which had brought gold production to a standstill. They telegraphed Nevada Governor "Honest John" Sparks, who wired President Theodore Roosevelt, informing him that "domestic violence and unlawful corporations" existed in Goldfield. Alarmed, President Roosevelt dispatched three companies of Federal infantry (at the time Nevada did not have a state militia) to the town, catching the strikers by surprise (hence the reference on the face of the note to "Teddy Bear Currency" and the vignette of the stacked rifles at the bottom of the note.) With the military in place, the mine owners reduced wages, required miners to swear that they were not union members (most of the strikers refused), and recruited replacement labor (which the union derided as "scabs") to replace the strikers. Within weeks the strike collapsed and the unions were devastated. A later Nevada state investigation showed that the troops were called in without warrant, and President Roosevelt declared publicly that he had been duped by Governor Sparks. This is the only note we have ever seen from the labor strike at Goldfield, a piece of great historical interest. It is a well-circulated Fine-Very Fine, with an approximate one-inch split at top center.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2015
    16th-22nd Wednesday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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