Thomas L. Elder's Lousi-A.N.A Pikers Exposition tokens (DeLorey-71)
There was no love lost between Thomas Lindsay Elder and Farran Zerbe. Elder viewed Zerbe as a huckster and Zerbe gained a reputation as such for proposals such as the following:
Zerbe developed remarkable skill in self promotion. The Pittsburgh Times of March 11, 1903, reported his gaudy proposal for the creation of a monstrous gold coin for the upcoming Louisiana Purchase Exposition (LPE) to be held in 1903-1904 in Saint Louis. This unique piece would have a diameter of 40 feet and a thickness of 30 inches. Its nominal face value would be $1,000,000,000. This proposal gagged the U.S. Mint, reinforced appraisal of Zerbe as a huckster and was never carried out.
Here's an article with some details of Elder's dissatisfaction with Zerbe's 1904 LPE pieces which this one pokes fun at.
The appearance of tiny souvenir tokens inscribed LOUISIANA GOLD ½ and ¼ around a large fleur de lis bearing initials LPE added to dissatisfaction with Zerbe’s methods.
Described as struck from “a metal mined in the Louisiana Territory”, these diminutive pieces were never advertised as coins but as tokens or medalets inspired by Georgia and Carolina pioneer gold of the preceding century. “Louisiana Gold” did not refer to the present day state of Louisiana but to the vast, sprawling territory that was later subdivided into 14 states.
His statements that the tokens contained “metal mined in the Louisiana Territory” suggested deliberate evasion and low-brow commercialism to such critics as irascible New York professional numismatist Thomas L. Elder, who dismissed the tiny pieces as a “fraud upon the public”.
A native of Dayton, Pennsylvania, Elder was now among the nation’s leading professional numismatists and auctioneers. Possessed of a considerable skill as a writer and often driven by a ferocious temper, he was famous for freely expressed opinions on issues of the day, unsparing on his attacks on perceived enemies (Thomas DeLorey, “Thomas L. Elder, a Catalogue of His Tokens and Medals,” The Numismatist, June 1980).
Elder formed an especially venomous opinion of Zerbe and an opposition to his doings that would boil over in the fiercely disputed ANA election of 1909. This still lay in the future as Zerbe plugged away at sales of souvenir gold coins of the LPE and the Lewis & Clark Exposition that followed. Fast forward and we find his greatest sales opportunity coming in 1915 at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.
Here's one of the original 1909 Elder tokens and the 1904 Zerbe tokens. Note the Elder piece has a lemon on it instead of a fleur-de-lis.