This font came from Argentina, and I thought there was no chance of it ever being identified. However, thanks to some excellent sleuthing assistance from Greg Walters, here are the details!
Greg Walters wrote:
That is an absolutely fabulous font of wood type!!! I especially love the cap O and the line that appears in C, O, & Q. Beautiful. My immediate thought is that it is German, because of the form of the lower-case b, d, h, and especially k. To me, those four letters just reek of German type design in the 1900-WWI era.
A couple months ago I photographed the Roman Scherer catalogue described as circa 1917 at the Butler Library at Columbia (the old ATF Typographic Library). It shows your font as Series 5340.
You thought it might be Italian, so I went to a Nebiolo catalogue circa 1890-1900. I found a very similar face called Vulcano. It is as if someone took your face, lightened it a weight or two, and redrew it to get rid of the German influences. The stems of the b, d, and h do not curve over. But the faces are definitely related. It has the line through the a and g, and o, but your face has a redesigned o. It does not have the line that appears in your C, O, and Q.
My guess is that the Italian face appeared first, and Roman Scherer liked it and redrew it with a German look and added more fanciful detail which would work better at a larger size. But it could just as easily happened that Roman Scherer designed it first, and Nebiolo romanized and simplified the design for smaller metal type.
Here's another interesting thing. In a German specimen book, I found a face somewhat like Vulcano, but more upright. It was called Vulcan! So perhaps:
a) Vulcan was the original design
b) Nebiolo converted it to a cursive and called it Vulcano
c) Roman Scherer jazzed it up and called it 5340. Who knows?
The second example comes from "Art Nouveau & early Art Deco Type & Design from the Roman Scherer catalogue" p.78. This catalogue date is unknown.